New York-led consortium wins integrated photonics institute award

July 23, 2015
A consortium led by SUNY has been awarded a $110 million matching grant by the DOD to establish an Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation.  

IMAGE: College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, is part of the consortium that won the IP-IMI. Courtesy of SUNY Polytechnic.

A consortium led by the Research Foundation of the State University of New York (SUNY) has been awarded a $110 million matching grant by the Department of Defense to establish the Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation (IP-IMI). The formal announcement will be made next week but photonics community leaders--and state and local politicians--are already celebrating the news.

With a pledge of matching funds from industry potentially doubling the government funding, the IP-IMI is the largest of several new manufacturing institutes (IMIs) being established by the Obama Administration to develop high-tech jobs in the U.S. It is intended to advance the state of the art in the design, manufacture, testing, assembly, and packaging of photonic integrated circuits that combine a photonic and electronic components to achieve functionality.

The New York proposal was submitted by the SUNY Research Foundation on behalf of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Arizona, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other academic and industry partners and stakeholders from California, New York, and Massachusetts. The principal investigator is Professor Michael Liehr of the Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany.

Related article:University of Rochester to develop national roadmap for photonics

Other finalist teams in the three-way competition were led by the University of Central Florida, with team members including more than 55 industry partners and 5 key research universities (UCF, Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Clemson University, and the University of Illinois); and by the University of Southern California, with support from institutes across California plus Arizona State University, the University of New Mexico, and Ohio State University

SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs noted that the competition among the three projects has provided a singular opportunity for photonics communityleaders across the county to capture the attention of policy and decision makers in the federal funding sphere."The opportunity to advocate for the establishment of a new photonics manufacturing institute followed by the competition for this impressive level of funding have helped gain new recognition for our industry’s R&D leaders.”

“Photonics technologies in advanced manufacturing have been a key component in the revitalization of U.S. manufacturing, especially in the automotive and aerospace industries,” added Elizabeth Rogan, CEO of The Optical Society (OSA). “The IP-IMI highlights the economic impact of optics and photonics and will strengthen our global competitiveness. We look forward to working with the new IP-IMI team, as well as continuing our support and affiliation with the finalists.”

On behalf of the National Photonics Initiative (NPI), which was instrumental in defining the need for photonics manufacturing capabilities, Steering Committee Chairman Alan Willner noted, "Today is a great day for the U.S. photonics industry, and we congratulate the New York consortium on this win. While other countries have heavily invested in advancing their optics and photonics industries, the United States' lead in this cutting-edge technology has dwindled. Establishing an IP-IMI in New York is a step in the right direction for our industry and will strengthen our country's position as the world leader in transitioning photonics research to commercial markets."

For more recent information, read: More details disclosed on ingrated photonics institute

IMAGE: Aerial view of the University of Rochester, which was part of the consortium that won the IP-IMI. Courtesy of the University of Rochester

About the Author

Conard Holton | Editor at Large

Conard Holton has 25 years of science and technology editing and writing experience. He was formerly a staff member and consultant for government agencies such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and engineering companies such as Bechtel. He joined Laser Focus World in 1997 as senior editor, becoming editor in chief of WDM Solutions, which he founded in 1999. In 2003 he joined Vision Systems Design as editor in chief, while continuing as contributing editor at Laser Focus World. Conard became editor in chief of Laser Focus World in August 2011, a role in which he served through August 2018. He then served as Editor at Large for Laser Focus World and Co-Chair of the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar from August 2018 through January 2022. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, with additional studies at the Colorado School of Mines and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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