Rochester Photonics Hub

Rochester will be the site of a new integrated photonics manufacturing innovation hub for the United States. Read WXXI News' coverage of this major economic development initiative and what it means for you and the region.

The Rochester region is poised to become the photonics hub of the nation, thanks to $600 million in public and private investments that will establish a national photonics institute in the city's downtown.

But those without a science background are at a disadvantage when it comes to understanding not only what photonics is, but also how an industry built up around it will affect the local, regional and national economy.

Time to settle this once and for all: What is photonics?

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Now that there are two photonics companies committed to coming to Rochester, hiring people, and growing their businesses locally, there's a chance that other businesses could partner with them and profit off the growing photonics industry.

At least, that's according to Bob Duffy, CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.

"You're gonna have a lot of companies here that we are blessed with that are very high tech, very progressive, forward-thinking technology companies that are somehow involved in photonics."

The head of a local business recruiting firm says the news that two photonics technology firms are coming to Rochester is the first of many such announcements we're likely to hear in the next three to five years.

Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that Photonica, which specializes in video display monitors, and Avogy, which makes chargers for laptops and other devices, will be relocating in Rochester as part of the photonics hub.

Hundreds of jobs are coming to the Rochester area as a result of the recent push into Photonics, which involves the use of light in robotics, medical imaging, national security and other fields. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo was among the officials making the announcement today at the Eastman Business Park, telling the crowd that two companies, Photonica and Avogy will be coming to Canal Ponds and the Eastman Business Park.

The Finger Lakes Region has received one of the top three awards in the competition for state economic development money, part of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

That means the Finger Lakes region, including Rochester, will receive $500 million over five years. The announcement was made in Albany by Governor Andrew Cuomo and other officials.

Local leaders have been focusing on certain industry clusters for the plan they put together for the money, including optics, photonics & imaging; agriculture and food production; and next generation manufacturing.

RIT Studies Photonics Workforce Development

Dec 7, 2015
University of Rochester

Researchers at RIT are using a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to learn how to better prepare students for jobs in the photonics and optics industry.

Post-doctoral researcher Anne Leak said the team is interviewing more than a hundred technicians, engineers, supervisors and human resource personnel to find out what skills are used on the job at small to mid-sized photonics companies in Rochester.        

Governor Cuomo has announced appointments to a seven-member board to help coordinate the state's investment in the National Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Integrated Photonics.

Cuomo says the institute will help secure the nation's leadership in emerging technology research and manufacturing.

The Governor appoints the Chairman and two additional members; SUNY Poly Institute gets 2 appointees and RIT and the University of Rochester each appoint one member.


Bob Duffy, who is  president and CEO of the Rochester Business Alliance, will now have another title. He has been named Chairman of the AIM Photonics Leadership Council, which is tasked with establishing the strategic and technical direction for the $600 million photonics institute that was announced in July.

As chairman, Duffy will be involved in working with industry and government officials as well as strategic planning and management.


Plans are moving ahead with the effort to establish a photonics operation in the Rochester area after Governor Andrew Cuomo  announced a plan on where the various parts of that project would be located.

Cuomo  was brought into the discussions after a public squabble last month over whether the headquarters for the operation should be located at the Sibley Building, or Legacy Tower, the former Bausch and Lomb Building. 

University of Rochester

After wrangling over where the new headquarters for a new photonics institute will go, the announcement was made by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday  that it will be at Legacy Tower, which is the former Bausch and Lomb building.

There was a public squabble last month over whether that headquarters should be located at the Sibley Building, or Legacy Tower, and eventually, University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros issuing a joint statement indicating they would be working together on coordinating the photonics efforts.