Dr. David Schaafsma
Dr. Schaafsma earned his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, his master's from Brown University, and his bachelor's from Whitman College, all in Physics. David has over 25 years of experience in optical physics, process development, optical materials, optoelectronics,
sales, marketing, business development, operations, and management at small businesses, at government laboratories,
and as an independent consultant. Before founding Applied Optical Engineering he was the
director of Sensor Technology at Tetra Tech Data Systems (later Ipitek) and was responsible for all R&D, product
development, and commercial activity in fiberoptic sensors, and also worked on numerous projects involving fiber communications and embedded systems. As a Senior Scientist at the
Naval Research Laboratory, he made the first chalcogenide fused fiber coupler and achieved the first results
with single-mode IR-transmitting fiber in mid-IR scanning near-field microscopy. At the National Institute of
Standards and Technology in Boulder, his research focused on quantum optics and fundamental metrology of
vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers, and included the construction of a confocal fluorescence system with a noise floor of 4 photons. As a Senior Characterization Engineer at Bandgap Technology Corp., he oversaw the production of compound semiconductor devices such as surface acoustic wave (SAW) modulators, vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs), high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs), solar cells, and laser diodes for an industry which was then in its infancy. David values education and the cultivation of new talent and works to
create opportunities for young people interested in science and engineering.
Dr. Carson Roberts
As CEO of Tech Explore, Carson managed business development and the identification and preparation of research proposals, as well as managing and conducting measurements on a program to develop ultra-fast high voltage, high current SiC switches.
During his time as a computational neuroscientist at Emory University and the University of Texas at San Antonio, Carson developed and analyzed multicompartmental computer models of brain cells. In the process, he has developed systems for automated parameter optimization and model data analysis applicable to any type of modeling.
Carson has lately been a science teacher at the Dana Hall School.
Research Engineer (Software and Systems Integration)
Nicholas is a graduate student at CSU San Marcos, working on a remote instrumentation project related to NI LabVIEW.
During his time at AOE, he has worked on a variety of hardware-software integration projects, including leading our embedded Linux
development team, rapid prototyping of closed-loop motor control systems, performing systems analysis, leading our IT team, and mentoring students and junior programmers.