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U of R Laser Lab starts construction on $43 million expansion

University of Rochester Laser Lab rendering expansion
University of Rochester
Rendering of the $42 million dollar expansion of the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics

The University of Rochester’s laser lab has started construction on a big expansion.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held Wednesday on a $42 million expansion at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics off River Road in Brighton.

The lab is federally-funded and it does research work for the U.S. Department of Energy as well as provide educational opportunities.

The lab was originally established at the U of R in 1970 and it’s the largest university based U-S department of energy supported research center in the nation.

Christopher Deeney Laser Lab expansion.jpg
Randy Gorbman
Christopher Deeney is the Director of the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics

The director of the lab, Christopher Deeney, notes that the lab also works with some area companies that are involved in related industries.

“L3Harris, one of our local companies, a lot of companies around the U.S. are doing research in those areas and other universities,” Denney said. “LLE is truly expert in laser technology, so we are frequently engaged with L3-Harris and other companies to sort of pioneer new techniques, new lasers and new diagnostics.”

U of R President Sarah Manglesdorf said the laser lab not only does research work for the federal government, it also provides valuable training for a variety of students.

“Not only in working with PhD students, many of our undergraduates work in this lab, we have high school students who work in this lab in the summer,” said Manglesdorf. “And it is truly an educational facility as well as a research facility. And I think the two go hand in hand."

The U of R’s laser lab is expected to add about 100 positions over the next three years. It’s anticipated the expansion project will be completed in 2024.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.