In This Issue

  • OSA Annual Meeting
  • China Rare Earth Export Policies
  • MCC Optics
  • Industrial Performance Perspective
  • SBA Innovation Cluster Grants
  • Highlights: Health Care Committee
  • Getting the Most from the Recovery
  • RRPC Networking

Bookmark and Share  

RRPC Networking

RRPC Networking next meeting:

New Scale Technologies
Thursday, October 21
6:00 - 8:00PM

Call or email Tom Battley to register to attend!


Frontiers in Optics

OSA Annual Meeting 2010

Scientific and industrial leaders and decision makers come from around the globe to attend and exhibit at Frontiers in Optics (FiO) at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center this October 24 – 28 (Exhibition Hall open October 26 and 27). All seven of OSA’s technical divisions are covered at FiO which include Optical Design, Fabrication and Instrumentation; Optical Sciences; Optics in Biology and Medicine; Optics in Information Science; Photonics; Quantum Electronics and Vision and Color. Of particular note is the Industrial Physics Forum featuring experts discussing exciting laser applications in biomedicine, the environment, metrology, and more. Selected highlights and speakers include:

  • Laser Refractive Cataract Surgery with the LenSx Laser, Michael Karavitis, Lens X, USA
  • Applications of Table Top Lasers Developed from the FEL, David Piston, Vanderbilt Univ., USA
  • Tunable Infrared Laser Measurements of Industrial Process and Product Emissions, Charles Kolb, Aerodyne Res., USA
  • Epitaxial Graphene: Designing a New Electronic Material, Walter de Heer, Georgia Tech, USA
  • The Status of the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC), Dan Green, Fermilab, USA
  • Viewing the High-Energy Universe with the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, Peter Michelson, SLAC, USA
  • Quantum Entanglement and Information, Chris Monroe, University of Maryland, USA

With everyone from business leaders to optics and photonics pioneers and legends in attendance, FiO will prove itself yet again to be the must attend event of the year. Register to exhibit today!


MIT Industrial Performance Center

No Single Approach Works; Local Clusters
Need To Be Engaged

After reading a Rochester Democrat & Chronicle article about Richard Lester - founder of the Industrial Performance Center (IPC) at MIT who spoke recently about the role universities play in innovation and the competitiveness of local economies, I decided to download and read his December 2005 report.

The report is 33 pages of heavy-duty reading that takes time to read and digest. It is an international study and includes industry and technology groups in the US (9), Finland (6), UK (3), Taiwan (2), Japan (2) and Norway (1) and includes our Opto-Electronics industry in Rochester. The report classified each industry/technology sector in one of 4 dominant transition pathways; Indigenous (home-grown) creation, Transplantation, Diversification and Upgrading with our region categorized as Diversification. The report studied how universities participated in the local innovation process and found:

  • Universities have multiple ways to contribute to local innovation processes directly
  • In most cases, the indirect support provided by universities for local innovation processes is likely to be more important than their direct contributions to local industry problem solving
  • The conditions, practices, and attitudes that lead to successful technology take-up and application in local industries depend on the specific characteristics of the industry and its development pathway
  • Universities should approach their role in local innovation processes strategically
  • A strategic approach to local economic development is compatible with the pursuit of excellence in the universities traditional missions in education and research.

A few facts that were surprising and seem at odds with conventional wisdom:

  • New business creation around university science and technology is probably only 2-3% of total US business starts (this footnoted finding has several caveats)
  • In 2001 of the approximately 150,000 US patents that were issued, about 3,700 were granted to US universities.
  • In 2005 University licensing revenue was 4% of their total R&D development volume.

Lester's 2005 report concluded that local economies thrive to the degree that local firms succeed in adapting to new market and technology opportunities through innovation in products, services and production processes. This innovation performance hinges in turn on the ability of local firms either to develop new technological and market knowledge themselves or to acquire it from elsewhere and then apply it productively.

