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.

University of Rochester

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that New York State will establish a $10 million, multi-year Photonics Venture Challenge in Rochester.

He says the business competition will aim to support start-up companies that commercialize rapidly developing technologies through a business accelerator program and a top award of $1 million to the most promising start-up company.

Cuomo says there currently are no accelerator programs in the world that have a photonics focus.

Officials with New York State’s economic development arm, Empire State Development, say that they are no longer pursuing a project with a California-based company called Photonica.

Last year, Governor Cuomo and other officials announced that Photonica, which is involved in photonics technology, planned to bring about 400 jobs to Canal Ponds Park and the Eastman Business Park.


A final decision has been made about where the AIM Photonics testing, assembly, and packaging (TAP) facility will be located, much to the delight of industry insiders.

But what’s more exciting, according to Mark Peterson, President and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise, is the ability to now move forward and form concrete international business relationships.


After surpassing dozens of worthy contenders, including the runner-up Rochester Institute of Technology, it is Eastman Business Park that was chosen as the future site of the AIM Photonics Manufacturing Facility.

EBP was selected in an open bidding process organized by the state and will be home to the test, assembly and packaging (TAP) facility.

Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Wednesday at the Riverside Convention Center.


Senator Chuck Schumer is promising to further develop Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester so long as he can secure another $75 million in the 2018 federal budget.

On Thursday, Schumer launched his push to obtain the funding and brought U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz along for the announcement. Schumer said the investment would be a win-win, and the money would allow lab staff to double down on their energy discovery and national security work.

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle calls the developments involving the bribery and fraud case “troubling news.” In terms of any impact on the efforts involving development of a photonics hub in Rochester, the Irondequoit Democrat doesn't sound overly concerned.

He says he had earlier difficulties with SUNY Polytechnic Chief Alain Kaloyeros, when there were disagreements over where to put a photonics headquarters in Downtown Rochester, but that later was resolved, Morelle says, because of objections local officials had about the transparency of the entire process.


With millions in federal and state funding, Rochester is poised to become a photonics research and manufacturing hub.

And with thousands of new jobs possible, local colleges are preparing their students now to build their careers in the industry.

At Monroe Community College, many more students are enrolling in the optics program. 

The ongoing efforts to ramp up photonics manufacturing in the Rochester area has taken another step forward.

The New York State Photonics Board, which is coordinating the state’s financial investment in photonics, has hired a real estate firm that does site selection work to  recommend a location for what is going to be a testing, assembly and packaging facility.

The board hired Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, which is headquartered in New York City.

The University of Rochester is going to be receiving $2 million in federal money for photonics research. That according to New York Senator Charles Schumer and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, who says the money from the National Science Foundation  will allow researchers to further investigate challenges in quantum photonics.

The research is expected to result in a new class of technologies and it's aimed at transforming information processing for things like secure communications and advanced computing.

University of Rochester

A state photonics board has taken a step that will lead to the first major round of funding for that technology in Rochester.

The New York State Photonics Board of Officers  has unanimously approved a payment of $106 million for the AIM Photonics effort.

The money will be used to establish a testing, assembly and packaging facility.

The $106 million in funding voted on by the board during a meeting at Eastman Business Park represents  the first major portion  of the $250 million over five years that New York State has committed to the project.