Russell Chipman

Russell Chipman, Chairman and CEO

Russell Chipman is a Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona and the founder of Airy Optics. He is also a Visiting Professor at the Center for Optics Research and Education (CORE), Utsunomiya University, Japan.

Prof. Chipman received his BS in Physics from MIT and MS and Ph. D. in Optical Science from the University of Arizona. He is a Fellow of OSA and SPIE. He received SPIE’s 2007 G. G. Stokes award for research in Polarimetry and OSA’s Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert Burley Award for Optical Engineering in 2015. He’s is the author with Wai Sze Tiffany Lam and Garam Young of the 2018 undergraduate/graduate textbook “Polarized Light and Optical Systems”.

Since his graduate studies at the University of Arizona Prof. Chipman has had a research focus on polarization issues in optical design. After his Ph. D. he became a Professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville where he established a renowned polarization laboratory pioneering the development of Mueller matrix polarimeters. To commercialize this technology, he helped his student Matt Smith found Axometrics, a leading provider of polarimeters based in Huntsville AL.

He spent several years in Silicon Valley first at the magneto-optics startup TeraStor. Then he led the development of many fiber polarization-based products at the telecom giant JDSU.

Since 2002, he has been a Full Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona. There he has developed the Polarization Laboratory for coordinated research in polarimetry and polarization in optical design. With his students and research staff, more than ten polarimeters have been built. He is a Co-Investigator on NASA/JPL’s Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols, a polarimeter scheduled for launch into earth orbit around 2021 for monitoring aerosols and pollution in metropolitan areas. He is also developing UV and IR polarimeters for other NASA exoplanet and remote sensing missions. In 2005 he began developing a polarization ray tracing program for analyzing stress birefringence. Later he worked with students on the polarization ray tracing calculus to integrate the many polarization effects into a unified ray tracing algorithm. In 2009 he received a $1.2M grant from the Science Foundation Arizona to develop a research polarization ray tracing program, Polaris-M, to demonstrate this integrated approach to polarization and optical design. Polaris-M underwent further evolution as it was applied to many problems in polarimetry, interferometry, and injection molding. The interest in the Polaris-M software grew beyond what could be supported from an academic laboratory. So in 2016 he formed Airy Optics, licensed the software from the University, and has developed a team to commercialize Polaris-M and perform engineering services for a wide variety of markets. The unified development of this polarization platform also led to the textbook “Polarized Light and Optical Systems”.

In his spare time, he studies the Japanese language and explores the Catalina Mountains from his backyard.

Textbook: Polarized Light and Optical Systems

Russell Chipman wrote Polarized Light and Optical Systems, which presents polarization optics for undergraduate and graduate students in a way which makes classroom teaching relevant to current issues in optical engineering. This curriculum has been developed and refined for a decade and a half at the University of Arizona’s College of Optical Sciences. Polarized Light and Optical Systems provides a reference for the optical engineer and optical designer in issues related to building polarimeters, designing displays, and polarization critical optical systems. The central theme of Polarized Light and Optical Systems is a unifying treatment of polarization elements as optical elements and optical elements as polarization elements.