Although this report is not light reading, it is very insightful as it seems to support the findings of the Cornell study done several years ago that explored the beginnings of many of our companies, why we locate our firms here and how we interact with our local educational institutions. (Manufacturing: Up From The Ashes, Susan Christopherson, J. Thomas Clark Professor, City & Regional Planning, Cornell University)

-- John Hart, RRPC President and CEO of Lumetrics

Richard Lester, Professor and Head of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering and Director of the Industrial Performance Center at MIT spoke at Rochester Institute of Technology on Tuesday, September 28th. Lester's remarks were university focused and concerned the roles of the universities as economic development drivers.

The RRPC was well represented at the event.

Susan Christopherson, referenced above, will speak at Monroe Community College on the afternoon of October 22 at 2:00PM. If you are the CEO of an Optics, Photonics or Imaging company in the region and are interested in attending, contact Tom Battley.


Health Care Reform

Highlights of September Presentation

The new Health Care Law will demand process changes for small (under 50 employees) and large employers (50+ employees) in the next several years. A few critical issues are:

  • If you have an insurance plan in place, you will likely be able to keep this plan (considered a Grandfathered Plan), but expect changes in coverage and rates for 2011. Grandfathered plans will have to reflect some of the PPACA changes, but will not have to offer free preventive screening to adults.
  • Adult children (up to age 26) must be offered insurance coverage and this must be communicated by the company. All adult children (even married, not living at home) must be given this option. Exception is if adult children have coverage through their work place then the parent's company does not have to offer insurance.
  • Starting in tax year 2011, the Affordable Care Act requires employers to report the value of the health insurance coverage they provide employees on each employee's annual Form W-2.
  • A new tax credit helps small businesses and is specifically targeted for those with low- and moderate-income workers. The credit is available to small employers that pay at least half the cost of single coverage for their employees.

Much more information was provided at the seminar, but one critical point was mentioned that could be significant for all of our members. Did you know that you can "outsource" all of the handling of your medical insurance plan (enrollment, claims, and communications on health care changes) to a qualified broker at NO cost to your company?

Fran Pullano, CEO Pullano and Company, brings more
than 25 years of benefits consulting and business
experience to solving her client’s HR challenges.


Annual APOMA Workshop

Join your colleagues on November 10th and 11th for the APOMA Fall 2010 Optical Manufacturing Workshop, to be held in Tucson, Arizona, at the Optical Science building at the University of Arizona.

The workshop will cover a variety of topics on optical fabrication such as materials, bound and loose abrasive grinding, optical pitch and polishing pads, optical tolerances & metrology and presentations by optical machine builders on the latest equipment, and much more. Cost for the workshop is $150.00 and includes a light breakfast and lunch each day.

A reception and tour of the facilities at the Optical Science Center are planned for Wednesday evening. A complete program description and registration form will follow shortly. Current up-to-date membership in APOMA is required for all workshop attendance.




Events and Conferences

The Future is Your Decision!
October 5, 2010; 3-5pm
Monroe Community College
Rochester, NY

OSA Annual / Frontiers In Optics
24 - 28 October, 2010
Rochester, New York

APOMA Manufacturing Workshop
10 - 11 November, 2010
Tuscon Arizona

SPIE Photonics West
22 - 27 January, 2011
Moscone Center
San Francisco, CA, USA

SPIE Defense, Security & Sensiing
25 - 29 April, 2011
Orlando World Center Marriott
Orlando, FL, USA


Bookmark and Share  


The Future Is Your Decision!

Getting the Most Out of the Recovery


October 5, 2010; 3-5pm
Monroe Community College


Alan Beaulieu (Institute for Trend Research), acclaimed economic trend forecaster and one of the country’s most informed economists, will present the financial outlook for U.S. industry and the global economy.


Hosted by Finger Lakes Advanced Manufacturers’ Enterprise (FAME), Finger Lakes Community College, Genesee Community College and Monroe Community College.


To learn more or to register click here.


Register Now

12th Annual Glass Cartel Clambake


Monday, October 25, 2010

Brooklea Country Club

891 Pixley Road

Rochester, NY 14624


That's Monday evening prior to the OSA Annual FiO.


To make it easiest for everybody,
the Credit Card form is here.


You may also contact Judy Schnarr at Sydor Optics to make your reservation.

