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September 01, 2015

AIM Photonics Institute to be based in Rochester

Joe BidenVice President Joe Biden announces $110 million in federal funding for a photonics institute headquartered in Rochester.

The University is a key partner in a consortium that won a national competition to advance U.S. photonics manufacturing capability.

The new American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics) will be headquartered in Rochester, bringing the nation’s leading talent from companies, universities, and federal research institutions together under one entity to develop the next generation of integrated photonics and deliver global manufacturing leadership.

“This is historic,” said University of Rochester President and CEO Joel Seligman after the July announcement. “AIM Photonics will provide and empower the absolute best talent, sustainable relationships and infrastructure required to capture and sustain U.S. global leadership in this critical industry. As the headquarters for this new institute, Rochester is uniquely positioned to support this growth. Now, together with our partners, our work truly begins.”

AIM Photonics will receive $110 million from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, and that award will be supplemented by another $250 million from the State of New York, with additional funding commitments from public and private partners expected to exceed $245 million over the next five years for a 5:1 matching of federal funds. The proposal was put together by a coast-to-coast academic and industry consortium that includes the University of Rochester, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, RIT, MIT, University of Arizona, the University of California–Santa Barbara, and Columbia University among its major academic partners. Corporate partners include Boeing, IBM, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Lockheed Martin, Infinera, Corning and Synopsys. There are a total of 90 partners from 18 states. In addition to support from New York state, AIM Photonics is supported by the states of California and Massachusetts, along with leading national and regional industry consortia and economic development agencies.

The institute will advance the study of photonics—the use of light in technology—by exploring ways to integrate photonics into technology that has relied on solid-state electronics for the past several decades. The work is expected to revolutionize the carrying capacity of Internet networks, enhance medical technology, and improve imaging- sensing capabilities for national defense and security.

The U.S. has been a world leader in developing photonics technology for the past century. Defense applications and technologies encompass night vision systems, satellite surveillance systems, infrared, flexible displays, sensors, detectors, data communications, and lasers.

“AIM Photonics will leverage the capabilities of leading corporate partners, academic institutions, and a vibrant community of small and medium enterprises in Rochester to enable a new manufacturing base critical to the needs of our nation and the Air Force,” says Rob Clark, dean of the Hajim School and the University’s senior vice president for research. Clark will serve as chairman of the nonprofit institute’s board of directors. “AIM Photonics builds on the 2012 National Academies of Science report and is the culmination of several years of advocacy and bipartisan support from our congressional delegation, and is also made possible by the recent enactment of the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act.”

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