New York Photonics Masthead



Optifab Continues to Gain Traction

May 14-17
Rochester Riverside Convention Center

The only conference/exhibit of its type in the U.S., Optifab is uniquely positioned to attract high-end precision optical manufacturers, their suppliers, and the customer base that stands to benefit from this extraordinary supply chain.

Eleven weeks from the conference dates and the technical sessions are now full, 140 exhibitors are registered, and it appears that Optifab will reach the conference goal of 200 exhibitors if the returning exhibitors and other stakeholders continue to encourage participation among industry colleagues.

The focus of the conference is:

  • Optical fabrication equipment
  • Optical components, materials, and systems
  • Optomechanical components and devices
  • Laser system components
  • Optical thin film coating
  • Optical metrology and testing equipment
  • Clean room equipment
  • Software, adhesives, glass, and consumables

Commercial presentation opportunities are available for covering leading edge manufacturing and testing products with an emphasis on aspheric fabrication and testing. Jay Kumler of Coastal Optics is your contact for the technical conference and for the Commercial Presentation opportunities at (561) 881-7400 ext. 114.

Once again this year APOMA and RRPC will host a Tuesday night reception featuring Rochester's own Nik & the Nice Guys. Please help by sponsoring this event and letting attendees and exhibitors alike know that Rochester is North America's home for Optics, Photonics and Optical Fabrication. Contact Rick Rivers at 585-586-6906.

Become an exhibitor by going here.



Partnership Opportunities with the Cornell Center for Materials Research

The Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) industrial outreach program, funded by New York State Office for Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR), has a variety of ways for area companies to access analytical and research capabilities relevant to photonics science and technology.




Center staff members John Pochan, visiting scientist and former Kodak senior technology manager, and David Jung, manager of the small business outreach program,

CCMR Industrial Programs Manager, David Jung, invites companies into dialog about possible ways of working together. “Companies come to us with very specific interests and needs. We in turn look to the broad interdisciplinary faculty and facilities resources of CCMR to find a potential match with what each company is looking for. Very often, the match is made, and companies are able to begin a relationship with the University,” says Jung. “We can guide you through the process of making that connection, doing what we can to make your company more competitive and successful.”

CCMR’s membership includes over 100 faculty members representing a range of expertise who together conducting more than $80 million in funded basic materials research that will impact future industries and markets. The Center also manages and makes available $18 million worth of materials research facilities.

The Center’s mission is to advance, explore, and exploit the forefront of the science and engineering of advanced materials. The unifying theme of its research is the study of materials purposefully structured at the nanoscale (near atomic dimensions). Included within that realm are photonics-related subjects such as device and thin film technology, MEMS and nanoscale fabrication, and the development of photonic materials, crystals, and structures with specific photonic properties and functions.

For programs, CCMR industrial outreach has a number of ways for companies to plug in to these resources. For larger companies, the Center’s Industrial Collaboration Program, enables corporate members to collaborate in the design of materials research projects via a gift to the university. Membership features include access to CCMR shared experimental facilities, student internships, and an invitation to an annual symposium.

Recent examples of successful collaborations are impressive. Referring to a fall, 2005, project to evaluate catalytic materials with the center, Henry Gysling, Director of Technology for AirFlow Catalyst Systems, said, “We came to the conclusion that we are not going to find a better institution to deal with than Cornell. They have the expertise, they have the instrumentation, and they have the willingness to work with small companies to really help us understand our problems and identify what we need to do to improve our products. It’s been a really valuable interaction.”

Wakonda Technologies, a spring 2006 participant, is gaining access to significant additional resources as a result of the boost provided by the program. “The benefits of a CCMR partnership can go an awful long way if you look at the value it brings early on, accelerating your growth into the marketplace. I have leveraged $5000 worth of JumpStart matching support into $200,000 worth of federal money in the course of about 6 months, and I’m now looking to leverage that into about a million dollars of funding for next year,” stated company President Les Fritzemeier.

Another opportunity to connect is the Facilities 101 workshop held each spring. This one-day course includes an overview of key CCMR facilities, highlights of previous company interactions and in-depth tours. This year’s event will be held April 10. Registration will begin via the center’s website in March.

