Welcome to the Optical Technology Center (OpTeC), established in 1992 and approved by the Montana Board of Regents in 1995 to promote education and research in the rapidly growing fields of optical science and engineering. The Optical Technology Center is a multidisciplinary center at Montana State University, offering opportunities for students, faculty, industry, and other interested partners to learn and work together to find solutions to practical problems and to discover new applications for optical technology.

OpTeC includes research groups from multiple departments and colleges: 

      Electrical and Computer Engineering



Chemistry & Biochemistry


Spectrum Lab     

The primary goal of the center is to maintain a nationally competitive optics program that promotes collaboration with local optical industry, leading to economic growth and improved student opportunities in Montana. Our area has one of the highest per-capita concentrations of optics and photonics companies represented through the Montana Photonics Industry Alliance

Montana Optics & Photonics Companies 

Timeline of Montana optics & photonics companies

Optical Technology Center History

Here are some resources to learn more about how the Montana optics and photonics industry grew and how the Optical Technology Center helped this happen. 

World-Class Optics in the Unparalleled Montana Environment

We are located in Bozeman, a small city in southwestern Montana surrounded by mountains, fields, and rivers that provide incredible beauty and opportunities for outdoor recreation. We are located 145 km (90 miles) north of Yellowstone National Park and surrounded by the Bridger Bowl, Moonlight Basin, and Big Sky, ski resorts. The Gallatin, Jefferson, and Madison rivers come together to form the Missouri River 52 km (32 mi) west of us. Optics is a major component of our university research portfolio and the local economy.

OpTeC in the News

Three MSU Students win SPIE Scholorships, the international society for optics and photonics

Gallatin College MSU to host event showcasing local photonics career opportunities

OpTeC PhD student wins NSF Graduate Fellowship for Erica Venkatesulu NSF Fellowship

Former OpTeC student wins NSF Graduate Fellowship 

OpTeC undergraduate student Shannon Hamp awarded Goldwater Scholarship

The 2022 OpTeC annual conference is scheduled for Thursday, September 29, 2022 at Inspiration Hall.

MSU Optics PhD student Riley Logan awarded SPIE John Kiel Scholarship

OpTeC Director Joe Shaw appointed to the board of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

OpTeC Director Joe Shaw named the 2019 recipient of the SPIE G. G. Stokes Award in Optical Polarization.

OpTeC professor Erik Grumstrup wins Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.