New York State continues to be the epi-center of the optics, photonics and imaging industries in North America. Ranking number two in the nation in academic research and development expenditures, this research is split almost evenly between upstate and downstate colleges and universities, giving optics firms throughout the state access to potential partnerships and the latest industry developments.
Rochester is the global leader in optics, photonics and imaging. The Finger Lakes Region around Rochester is home to more than 120 progressive businesses in the OPI sector. The birthplace of Eastman Kodak Company, Xerox Corporation and Bausch & Lomb is always evolving. Rochester and the Finger Lakes Region is home to a surprising number of diverse small and medium-sized businesses that represent the full supply chain in optics, photonics and imaging.
Optics is all about light: how it’s generated, propagated, and detected. It is a multidisciplinary endeavor with its roots in physics, electrical engineering, chemistry, and materials science.
Optical applications can be found in every aspect of our lives, from contact lenses to fiber-optics communication. The study of optics has led scientist to produce ground breaking inventions like the laser and the holograph.
Photonics is the science of harnessing light, and imaging encompasses a vast array of technologies including displays and light sensors, the digital “cameras” in our phones, in our cars, in satellites, in endoscopes (literally: looking inside), in night vision systems and myriad other applications. Together the rapid acceleration of these technologies is transforming our world with everything from 3D entertainment to self-driving vehicles.
The age and size of the cosmos are written in light. The nature of beauty; the substance of the stars; the laws of space and time: they were there all along, but we never saw them – until we devised a more powerful way of seeing. The story of this awakening has many beginnings, and no ending. Its heroes come from many times and places:
The ancient Chinese philosopher Mozi, the first to write about the phenomenon called the camera obscura, the prototype of the cameras we still use today; Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan, a wizard who amazed the caliphs of 11th century Iraq, often referred to as the father of optics; a poor German orphan enslaved to a harsh master, Joseph Fraunhofer
…each one brought us a little closer to unlocking the secrets hidden in light.
Most of their names are forever lost to us. But somewhere, long ago someone glanced up to see light perform one of its magic tricks. Who knows? Maybe that quirk of light inspired the very first artists.
– Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos