New York Photonics Masthead


In This Issue

  • Geospatial Systems Partners with Leica for Mapping & Surveillance Technology
  • Syntec Product Development Pushes Polymer Envelope
  • Qualifying Emerging Technology Companies Save Money for Themselves and Investors
  • New Winning Ways for Your Firm
  • Is It Right to Think About Selling Your Company?

Geospatial Systems and Leica Partner

Rochester Geospatial Imaging Firm Moves Forward with Leica Geosystems.

Geospatial Systems, Inc. (GSI) announced the development of a new Tactical Airborne Mapping and Surveillance (TAMS) system designed to produce National Imagery Transmission Format (NITF) compliant imagery supporting forward area mapping requirements. TAMS is platform agnostic, with a multisensor payload capable of in-theater fixed wing, helicopter and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAV/UAS) deployment. GSI and Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging (LGGI) unveiled the TAMS-UAV system at the GEOINT Conference, October 21-24, 2007 in San Antonio, Texas.

GSI and LGGI recently began testing the tactical mapping system, responding to interest in end-to-end sensor software capabilities within the DoD, and specifically by military services responsible for in-theater data collection. The team completed its initial testing of the TAMS system during NGA’s Empire Challenge 2007 (EC’07). During the July 2007 exercises, the team successfully produced numerous NITF compliant image products within hours of the actual mission, from more than a terabyte of raw data.

The TAMS system is built upon GSI’s rugged, metric mapping grade camera line. The plug-and-play camera modules range from 2 Mega Pixel (2MP) High Definition, 11MP, 39MP and Thermal IR metric cameras. The cameras are connected to a small, lightweight controller that stores, processes, compresses and disseminates the map information to a ground station in NITF format.

The final UAV (20 lbs payload) testing begins in November 2007 and concludes in January 2008.

For more information about GEOINT 2007, visit here.

Geospatial Systems has moved from the RIT Technology Incubator to larger quarters at the Lennox Technology Center, 150 Lucius Gordon Drive, West Henrietta, NY, 14586.


Syntec Optics

Syntec Pushes The Polymer Envelope

When an optics-enabled product is destined to be manufactured in thousands of units, it is only natural that companies evaluate whether polymers can deliver the solution. Polymer-based optics may be more easily and reliably manufactured in the thousands and the cost-efficiencies are appealing, especially as numbers increase.

Custom copolymer recipes are part of the solution to customer problems, and are part of the continuous development cycle at Syntec, according to VP and General Manager Paul Tolley. Syntec has long-standing relationships with polymer development laboratories that help the company push the boundaries of what can be expected from plastic optics. As might be expected, the variety of interesting projects involving co-polymer blends can be both challenging and extremely rewarding.

We found a number of different projects on the line at Syntec. On display in the conference room were Syntec-manufactured optical subassemblies including missile domes, medical devices and other products for the military, biometric and medical fields.

A brief list of optics being molded in the shop included:

  • An endoscope for colonoscopy with an 80 degree forward view on a 360 degree reverse bias plane for an “ominivision camera system”
  • A three-element lens suite for a retinal surgery device
  • An eye-piece element for night vision goggles
  • A folding imaging optic used in an assembly used in air helmets, so that firefighters can view in real time how much oxygen is left in both volume and time.

On a day-to-day basis this is typical of the reflective and imaging optics being rolled off the Syntec line.

The biomedical-optics market continues to thrive, and Syntec is working as the product development arm for a number of partners on quite an array of projects. We got to inspect an interesting component for a cancer diagnostic system. Medical professionals are beginning to use auto-florescent detection methods to differentiate cancer cells from normal cells. The theory behind the method of autofluorescent cancer detection is that every major organ in your body gives off a specific myoglobin when in danger. The Syntec solution offers a parabolic surface that transmits light in the deep UV range to examine with minimally invasive endoscopes. This optic must be cheap, disposable and easily sterilized.

To meet this need, Syntec works with a partner in developing a co-polymer blend. The hope is that they will contribute to making cancer diagnoses quicker, easier, safer and less-expensive. And of course medical products are developed with a long-range view, considering the amount of testing required before approvals are granted in the U.S. and the years that can take.

Another product of particular interest being assembled in Syntec’s clean room, was an optical thumb-print scanner. We saw both the red-tinted mirror optics and the diffractive “ten finger scan-platen” element being molded, but here we got to see the final product being assembled and tested. In recent months the CCD had gone from 510 to 1020 pixels, giving extraordinary clarity to the finger-print image on a unit that plugs directly into the USB port of a standard laptop.