Contact: David Jung, CCMR Industrial Program Manager, telephone: 607-255-5871, email: dj59[at] or in the Rochester Region, John Pochan, telephone 585-739-0311, email: johnpochan[at]


SBIR / STTR Opportunities


The DoD Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) 2007 solicitation is open for proposal submission from February 20, 2007 through 6 a.m. March 21, 2007. The DoD invites small business firms, with their research institution partners, to submit proposals under this solicitation to the STTR Program. Six DoD components—the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, the Department of the Air Force, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) — have R&D topics in this solicitation under which Phase I proposals are sought. The Solicitation, which contains detailed information on the parameters of the STTR program and how to submit a proposal, and Topics are available at You may also search the topics by going to


Defense & Security Conference, Orlando

RRPC and New York Photonics will have a booth at the D&S Conference in April. We are able to have your literature on display for a $150 fee.

If you plan on attending the conference and want to help staff the booth, call Tom Battley at 585.329.4029.



RRPC Annual Meeting
22 March 2007
Rochester, New York

Defense and Security Symposium
9 - 13 April 2007
Orlando, Florida USA

6 - 11 May 2007
Baltimore, Maryland

14 - 17 May 2007
Rochester, New York USA

Photonics North (co-located with Education and Training in Optics & Photonics)
3 -7 June 2007
Ottowa, Ontario, Canada
Conference (Photonics North)
Conference (Education & Training)

MD&M East
12 -14 June, 2007
Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center
New York, New York USA

46th Annual Summer Course Series
University of Rochester Institute of Optics
18-29 June 2007
Rochester, New York USA

Frontiers in Optics 2007
16 - 20 September, 2007
San Jose, California




RRPC Annual Meeting

Biomedical / Optics Building Unveiled


RRPC Hosts its Annual Meeting at the University of Rochester on March 22nd, in the recently-opened, $60 million, Robert B. Goergen Hall of Biomedical Engineering and Optics.


This year's speaker is Kevin J. Parker, Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Rochester. Parker oversees the direction and growth of engineering programs, including research, education, outreach, and development programs at the University.

  • 5:30 - 6:00 pm Registration, Networking and Reception
  • Hot and cold hors d'oeuvres, cash bar
  • 6:00 - 6:45 pm Program
  • 6:45 - 7:30pm Networking Reception continues, Tours of Goergen Hall

Registered RRPC members are invited on a complimentary basis with one guest each. Additional guests are welcome at $25.00 each.


This meeting is open to the public. Please feel free to forward information to anyone you think might be interested.


For those in need of directions, a map is provided here:


The registration form is here.

Registration by credit card is available on-line here.


Guest Essay: Workforce Development

by Mike Mandina, President, Optimax


In the 15 years Optimax has been in business we have become pretty good at developing our workforce. Not many of our employees came from the optics industry -- most had their first introduction to optics at Optimax. When we look back at where many of our best employees came from, it is striking that a large percentage came from school-to-work, internships, summer-help or part-time "employment by convenience," and the Optimax scholarship program. Not every young person that came through Optimax stayed. But I will venture to say that we affected all of them regarding their career choice decisions. I consider it a success even if they decided they did not want to pursue optics as a career. How many kids graduate from High School or College and have no passion around a career choice? How can they have passion around a career choice if they have never had exposure to it?


Many leaders in industry "get-it." Unfortunately it is only recently that I woke up. Although I feel like I'm late to the party, better late than never! The solution to our workforce needs is simple. I suggest that within 10 years Upstate NY can become the location of choice for high tech company growth because we will have the most productive, most impassioned and capable workforce in the nation.




Get kids into environments for sustained periods where they get to experience potential careers. This seems too simple to be profound, but I am convinced that it works. I am attempting to pull some statistics from Optimax's history so this assertion can be supported with facts. I'll let you know when I've completed the exercise.


Our job as the employers of tomorrow's workforce is to provide the catalyst, the trigger that will ignite their career passion. Once a youngster has clarity and passion around their calling, society just needs to hang on for the ride. We don't need to be driving them, they will be pulling us! They will demand the proper courses, they will ignite their parents' interests, and they will force colleges to provide the right curriculum to attract them. High tech industries will be attracted to the fertile soil where these young, motivated minds take root and grow. Currently many of these motivated youngster find their opportunities outside of upstate NY. None of my 3 adult children live here! They might have stayed if they knew there were opportunities.


Things RRPC members can do immediately to make a difference:

  1. Make a conscious decision to hire at least one youngster (part-timer or intern) for every 25 to 50 regular employees
  2. Expose the youngster to the spectrum of job functions within your firm. This doesn't mean that they need to do all the jobs, but to have them in physical proximity to the many roles people play in the course of their work
  3. Establish a relationship with your local high school guidance counselor or school-to-work coordinator. Have them refer kids to you
  4. Provide a $500 scholarship to local high schools and offer the winner summer employment
  5. Participate in career days, and let the attendees know that you have a job opening for a student part-time

Originally when Optimax did this we thought we were doing the community a favor, being altruistic if you will. However it turned out to be one of the smartest business decisions we ever made. Many of these youngster quickly learned work processes and they were able to substitute for workers on vacation or free workers up so they could flow to bottlenecks. Oh yeah, and when they go off to college, guess who gets the first call for employment during school breaks? We have bright, motivated, already trained workers showing up right at the time when our regular employees want time off!


