• Optical engineer with over seven years of multidisciplinary experience
  • Former US Army officer with four years of management experience
  • Hard working and positive team player
  • Technical experience: lens design, instrument calibration, optical spectroscopy, optical alignment, experiment automation, 3-D printing
  • Computing skills: MATLAB, Python, Zemax, SolidWorks, LabView


Optical Engineer
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

  • Use tunable lasers, optical power meters, oscilloscopes, and polarization extinction ratio (PER) meters to test and troubleshoot fiber optic and wave guide based heterodyne sensors in a cleanroom.
  • Simulate launch and flight conditions by conducting thermal, vibration, and shock testing of optical instrumentation in vacuum.
  • Use MATLAB and Excel for experimental data analysis and signal processing using various processing methods such as FFT.

Research Associate
Laboratory for Engineering Non-Traditional Sensors, Duke University

  • Developed hybrid measurement basis for computational spectral unmixing based on a liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) spatial light modulator (SLM).
  • Used Zemax, SolidWorks, and 3-D printing to design, build and perform spectral unmixing experiments [1, 2].
  • Used Zemax to design a computational spectral imager which uses direct-view prisms and a transmissive SLM.
  • Mentored new graduate and undergraduate students in optics, experimental best practices, and MATLAB programming.

Research Associate
Laboratory for Engineering Non-Traditional Sensors, University of Arizona

  • Developed alignment and calibration procedures for an adaptive spectral imaging classifier, outperforms conventional spectral imagers by a factor of 100 in low SNR situations [3, 4].
  • Wrote MATLAB code and learned LabView to automate calibration and experimental measurements [5].
  • Developed calibration procedures and wrote MATLAB code to run an experimental compressive object tracking camera [6, 7].

Research Assistant
Optical Computing and Processing Laboratory, University of Arizona

  • Used MATLAB to simulate imaging experiments and optical propagation using the angular spectrum method.
  • Assisted senior graduate students and post-docs with optical alignment and data collection for compressive imaging experiments.

Applications Engineer
QED Technologies

  • Used sub-aperture stitching Fizeau interferometers and magnetorheological finish (MRF) optical polishing equipment to demonstrate the benefits of our products to potential customers.
  • Used phase-shifting Fizeau and white-light interferometers to quantify improvements of polishing equipment.

Signal Officer
1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), US Army Special Forces

  • Commanding Officer of a 20 soldier US Army Special Forces Signal Detachment (equivalent to a platoon) which provided communications support to a Special Forces battalion and various mission dependent organizational units.
  • Responsible for over $10M worth of military vehicles, radios, computer networking, and satellite communications equipment.


University of Arizona
Ph.D. Optical Sciences
Disseration Advisor: Prof. Michael E Gehm

University of Rochester
M.S. Optics

San Diego State University
B.S. Physics (Electro-Optics Emphasis)

Relavent Coursework

  • Arizona: Geometrical Optics, Interference and Diffraction, Aberrations, Colorimetry, Introduction to Image Science, Imaging Physics and Devices, Probability and Statistics in Optics, Holography, Digital Signal Processing, Spectroscopy and Computational Imaging.
  • Rochester: Lens Design, Fourier Optics, Geometrical Optics, Optical Thin Films, and Radiometry and Detectors.
  • Duke: Lens Design

Selected Publications and Conferences Presentations

  1. P.K. Poon, E.M. Vera, and M.E. Gehm, “Computational hyperspectral unmixing using the AFSSI-C,” SPIE Commercial+Scientific Sensing and Imaging (2016).

  2. P.K. Poon, E.M. Vera, and M.E. Gehm, “Hyperspectral Unmixing using the AFSSI-C,” 2015 OSA topical meeting on Computational Optical Sensing and Imaging (2015).

  3. M. Dunlop-Gray, P.K. Poon, E.M. Vera, D.R. Golish, and M.E. Gehm, “Experimental demonstration of an adaptive architecture for direct spectral imaging classification,” Optics Express (2016).

  4. M. Dunlop, P.K. Poon, E.M. Vera, and M.E. Gehm, “Experimental Validation of the Adaptive Feature-Specific Spectral Imaging Classifier,” Frontiers in Optics 2014, (2014).

  5. P.K. Poon, and M. Dunlop, “Calibration of High Dimensional Compressive Sensing Systems: A Case Study in Compressive Hyperspectral Imaging,” Iternational Telemetering Conference Proceedings 2013, (2013).

  6. P.K Poon, E.M Vera, and M.E. Gehm, “Advances in the Design, Calibration and Use of a Static Coded Aperture Compressive Tracking and Imaging System,” 2012 OSA topical meeting on Computational Optical Sensing and Imaging (2012).

  7. D.J. Townsend, P.K. Poon, S. Wehrwein, T. Osman, A.V. Mariano, E.M. Vera, M.D. Stenner, and M.E. Gehm, “Static compressive tracking,” Optics Express (2012).