Tolley told us that Syntec had shipped 36,000 of the units by third quarter, 2007. 20,000 of those units were going overseas to developing nations that are using them for voter-registration and verification. "When I go to my polling place they ask me to sign my name while holding a little piece of paper over my prior signature to conceal it from view." Tolley said with a grin, "I would feel more secure, and I would be shipping a lot more units, if our own country would only upgrade to the technology we developed right here in western New York, that is being used around the world."

One cannot help but wonder how many would be needed in New York State alone.

To gain additional insight into what’s possible with polymer optics check out the Syntec Optics website, which hosts a dynamic overview of both Polymer Transmission Characteristics and the Common Properties of Optical Polymers, including a brief history of their development. You can access the site here.

Includes reporting by Andrea Marron, University of Rochester Institute of Optics, Class of 2008



2007 International Photonics, Food, & Agriculture Conference

"Roadmap to Security and Production in the 21st Century"

Agribusiness as an industry presents significant problems and opportunities that photonics, optoelectronics and microsystems-enabled technologies hold the key to solving. To address these challenges, the Finger Lakes New Knowledge Fusion Project, in conjunction with The International Photonics Commercialization Alliance (IPCA), Cornell University, Infotonics Technology Center, Inc., and the New York AgriDevelopment Corporation will be sponsoring the 2007 International Photonics, Food, & Agriculture Conference: Roadmap to Security and Production in the 21st Century which will take place:

Friday, November 16, 2007,
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Canandaigua Inn on the Lake
770 South Main St.
Canandaigua, NY 14424

Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar

  • Review and Forecast for Global Laser Markets
  • Semiconductor Laser Market Review and Forecast
  • World Markets for Industrial Lasers and Applications
  • World Markets for Medical Lasers (or Biomedical Optics)
  • Photonics: is the best yet to come?
  • Ultrafast Technology Forum
  • Opportunities for ultrafast lasers in materials processing

The Fairmont Hotel
170 South Market Street
San Jose, CA 95113
Phone: 408.998.1900
(Coinciding with Photonics West. Click here for info.)

20 - 22 November, 2007
ILOPE 2007
China International Lasers, Optoelectronics,
Photonics and Display Exhibition
Beijing, China

Photonics West 2008
19 - 24 January, 2008
San Jose, California

February 24-28, 2008
San Diego Convention Center

Defense & Security
16 - 20 March, 2008
Marriott World Center
Orlando, Florida, USA


17-19 March, 2008
Laser Optics Berlin
Berlin Exhibition Fairgrounds, Germany
“Optical Technologies for Measurement and Analysis”
Call for Papers

June 11 - 13, 2008
Photonics Festival Taiwan 2008
17th International Exposition
Taipei World Trade Center

Optatec 2008
17 - 20 June, 2008
Frankfurt, Germany


The QETC Tax Credit

Save The Date!


Wednesday, December 12
7:30 AM - 9:30 AM
The Inn on Broadway
Rochester, NY
$20 - RRPC Members, $35 General Public


A little-known New York State level tax credit program offers many high-technology companies refundable tax credits for money spent on capital expenses, research expenses, and training costs. Investors in qualifying companies also benefit from tax credits based upon the amount invested and how long the investment is held. Even better, these Qualified Emerging Technology Company (QETC) credits apply to most small to medium-sized high-technology companies because of how broadly the designation is defined.


In 2005 the New York State Legislature, with support from the Emerging Industries Alliance and others interested in providing incentives to grow high technology businesses in New York, passed an expanded version of the QETC program. Few companies, however, have sought QETC designation to take advantage of these credits.


Presented by Deloitte, with panelists, including RRPC companies that have successfully used the QETC credits, the seminar will provide high technology companies, CPA's, tax attorneys, and investors with critical information regarding the scope of the QETC credits.


General Public Register by Credit Card here.

Members Register by Credit Card here.

Simply use the credit card option when you are directed to PayPal: no log-in is neccessary.


Download Registration Form for mailing here.


Sponsored by:
Deloitte & Touche, Monroe County, Excell Partners, Harter Secrest & Emery, Stonehenge Capital, New York Photonics & RRPC


Discover Winning Ways for Your Company

New MEP Program Delivers Growth Strategies


High Technology of Rochester’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership is delivering Eureka! Winning Ways®, a proven approach to converting knowledge into action, enabling Finger Lakes manufacturers to develop practical ideas to achieve significant growth. To date, the MEP network has conducted 41 of these projects over the last 5 months and in 40 of them, ideas created are currently in development or production.


Central to the program is a one-day company “Growth Summit”, an intense and accelerated learning program filled with the latest data supported discoveries and insights on how to think smarter and more creatively about your business challenges. Here a 12-15 member team from the company is guided to create more than 50 growth ideas.


Ideas can range from the refinement of a firm’s current marketing message, to more complex issues such as entering new markets or developing new products. The team then identifies several of the ideas for deeper discussion and review.