And when it comes to getting the best candidates to work at your firm, is there a better way to insure to success? You can actually hire someone who has already worked in your company. And even if they don't work for you, they will come out of school with a passion, and they will have influenced others in their career path. Imagine one out of every 50 high school students telling their peers about the interesting part time job they landed. Meanwhile their classmates are flipping burgers for their spending change. The point here is that they learned that other industries exist in their community. What a great way to let students know the diversity and rich opportunities in the Upstate NY economy.


Well, I could go on, but I'm out of gas. Hopefully this is enough to wet the RRPC's appetite. Hopefully you get some feedback indicating that fellow members are willing to support the effort. If we lead, other industries will likely follow and before you know it, we have a grass roots juggernaut that is sustainable for the Upstate Advanced Manufacturing Industry.



Rensselaer Polytechnic


An innovative microscope technology invented by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has been licensed by Thorlabs Inc., a manufacturer of photonics products. The device, which is called the Adaptive Scanning Optical Microscope (ASOM), provides the ability to view large areas of a sample without sacrificing image resolution. It is especially suited for automating difficult tasks in biological laboratories, from diagnosing cancer to discovering new drugs.


The technology was invented at the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS) at Rensselaer by Ben Potsaid, John Wen, and Yves Bellouard, based in part on funding from the National Science Foundation. Thorlabs has donated equipment to CATS in the past and also actively supports the Smart Optics Laboratory, one of several labs at CATS, where the ASOM research is continuing.


“We are very excited about this license and technology transfer,” said Wen, who is also director of the CATS. “We have had an ongoing relationship with Thorlabs, and we look forward to working with them to help accelerate the development of the ASOM to market.”


“Rensselaer’s ASOM technology opens new opportunities throughout the world of microscopy, from biomedical research to industrial inspection, and we are delighted to partner with Thorlabs to realize its full potential,” said Ron Kudla, executive director of the Office of Intellectual Property, Technology Transfer and New Ventures at Rensselaer.


Laboratory workers have benefited greatly from automated microscopes that can outperform even the most skilled human operators. These systems can capture information that can be difficult or tedious for humans, such as tracking moving organisms or processing large numbers of samples automatically. But there is an inherent tradeoff between field-of-view and magnification — as you zoom in on a subject, the amount of area you can see in the viewfinder gets smaller and smaller. This means that large regions of a sample cannot be imaged at high resolutions without moving the sample or microscope, potentially causing undesirable disturbances, according to Potsaid, who also leads the Smart Optics Lab at CATS.


The ASOM overcomes this obstacle by scanning a mirror over the sample, while a camera captures a series of small, distinct snapshots. These images are then assembled into a mosaic, providing a much larger field-of-view at very high resolution, without the need to switch lenses or move the sample.


The challenge with this method is that when the mirror is not looking straight down onto the sample, it introduces blurriness. CATS researchers fixed this problem by employing an adaptive optic element, in this case a “deformable” mirror that changes shape to correct for the off-axis aberrations that cause the blurring. The device, which functions much like a dynamic funhouse mirror, is made up of tiny Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS), allowing the ASOM to operate 10-100 times faster than current automated microscopes without disturbing the specimen.


The ASOM offers other advantages as well. The microscope can be programmed to quickly scan specific regions of interest in the sample, bouncing back and forth between tracking multiple moving objects. This feature could be useful for observing live microorganisms or in monitoring microscale industrial processes.


Contact RRPC

New York Photonics and the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster are active and growing collaborative organizations. Efforts are under way on joint training events, workforce development, collaborative advertising opportunities, promoting the commercialization of I.P., and the development of our website to further facillitate business development.

Join us! There are advantages to working together, and we are interested in working with you. Send an email to us at

To subscribe, to unsubscribe, to submit a news item or upcoming event, to suggest a feature or column, or to offer feedback, contact Tom Battley, at 585-329-4029.



Copyright 2007, Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster, Inc.

New York Photonics and The Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster (RRPC) are not-for-profit organizations founded to promote and enhance the New York State photonics, optics and imaging industry by fostering the cooperation of business, academia and government.