Hajim School will play important role in AIM Photonics initiative

bidenJuly 29, 2015 -- The Hajim School and the Institute of Optics will play important roles in the AIM Photonics Initiative, which was awarded $110 million in federal funding this week to strengthen the nation’s Integrated Photonics manufacturing capabilities. Vice President Joe Biden, shown at left, came to Rochester to officially announce the award. 

Rochester will serve as the headquarters of the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics, which includes SUNY Polytechnic University, RIT, MIT, the University of California-Santa Barbara, University of Arizona and Columbia University among its major academic partners and IBM, Infinera, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, and Synopsis among its 55 corporate partners. The federal funding will be matched with $250 million in New York state funding, with additional funding from public and private partners expected to exceed $245 million over five years.

Duncan Moore, the Rudolf and Hilda Kingslake Professor in Optical Engineering Science, who played a major role in coordinating the winning proposal, sees AIM Photonics as a “once in a generation” opportunity locally to:

  • Help Rochester’s existing Optics, Photonics and Imaging industry become a national hub for producing next generation integrated photonics devices that can revolutionize the carrying capacity of internet networks, enhance medical technology and improve imaging sensing capabilities for national defense and security.
  • Attract new faculty members to the University (and nearby Rochester Institute of Technology) with cutting edge labs and equipment that will “raise the level of the type of research we can do in areas where we are not currently working in” – such as quantum cascade lasers.

The five-year project is part of the federal National Network of Manufacturing Innovation proposed by the Obama administration to “create a competitive, effective, and sustainable manufacturing research-to-manufacturing infrastructure for U.S. industry and academia to solve industry-relevant problems.”

Five other institutes – in advanced composites, integrated digital design, wide bandgap semiconductors, additive manufacturing, and lightweight technology – have also been approved.

Rochester will not only serve as headquarters for AIM Photonics, but take the lead in creating an integrated photonics packaging facility, and in research and development of new IP sensing devices.

In addition to Moore, other Institute of Optics faculty members played key roles in developing the proposal and will likely continue to play leadership roles, including Prof. Thomas Brown (packaging), Institute Director Xi-Cheng Zhang (workforce education) and Prof. Eby Friedman, Electronic & Photonic Design Automation.

Rob Clark, Dean of the Hajim School and the University’s Senior Vice President for Research, will serve as chairman of the nonprofit institute’s board of directors.