Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science

The Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science is dedicated to pushing the frontiers of imaging in all its forms and uses. Through education leading to bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in imaging science, we produce the next generation of educators and researchers who develop and deploy imaging systems that answer fundamental scientific questions, monitor and protect our environment, help keep our nation secure, and aid medical researchers in their quest to conquer disease.

From how light is generated to how the world is perceived, imaging science addresses questions about every aspect of systems that are used to create, perceive, analyze, and optimize images. Imaging science is both truly interdisciplinary in its content and multi-disciplinary in its applications.


Imaging science program in the U.S. and currently the only formal imaging science program in the nation


of institute research funds flow through the Center


Research expenditures the Center had for fiscal year 2016-17

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The Laboratory for Multiwavelength Astrophysics fosters the utilization and advancement of cutting-edge techniques in multiwavelength astrophysics by RIT faculty, research staff, and students, so as to improve human understanding of the origin and fate of the universe and its constituents.

Research Active Faculty:

Jeyhan Kartaltepe headshot
Associate Professor
School of Physics and Astronomy
College of Science
Astrophysical Sciences and Technology Program Faculty
Director for the Laboratory for Multiwavelength Astrophysics
Andrew Robinson headshot
Director Astrophysical Sciences and Tech PhD Program
School of Physics and Astronomy
College of Science

Faculty working on cultural heritage imaging develop novel imaging systems and algorithms to analyze historical artifacts around the world. Research is primarily focused on multi- and hyperspectral imaging, but also includes imaging modalities such as reflectance transformation imaging and X-ray fluorescence.  An active area of research is also the development of novel 3D visualization tools for scholars to interact with the digital artifacts after image collection and processing.

Research Active Faculty:

Research in this area focuses on the development of novel imaging systems, primarily for astronomical applications. Significant research has been conducted on the use of Digital Micro-mirror Devices in multi-object spectrometers for astronomical imaging systems. Additional work has focused on random apertures for extremely large space-based telescopes and vortex coronagraph imaging systems. Additional work in optical systems includes research into the use of ultrafast lasers for the development of novel photonic detectors and other surface polishing applications.

Research Active Faculty:

The Multidisciplinary Vision Research Laboratory combines expertise in eye tracking instrumentation, cognitive science knowledge of the human visual system, and computer vision to understand how the eye-brain system works, as well as how to leverage that knowledge into novel computer vision systems. The research is supported by the PerForM (Perception For Movement) Lab with both full motion capture and multiple AR/VR system capabilities. Additionally, active research into computer vision and deep learning approaches for applications from 3D scene understanding to active learning frameworks are ongoing.

Research Active Faculty:

Jeff Pelz headshot
Endowed Professorship in RIT's Center for Imaging Science
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science
College of Science

The Digital Imaging and Remote Sensing Laboratory (DIRS) is world-renown for its expertise in remote sensing systems, algorithms, and applications. Their work encompasses novel system design and calibration for NASA Earth-observing satellites to the development of imaging systems to fly on small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for precision agriculture. Additionally, the DIRSIG software developed and maintained by the DIRS laboratory is the industry standard to simulate remotely sensed imagery and is used for both system engineering trade studies as well as a source of training data for deep learning algorithmic frameworks.

Research Active Faculty:

Carl Salvaggio headshot
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science
College of Science
Director of the Digital Imaging and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Research Faculty:

There is active work within the center in nanoimaging through the use of electron microscopy. The NanoImaging Lab is home to four electron microscopes (2 SEMs & 2 TEMs) and focuses on two major research themes. First, using imaging science to improve the performance of electron microscopes computationally. This includes the point spread function determination, electron optics modeling, image restoration, and deconvolution research. Second, in this laboratory, we use the tools of imaging science to characterize materials at the micro-and nanoscale, using electron microscopy.

Research Active Faculty:

The center is the home to the Magnetic Resonance Laboratory devoted to solving real-world problems with magnetic resonance. The laboratory has several pieces of specialized magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging instrumentation on the RIT campus. Among these are a 500 MHz NMR spectrometer with micro-imaging accessory, a low-frequency electron paramagnetic resonance (LFEPR) spectrometer, an Overhauser magnetometer with a base station, a three-axis magnetometer, and a radio frequency imaging coil test bridge.

Research Active Faculty:

Joseph Hornak headshot
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science
College of Science
Director of Magnetic Resonance Laboratory

We conduct applied optics research in the use of optics from the smallest scales to the largest. This includes the Optical Vortex Laboratory and the Advanced Optical Fabrication, Instrumentation, and Metrology Laboratory (AOFIM Lab).

Research Active Faculty:

Jie Qiao headshot
Associate Professor
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science
College of Science

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Undergraduate Programs

Many students choose the Bachelor of Science in imaging science because of its multidisciplinary nature. It is particularly attractive to students who enjoy science, engineering, computing, and math and are searching for careers that apply their unique interests. The program also applies science and engineering concepts to the study of photography and digital media, which have a long tradition at RIT.

Imaging science offers an ideal mix of disciplines while promising a well-rounded and highly marketable degree. Imaging scientists do research in optics, computer vision, machine learning, remote sensing, nano-imaging, biomedical imaging, and historical document imaging.

A unique and valuable part of the imaging science program is its Freshman Imaging Experience.

RIT’s imaging science degree combines physics, math, computer science, and engineering to develop cutting-edge imaging systems for satellites, drones, AR/VR, and more.

Learn more about the Imaging Science BS program 

Graduate Programs

The Master of Science and Ph.D. imaging science programs emphasize a systems approach to the study of imaging science and prepares you for careers in research, product development, and management in the imaging industry. Through extensive, hands-on research, you will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to meet available academic, industrial, and governmental careers.

RIT’s master’s in imaging science can further your understanding of the development and implementation of imaging systems–knowledge that can be applied to a variety of areas, including remote sensing, environmental science, and more.

Learn more about the Imaging Science MS program 

Reach the penultimate status of higher education in imaging science acquiring the capabilities, skills, and experience to succeed in this diverse field.

Learn more about the Imaging Science Ph.D. program 

Minors and Immersions

Imaging science is a highly interdisciplinary field of study that incorporates elements from mathematics, engineering, computer science, and physics to understand, design, and utilize imagery and imaging systems to study scientific phenomena. The imaging science minor is designed to allow students from various departments across RIT to study how to use imaging to enhance their primary field of study or discover how to incorporate imaging science into their major discipline to solve complex, interdisciplinary problems in imaging, imagery exploitation, and the design and evaluation of imaging systems.

Learn more about the Imaging Science Minor program 

Optical science techniques are used in a variety of consumer products (digital cameras, CD players), communication technologies (optical fibers), medical imaging (infrared imaging), and the sciences (surveillance, remote sensing, astronomical systems). This minor can be an important complement to studies in electrical and microelectronic engineering, the biological sciences, physics, chemistry, mathematics, technical photography, and various majors in the field of applied science and technology.

Learn more about the Optical Science Minor program 

The science of film, photography, and imaging immersion explores the basic science behind technologies used in film, photography, and other imaging applications. Introductions to human visual perception, color science, imaging physics, and imaging system engineering set a groundwork for common theories underlying all major imaging industries. This immersion also provides necessary prerequisites for completion of a minor in imaging science. Please Note: Enrollment in this immersion is capacity-controlled. Students interested in declaring this immersion must contact the immersion advisor.

Learn more about the Science of Film, Photography, and Imaging Immersion program 


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