2016: A lot to be grateful for!
On December 14, the New York State Photonics Board announced the location of the nation’s test, assembly and packaging facility.  The TAP facility will colocate with ON Semiconductor in the City of Rochester.  This is another milestone for AIM Photonics in an international competition that holds great promise for our nation with a technology that will revolutionize so much in our increasingly technological lives.

With all of the public confusion during the past 18 months about “What is photonics?” (the science of light),  “Where will the headquarters be?” (it didn’t need one), “What is integrated photonics?” (data via light at the nano/semiconductor level), “What about the Albany bid-rigging scandal?” (it has nothing to do with this national initiative), it is easy to lose sight of the people that helped make the American Institute in Manufacturing Integrated Photonics possible, and worked so hard to make certain that Rochester remained the headquarters for this national effort.

Our Gratitude Includes Many in Its Embrace

It began with the Obama administration recognizing in how critical manufacturing still is to our nation’s economy and creating the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation to bolster US competitiveness.  We are grateful for that vision.

There would be no Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute without the National Photonics Initiative and the people that worked so hard to inform, educate and create possibility in Washington DC as part of that effort.  It includes the scientists who participated in the Optics & Photonics, Essential Technologies for Our Nation.  Noteworthy is who has been downloading the report, by nation, since it was released.  We are grateful for our nation’s brilliant scientific and strategic thinkers.

It includes the vision of Eugene Arthurs at SPIE and his superb staff in Bellingham, Washington and Washington DC.  It includes the vision of Elizabeth Rogan at OSA and her excellent hard-working staff in Washington DC.  Without the combined effort of these two organizations AIM Photonics would not exist.  We are grateful.

It includes the vision of two governors and even a disgraced scientist: George Pataki who began Chip Fab New York (later Semi NY); Andrew Cuomo, who continued investing in what was once known as Albany Nanotech and anted up a $250M investment in AIM Photonics; and Alain Kaloyeros, a visionary academic who insisted that New York State could be an international leader in semiconductor development, and proved it with SUNY CNSE.  The combined efforts of these three leaders brought Global Foundries to Malta, NY and created the fertile basis that, when combined with Rochester New York’s extraordinary legacy in Optics and Photonics and our lobbying at the Federal level, enabled New York to lead the successful application that has become AIM Photonics.

It includes Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and Senator Chuck Schumer who were extraordinary advocates for New York’s Optics, Photonics and Imaging industry, for New York Photonics, and for Rochester, NY.  It includes Assemblyman Joe Morelle for his advocacy on our behalf in Albany.

It includes many others that made big contributions: Paul Ballentine, Executive Director, UR CEIS; Jay Eastman, CEO of OPTEL and OSA at-large board member, and others to numerous to name.

It became clear on Wednesday as the governor and the members of the New York State Photonics board deliberated and made presentations about AIM Photonics’ progress, that very little institutional memory exists of how the national institute for manufacturing integrated photonics became an opportunity, one that became AIM Photonics.  It was poignant to see no representation from industry.

We are grateful to everyone that made the AIM Photonics Institute possible.

What else are we grateful for?

We are grateful for Paul Conrow’s work at East High School, kindling interest in optical fabrication among his students for several years, with the help of people like Jim VanKouwenberg, Tony Marino and Patrick Iulianello, and companies like Applied Image, Optimax and Accucoat.osa-with-east-high-and-nobel-laureates

We are grateful to the high school and primary school teachers and administrators that are evangelists for the science of optics, photonics and physics and guiding young people towards careers in our field.

We are grateful to the adjunct professors and professors of optics Alexis Vogt and Bill Strong who are creating the next generation of American opticians.  And we are grateful for the support of Corning and Sydor, and the advisory board that makes the MCC Optical Systems Technology Program one of a kind in the nation.

We are grateful for all of our sponsors, companies and community stakeholders who continue to volunteer, participate, attend, inquire, contribute, and promote New York, Rochester, and New York’s Finger Lakes Region as an international center for Optics, Photonics and Imaging in the Century of the Photon!

Thank you for being you!


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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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