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.


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.

The Finger Lakes Region has received one of the top three awards in the competition for state economic development money, part of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

That means the Finger Lakes region, including Rochester, will receive $500 million over five years. The announcement was made in Albany by Governor Andrew Cuomo and other officials.

Local leaders have been focusing on certain industry clusters for the plan they put together for the money, including optics, photonics & imaging; agriculture and food production; and next generation manufacturing.

RIT Studies Photonics Workforce Development

Dec 7, 2015
University of Rochester

Researchers at RIT are using a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to learn how to better prepare students for jobs in the photonics and optics industry.

Post-doctoral researcher Anne Leak said the team is interviewing more than a hundred technicians, engineers, supervisors and human resource personnel to find out what skills are used on the job at small to mid-sized photonics companies in Rochester.