What is Imaging Science?

Imaging Science encompasses the development, optimization, and application of imaging systems. These systems use not only the visible light our eyes can see, but the full range of the electromagnetic spectrum, from gamma rays through infrared and on down to the lowest of radio frequencies.  Modern ultrasound and electron microscopic imaging techniques transcend the realm of electromagnetic waves. Video- and three-dimensional imaging further enhance our capabilities, and computers allow development of algorithms to extract information from databases of images, as well as visualizations techniques to display information so humans can utilize it.

The science and engineering of imaging thus encompasses a very wide range of subject areas…

  • from the physics of energy sources to the psychophysics of high-level visual perception,
  • from the engineering of optics and sensing systems, to the design of algorithms, and
  • from how light is generated to how the world is perceived,

Imaging Science addresses questions about every aspect of systems and techniques used to create, perceive, analyze, and optimize images. 

Application areas of imaging are equally diverse, including remote sensing, earth observation and monitoring, vision and perception, biomedical systems, astronomy, security, emergency response, video systems and printers, document reconstruction, data mining, to name some of the active areas of research within the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (CIS) is both truly interdisciplinary in its content and multi-disciplinary in its applications. 

A brief history

CIS at RIT has offered the masters and PhD in Imaging Science for over twenty years, and is still the only PhD program in the United States in this field.  “Imaging” was named one of the top twenty engineering achievements of the 20th Century by the National Academies (greatachievements.org) and for good reason.  In the last twenty years imaging has made dramatic advances, transforming our ability as humans to see and understand a range of phenomenon, keeping us healthy, protecting our security, monitoring our earth, exploring our universe, uncovering and preserving our heritage, enhancing communication, and facilitating our every day lives.

Every year ~10 students graduate from CIS with a PhD in Imaging Science and 15 with MS degrees.  These students will have carried out research theses and be ready to work in any number of application areas.  We offer stipends and tuition coverage for admitted PhD students and top masters students.  Last year CIS was supported by ~7 Million dollars expended from external grants and contracts from Federal and State agencies, as well as corporate America. We have over 40 faculty actively engaged with our students and programs.