Photonics Institute Result Of Years Of Effort, Challenges Outlined Three Years Ago
Proponents of the optics and photonics institute that Vice President Joe Biden will formally announce during a visit to Rochester Monday have been working for years to achieve this result.
They can be forgiven then, if they sometimes get into the weeds when it comes to explaining what optics and photonics are all about. So here's a quick elevator speech to help.
Optic and photonics technologies drive computer and smartphone displays and are used in virtually every sector including medical research, engineering, aerospace and the automotive industry.
(Watch the great video explainer after the jump.)
With about 100 optics companies in and around Rochester, the city is known as the nation’s capital of all things light.
Back on September 9th, 2012 a gathering of stakeholders from the optics and photonics industry in Rochester said that the region was at risk of 'missing the boat'.
At that time, a new report "Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation" outlined the argument for a National Photonics Initiative. It found that "Photonics is a key enabling technology with broad applications in numerous sectors of the U.S. economy" but that the dynamics of the industry were not being well tracked by the U.S. Government agencies that do that sort of thing.
Defense contracts will be a cornerstone.
That same document outlined the grand challenges for the new optics and photonics institute announced on Monday.
The origins of those recommendations go back to initial research commissioned by the U.S. Congress in 1998 that was released under the banner of " Harnessing Light".
“We have such a concentration of optics in Rochester,” said Michael Naselaris the general manager of Sydor Optics in an Innovation Trail report from October 2010. "So this is like (a) mecca for the U.S. optics community.”
As reported by the Innovation Trail in 2013, optics upstate companies like ITT Exellis have continued to work on high value optics with applications in fields like nuclear testing and alternative energy.