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

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.


An organization helping oversee the investment in Rochester's photonics initiative has been meeting this week talking about future steps in that process.

AIM Photonics is the effort which is set to bring in millions of dollars to the Rochester area, and with it, local officials hope, a lot of jobs.

It's a public-private partnership that includes the development of technology that will be used for national security, and the goal is also to bring companies into this region that will provide a big boost to the Rochester economy.


The National Science Foundation has awarded a nearly $285,000 grant to the University of Rochester to fund photonics research.

That according to Congresswoman Louise Slaughter who says the money will help train graduate students in optics and polymer science. The grant will be used to study polymers capable of light emission as chemists work to develop them for the biomedical imaging of tumors.

She says the grant will build on photonics research being done every day in Rochester.



A packed house gathered at the Riverside Convention Center on Tuesday to discuss the region’s role within the photonics industry. On the table was everything you might already know about the AIM photonics hub; however, talks included a look ahead to a time when middle-skills jobs may come here.

University of Rochester

Initial estimates for how many jobs the AIM Photonics Institute in Rochester would create were in the thousands, but according to some experts, that kind of economic growth is difficult to predict.


We know what photonics is — it's the science and application of particles of light, called photons.

And we know what it does — photonics technology makes lasers and LEDs, and it is being integrated into microchips and advancing imaging systems.

But the creation of a photonics institute in Rochester is actually part of a national push toward investing in manufacturing jobs.

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.