Karlton Crabtree Memorial Scholarship in Optical Engineering

Karlton Crabtree

Karlton Crabtree, PhD, worked in the optical engineering industry for a decade. He earned a BS in Physics from San Diego State University (2003) and an MS in Optical Sciences from UA (2006). He was awarded a Ph.D. in Optical Sciences in 2010 under Dr. Russell Chipman; his dissertation was entitled “Polarization Conversion Cube Corner Retro-Reflector”.  He and Dr. Chipman were jointly awarded US Patent 8,421,711 for this work in 2013.

After earning his doctorate, Karlton joined the Polarization Lab at the Wyant College of Optical Sciences as a research scientist. Having a wide range of talents and interests, he did optical design work and analyses, lab equipment setup and scientific programming. He was particularly proud of his work on NASA’s polarimeter definition experiment (PODEX).

In 2014, Karlton joined Photon Engineering (Tucson) as a senior optical engineer.  His duties included optical design and analysis, stray light analysis, software development and testing.  He supported several development projects including a CubeSat optical receiver to map water ice on the moon, diffraction analyses for large segmented mirror concepts for exoplanet exploration, solar loading on orbiting sensors, among many others.

Karlton grew up in Acton, CA, but spent his entire career in Tucson, AZ. His passions for optics, photography and computers found a home at Photon Engineering where he was recognized by staff and customers as the “go to” person when a difficult problem was encountered.

The Karlton Crabtree Memorial Scholarship in Optical Engineering is funded through the generous donations of Photon Engineering and the many friends, family and colleagues whose lives have been enriched by knowing this remarkable person and talented optical engineer.


The Karlton Crabtree Memorial Scholarship is open to graduate students with selections based on academic excellence, financial need and a commitment to advance the field of optical engineering. Candidates must be a U.S. citizen.


Dallin Felsted

Henry Quach

Sawyer Miller