Public Debate Over Administrative Offices for Work Very Few People Understand

A group calling itself Rochester Business Leaders Photonics Working Group has proposed a location for AIM Photonics administrative offices, a different location than earlier suggested by University of Rochester president and designated AIM Photonics CEO, Joel Seligman. These parties are working separately from the internationally recognized cluster of OPI companies and research institutes that have developed this industry in Rochester and across New York State.

The Department of Defense has funded this enterprise so that the best scientific leaders in America’s semiconductor and photonics industries will develop and manufacture a photonics-based device at semiconductor scale: tiny things that may look like chips, handling data using light, that will revolutionize the military, consumer product, medical, automotive and computer industries, and our lives in the process.  The research will be distributed across many partners in several locations across the country where comparable expertise also is clustered.

Manufacturing will likely be done in a foundry.  The only foundry near Rochester is in Canandaigua, NY, at STC MEMS, part of SUNY Polytech.  They are designated a “trusted foundry,” a significant DoD category that cannot be replicated in downtown Rochester.  ( )

The DoD has funded this enterprise to develop functional integrated photonics devices, which now are in various conceptual or incomplete development stages in laboratories.

Real Estate Developers and the “Rochester Business Leaders Photonics Working Group” (seriously?  Is it a division of the RUMP Group?) are in a public argument about where an administrative office is going to be located.

The DoD’s designation and future interest in Rochester is unrelated to local development interests. The DoD wants integrated device development as soon as possible. This work can move forward without an administrative office.  It is unclear if it will stall if local interests refuse to coordinate and compromise.  Either way, because of the excellent working partnership so far, New York is leading the nation in an international competition fueled by billions in research dollars.  We have been designated the leaders of this effort and are the focus of international attention.

New York Photonics wants to clarify this matter and again thank partners in the National Photonics Initiative that lobbied for this opportunity for the past four years as well as the excellent people at SPIE and OSA and Alan Willner, cochair of Optics & Photonics, Essential Technologies for Our Nation. All parties who have been involved can be assured that local political maneuvering will not hinder world-class research and development, as well as cutting edge manufacturing expertise.

You have an expectation of innovative world-class research and development with cutting edge science and manufacturing know-how, and Rochester is giving you Family Feud.  It’s temporary.  New York will get its act together shortly.

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New York Photonics is a not-for-profit organization founded to promote and enhance the New York State optics, photonics and imaging industry by fostering the cooperation of business, academia and government.


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