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Latest News

ARPA-E Selects Plenoptic TOF Technology @ LESA

The LESA team at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and University of New Mexico in collaboration with industry partner ABB was recently selected to receive a $2.375M award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) Saving Energy Nationwide in Structures with Occupancy Recognition (SENSOR) program.  […]

Bacteria Detection in Floodwaters @ LESA

LESA Professors Shayla Sawyer (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) and Valencia Koomson (Tufts University) have been awarded an NSF EAGER award from the Division of Biological Infrastructure for $297,451 for their proposal titled, “Ultrasensitive frequency domain spectrometer for high throughput bacteria detection in floodwater”. […]

Circadian, Sleep and Neurobehavioral Performance Engineering @ LESA

Human circadian rhythm regulation is linked to many physiological processes, including sleep. Circadian disruption is known to have negative impacts on health and may lead to lower human performance and higher risk of failure during critical tasks.  By understanding the relationships between human circadian processes, sleep processes, and cognitive performance, improved management of lighting and task scheduling can be developed to favorably impact overall human health and performance. […]

LESA and Cornell to Collaborate on $2.42M Program for Advanced Urban Farming

LESA and the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) team at Cornell University have been awarded a $2.42M research program under the NSF “Innovation at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water” (INFEWS) program. The awarded research project, Strategic FEW and Workforce Investments to Enhance Viability of Controlled Environment Agriculture in Metropolitan Areas, will develop a multi-dimensional toolkit to guide the development of metropolitan based CEA. […]

LESA featured in Light Matters Newscast

LESA was recently featured in the August 2017 edition of Light Matters, an online newscast at  The segments highlight LESA research in the Smart Conference Room Testbed and Plant Physiology Lab and features interviews with Center Director Robert Karlicek and graduate student Tianna-Kaye Woodstock.  Two segments are available to view, A ‘Smart’ Lighting Revolution and a bonus feature Light Matters Extra: Center for Lighting Enabled Systems and Applications.


Extreme Light Trapping

A silicon solar cell harvests the energy of the sun as light travels down through light-absorbent silicon. To reduce weight and cost, solar cells are thin, and while silicon absorbs visible light well, it captures less than half of the light in the near-infrared spectrum, which makes up one-third of the sun’s energy. Read more.

Tessa Pocock featured at US Horticultural Lighting Conference

LESA’s Dr. Tessa Pocock is the Closing Plenary speaker at the 2017 US Horticultural Lighting Conference on October 17 in Denver Colorado, her talk is entitled “Fast-forwarding the Future of Food”.

L.E.D. A History of the Future of Light

The new book by veteran technology journalist Bob Johnstone entitled L.E.D. A History of the Future of Lighting is a detailed account of the radically changing lighting industry.  Chapter 15 Selling Darkness includes an overview of LESA and its research vision of lighting systems that think.  The book is published by CreateSpace and is available via Amazon.

May 8, 2017

Dr. Tessa Pocock was awarded the Robert W. Langhans Visiting Scholar at Cornell University, School of Integrative Plant Science.  Each year this Visiting Scholar Program brings  a renowned scientist in greenhouse technology and management to lecture and interact with students over the course of several days to their Ithaca campus.  This year Dr. Pocock will spend May 8-10 on their campus and will provide a lecture entitled “Light Matters:  Sensing and Signaling in Plants”.  Dr. Pocock, Senior Research Scientist at LESA, is a world-renowned speaker and researcher on plant photosynthesis and plant development and regulation by light for traditional greenhouse crops and the emerging field of medicinal plants.

April 25, 2017

LESA graduate Jessica Morrison was chosen as one of ten innovators in Cohort Three of Cyclotron Road, an incubator at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that aims to bridge the science-to-product gap by investing in energy entrepreneurs through its two-year fellowship program.  Dr. Jessica Morrison received her PhD in Physics from Boston University in 2016 and has since founded Helux Lighting as a spin-off of her work at LESA on beam-steering micro-mirrors.  Applicants must go through a rigorous four-month long selection process.  The ten innovators of Cohort Three represent eight universities across the US.  The Cyclotron program innovators will begin their journey in May, 2017.

Consortium Participation

Employment Opportunities

Titles below link directly to RPI Human Resources job description:

Research Engineer


Light Education: The State of Smart Lighting

Bob Karlicek, Director of LESA discusses the State of Smart Lighting in the November 2016 issue of Illuminations section of Residential

Lighting Enabled Systems and Applications: A Vision Way Beyond Seeing

LESA: A Vision Way Beyond Seeing, an article which appeared in the May 17, 2016 online edition of West Coast Lighting Insider, highlights the work of the ERC.  In the future, personalized lighting will interact with our presence, our environment and our activities. Lighting will change color, brightness and directionality, all the while transmitting data to our cellphones and wearable tech, networked with the Internet of Things (IoT). Implementing this vision is the purpose of the Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center, newly rebranded as the Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications Engineering Research Center (LESA ERC).

Unlocking the World of Digitized Illumination

Watch this webinar and learn about  “Unlocking the World of Digitized Illumination” as presented by Smart Lighting ERC Director Robert Karlicek at the Philip’s Educational Webinar Series.  Future lighting systems will be informative, sensory, and integrated into everything!

A Smart Lighting Revolution

The Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center is developing the systems that will transform the way we live, work, and communicate.
Read the full article that appeared in the Rensselaer Alumni Magazine, Fall 2015.  Rensselaer Alumni Magazine-SmartLight Fall2015

LESA by the Numbers (through 3/31/17)

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