HTR Growth Coaches and Eureka! staff then take the top concepts and screen them against a proprietary database of success factors to generate a score that the model, and the trained analysts, succeed in the market. From there, the manufacturer and HTR develop a 30-day action plan to research and test the top ideas. After 30 days, the company makes a decision based on the research developed to move forward with the concept into formal development, or discard it and “reload” with another of the 50+ ideas created earlier.


Participating companies receive:

  • 50+ Choices for Growth outlined in a disciplined format
  • 4 scientific research reports on the probability of success for the best ideas
  • 2 written & refined ideas for growth that your team is excited about
  • 2 leadership action plans for taking those ideas to a management decision point
  • 30 days of expert action plan coaching to accelerate success

A refinement of the program to serve smaller companies is in the works. To learn more about Eureka! Winning Ways®, call John Steele, HTR Project Manager at (585) 327-5906 or john.steele{at}


VC Corner

Why It’s Important to Think About Selling Your Company


When is it time to sell your company? This is a complicated question for many entrepreneurs. Thinking about it periodically can be a useful exercise.


When a company raises venture capital, it embarks on a path that will hopefully lead to a profitable sale or public offering within five or so years. The phrase commonly used is “liquidity event.” Simply put, liquidity is a good thing for institutional investors, such as venture capitalists, since it results in a realization of value. VCs receive most of their compensation as a result of successful investments through the form of capital gains.


Entrepreneurs who partner with a venture capital firm know that there will be an inexorable force pushing for liquidity. That being said, many variables play into the timing of this event. Secular forces such as economic conditions and the stock market have an impact, but the company’s growth and performance are the main factors in deciding when the time is right.


With closely held businesses another issue often comes into play: ego. Most of the entrepreneurs I have met are motivated by forces other than making money. I’ve often seen entrepreneurs involved in a start-up exhibit a passion about seizing market opportunities that are not yet addressed by others. This may involve proprietary technology or something more prosaic, like a new business model.


Entrepreneurs frequently relish the control they feel. No one, of course, is without masters. Clients must be served and employees treated well. But entrepreneurs feel in charge of their destiny in a way that they wouldn’t if they worked for somebody else.


I know several entrepreneurs who sold their companies recently, all of whom had similarities that may be informative to other business owners. All three companies are high tech and were started within the past ten years. Each founder could accurately be said to be in control of the decision to sell the business, even though there might have been outside investors. The sales processes differed in that one of the companies retained an investment banker to seek a buyer or investor, and another company was approached by a potential strategic partner that was more interested in an outright acquisition.


The common theme among the three businesses was that each had achieved early success, but optimizing the company's growth potential required substantially more resources than the company could muster on its own. Resources in short supply included capital, management and distribution. Geoffrey Moore aptly describes the challenge in his classic book by the same name as “crossing the chasm.” In my three examples, the companies were acquired by strategic buyers and the founders remained on. Each entrepreneur enjoyed his own liquidity event and obtained additional resources to help him realize the company’s potential.


Not all companies reach the “chasm.” I know of many high tech companies that never raised venture capital or were sold to a strategic investor, but have maintained a growth trajectory. I know others that have not. Entrepreneurs from both categories ought to interest us because their situations often reveas an entrepreneur's ability to manage personal ego. Some entrepreneurs adapt and acquire the skills to elevate their company to another level, and others don’t , often because they have difficulties recognizing or acknowledging their shortfalls.


The venture capital model is rational even though poor judgment or unfortunate timing may lead to an undesirable outcome. Entrepreneurs though, have no model to follow unless they adopt one. The options vary and may include a VC approach, selling the company when the chasm is encountered, or never selling and building a comfortable lifestyle business that can be handed down to the next generation.


In any case, without a roadmap it’s hard to know where you’re going.


Richard A. Glaser is a financial advisor at a major securities firm. You can send him an email here.


Editor's note,

A couple of pertinent books:


Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big
by Bo Burlingham


Crossing The Chasm
by Geoffrey Moore


OIDA Event

Global Competitiveness in Optoelectronics


December 4-5, 2007

Jury's Hotel - Washington, DC

(Pre-forum reception December 3rd, 6-8 pm.)


The Optoelectronic Industry Development Association (OIDA) Annual Forum will focus on competitiveness in optoelectronics in a global economy. Many changes have occurred in the last five years as companies have adjusted to new economic realities.


CEOs and other senior leaders from North American optoelectronics companies discuss how they are configuring to compete in the current landscape. Additionally, senior officials from government will talk about what legislative and regulatory changes are being proposed to improve competitiveness in the coming decade.


As part of its annual review of optoelectronics markets, OIDA will address how metatrends like the "Green" movement will affect optoelectronics.


The Website is here.


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

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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.