Welcome to the Center for Imaging Science


If we can remotely probe the structure and nature of an object, we can make an image of it and use that image to develop human comprehension.

The Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at RIT is a highly interdisciplinary University Research and Education Center, dedicated to pushing the frontiers of imaging in all its forms and uses.  Through education leading to a BS in Imaging Science, and Masters and PhD degrees in the interdisciplinary fields of Imaging Science and Color Science and via our affiliation with the graduate program in Astrophysical Science and Technology, we produce the next generation of educators and researchers who develop and deploy imaging systems to answer fundamental scientific questions, monitor and protect our environment, help keep our nation secure, and aid medical researchers in their quest to conquer disease.  Our extensive K through 12, family, and public outreach activities bring the wonder of the invisible universe to a broad audience.


As humans, we are highly geared to gather information, understand, process and document the world around us through imaging. Today’s technology allows us to produce images of our world with unprecedented clarity.   Through this technology, many things our eyes could never see--from images of earth from space to atoms and molecules at the smallest scale—are revealed with amazing resolution and detail.  The images we form today use not only the visible light our eyes can see, but the full range of the electromagnetic spectrum (e.g., from gamma rays through infrared and on down to the lowest radio frequencies); while modern ultrasound and electron microscopic imaging techniques transcend the realm of  electromagnetic waves. To increase the physical information and diagnostic power of images, we employ a range of imaging techniques, such as spectroscopy, radar and polarimetry.  We utilize in situ sensors to provide calibration for remotely sensed images. We manipulate particle beams, as well as electromagnetic radiation, to probe on nano scales at the highest energies.  We create databases of the images so obtained, computer algorithms that fuse information from multiple imaging modalities, and visualization products that allow humans, aided by computers, to obtain the answers to fundamental questions critical to human knowledge, health, and security. 

The science of imaging encompasses a very wide range of subject areas, from the physics of light sources to the psychophysics of high-level visual perception.  From how light is generated to how the world is perceived, imaging science addresses questions about every aspect of systems and techniques that are used to create, perceive, analyze, and optimize images.  Application areas of imaging are equally diverse. Thus, Imaging Science is both truly interdisciplinary in its content and multi-disciplinary in its applications.

In the Center for Imaging Science and with our multidisciplinary colleagues both at RIT and in the greater community, we conduct research in and prepare students for challenging and rewarding careers in a range of imaging application areas.

  • We develop imaging systems for and answer fundamental questions in astrophysics – probing the origin and evolution of planets, stars, galaxies, and the universe as a whole.
  • We develop imaging systems for application in biomedicine – where imaging is used to non-invasively diagnose disease, to develop therapies and to track the success of treatment.
  • We apply imaging to the reading and reconstruction of ancient documents, such as the Archimedes Palimpsest.
  • We study the closely related field of color science and its application to display systems (CRTs, LCDs, printers), as well as restoration of works of art to the original palette used by the painter.
  • We study visual perception – the way in which we as humans use our own imaging system --- our eyes and the computer that is our brain --- to perceive the world around us.
  • We study imaging algorithms, data fusion and visualization, and imaging database design and development that allow full exploitation of imaging data.
  • We study remote sensing - the use of satellite, airborne, or distributed sensor systems for purposes ranging from environmental science to national security.  Our remote sensing research is particularly broad.  We develop systems and algorithms and apply them to environmental forecasting, for example to monitor and predict changes in our water (streams, lakes, rivers, oceans).  We develop systems and algorithms for monitoring and emergency response, be it natural (e.g., forest fires) or man made (e.g., terrorism or war).
  • We have embarked on a new program studying imaging on the smallest scales – nano-imaging, in concert with our multi-disciplinary colleagues in fields as diverse as nano-power, biophysics, and materials science, where their need to image is driving their research.
  • We develop next generation detector and sensor systems.
  • We develop deployable integrated imaging systems for emergency response, including wildlife fire fighting.

We invite you to explore the world of imaging science with us, and join us in our obsession:

“To see with a keener eye has been a human obsession since the times of Leeuwenhoek and Galileo, considered fathers of the microscope and telescope, respectively. For centuries keener vision meant to see more clearly what was far away or what was very small—to magnify and sharpen. But in the 20th century it also came to signify all sorts of vision that once would have been deemed  ’magic’—the penetration of veils both around us and within us as well as the registering of forms of "light" to which human sight is utterly blind.” (http://www.greatachievements.org/).

Last Modified: 12:43pm 11 Feb 11