optics and photonics

Alex Crichton / WXXI News

A local photonics company is cutting some jobs. ON Semiconductor is located on Lake Avenue, in the same facility used as the TAP,  or Testing, Assembly and Packaging operation that is part of the local AIM Photonics effort.

A story from 13-WHAM TV said that about 30 people are being laid off, but a spokesperson would only tell WXXI News that the company generally does not publish the number of employees who are laid off.

Where have all the geniuses gone? Many of the brightest R&D minds at Kodak took buyouts and retired. But for those who were too young to stop working, has Rochester provided a new economy for them to thrive?

We discuss the future of technology, research, and Rochester. And our guests discuss an upcoming conference aimed at highlighting Rochester’s strengths. Our guests:

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced $15 million  in additional funding for the Luminate NY business competition in Rochester. 

That competition focuses on the optics, photonics and imaging industry, and it's located in Sibley Square in the city’s Downtown Innovation Zone.

The program is administered by the local organization, NextCorps. The program supports the participating start-ups with help from industry experts and local universities.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI news

Ed White, who helps oversee the so-called TAP, or test, assembly and packaging facility, gave reporters a tour of the progress being made at the Rochester operation on Monday.

Crews have been working on it for months, bringing in specialized tools and other equipment. There are just a couple of dozen people working in that building now, although that may increase if the AIM Photonics effort continues to attract new customers.

When state and federal officials first talked about making Rochester a photonics hub a few years ago, some political leaders talked about the potential for it creating several thousand jobs.

Empire State Development

IDEX Health & Science, a photonics manufacturer, has officially opened its new ‘Optical Center of Excellence' in Henrietta.

The facility is located on John Street, and officials say it will support the company’s life science, semi-conductor, and defense businesses.

Empire State Development, New York’s economic development agency, says that IDEX had considered moving its operations out of the state.  But now, they say that IDEX is retaining 186 jobs and creating at least 34 new positions.

(Waterloo Region Record photo / Peter Lee)

Three scientists from the United States, France and Canada have been awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for advances in laser physics. 

Half the $1 million prize goes  to Arthur Ashkin of the United States and the other half will be shared by Gerard Mourou of France and Canada's Donna Strickland. 

Both Mourou and Strickland have connections to the University of Rochester’s  Laboratory for Laser Energetics.

Strickland got her doctorate at UR in 1989 and Mourou is a former optics professor and scientist there.

Rochester is known for its work in optics and photonics, and now an accelerator program hopes to expand the next generation of technology in these areas. But what's happening with photonics specifically in the region? Who are the companies who have received state support to grow their businesses in Rochester?

We have an update, and explore the Luminate NY initiative. Our guests:

Luminate NY, the state-funded competition designed to help startup companies in the optics, photonics and imaging industries in Rochester, announced the first 10 finalists chosen on Wednesday.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says the inaugural class includes optics, photonics and imaging start-ups, which were selected after pitching ideas to an advisory panel comprised of industry experts. The list includes two non-U.S. companies; 7 out-of-state companies and 3 Rochester companies.

The 10 selected finalists include:

The Eastman Business Park is welcoming a new tenant, a company involved in photonics. It's actually the first independent photonics company to locate at the business park.

There is a research hub being developed at the park, called a Testing, Assembly and Packaging or ‘TAP’ facility which will serve a number of photonics firms in the area.


The Rochester Museum and Science Center is getting a boost in its effort to get more young people interested in math and science, as well as look to a possible career in photonics.

With the Rochester area recently named a photonics hub, RMSC President Kate Bennett says the facility is trying to do more to encourage area students to consider pursuing employment in photonics as those companies expand in this region.

She says last year, the museum opened up an Illumination Gallery to talk about light and optics.