  • telephone: (585) 271-7300 ext.105
  • fax: (585) 271-7309

Cerium Shortage Affecting Glass Fabricators

During the past two months, vendors began informing customers of a cerium shortage resulting from a change in Chinese export policies concerning rare earth exports. Quotes on cerium-based slurries have been shortened to one week from certain vendors.


Prices for the compound slurries have more than doubled in recent weeks causing some fabricators to contemplate a "cerium surcharge" to their own quotes to customers.


"Shipping companies do it for fuel charges; and with the price volatility we have been experiencing in the past few weeks, I am not sure that we can absorb the costs," said Mike Naselaris at Sydor Optics.


"It's not that we don't have rare earth elements ... when the Chinese started dumping it, we stopped producing it, along with the rest of the world. It all corresponds with the "opening up" of China 25 years ago. Look at the second link also ... it is a clear picture of what is happening and why. And BTW, I predict that once the Mountain Pass Mine and others open up again, the price in China will drop to early levels. That won't happen until mid-late next year in my crystal ball. This is a short term problem." -- Chris Viggiano, FJ Gray Glass


These Wikipedia links discuss rare earths and the Mountain Pass Rare Earth Mine.


Short term in the markets might mean a year or less, and to companies using $2,000 and more in cerium slurry each month, that doesn't necessarily feel short term.


See an article in the Economist here.

See a letter from a vendor to a customer here.

See an article in EE Times here.

Read a GAO report here.


MCC Optics

Numbers up in Optics Program


Enrollment in the Optical Systems Technology program at Monroe Community College has doubled to 21 students as of Fall 2010, reports Dianna G. Phillips, Dean of Technical Education.


“Enrollment is up from just this spring. We have been working on a plan to increase enrollment of matriculated students, and we are thrilled that the plan is working.”


According to Phillips, the goal is to increase enrollment to 50 students (full and part-time) over the next 3 years, enabling us to graduate about 15 – 20 students per year. Additionally, there are over 80 Mechanical Engineering Technology students taking introductory optics courses.


note: in September's newsletter we managed to misspell the name of MCC's current Professor of Optics twice. The correct spelling is Marcelo Guimaraes.



Molded Glass Optics


Acknowledging a critical need for lighter, smaller, and higher performance optical components in many military programs, the Army SBIR program awarded RRPC member Rochester Precision Optics (RPO) a grant for demonstrating their superior glass molding technology on July 20, 2010.


Glass molding technology can meet these demands through its ability to mass produce complex geometries with high degrees of accuracy and precision. Nearly all future programs that contain optics will benefit greatly if current and future molded technologies are integrated early in the development cycle.


RPO's plans include the following:

  • Creating novel surfaces such as diffractives by producing tooling and a limited number of samples that possess the desired attributes, and extend molding technology to encompass larger diameters and achieve higher manufacturing yields.
  • Researching the availability of complimentary manufacturing technologies to identify a path for producing lower cost molded optics with superior surface qualities

Current Army programs that stand to benefit from size and weight reduction efforts are Thermal Weapon Sight (TWS), Enhanced Night Vision Goggle (ENVG), Monocular Night Vision Device (MNVD), Aviatorís Night Vision Imaging System (ANVIS), Sniper Night Sight (SNS), Clip-on Sniper Night Sight, Laser Target Locating System (LTLS) Lightweight Laser Designator Rangefinder (LLDR) and Small Tactical Optical Rifle Mounted (STORM).


One or two other federally-funded programs in the U.S. have been trying to play catch-up on RPO's advanced molding technology for several years. RPO continues to lead the way.


SBA Cluster Grants Awarded


SBA Administrator Karen Mills announced the U.S. Small Business Administration’s support for 10 regional economic development and job creation efforts through a new pilot program, “Innovative Economies.”


The pilot program supports small businesses participation in regional economic “clusters” – collaborations between small businesses, the public sector, economic development and other organizations.


“Maximizing a region’s economic assets is one of the best ways to create long term job growth, and that’s what SBA’s new Innovative Economies pilot initiative is doing,” Mills said. “Today we are announcing funding support for 10 regional economic clusters. SBA’s support will help expand the opportunities and the role small businesses play in these regional collaborations, which are enhancing the ability to create jobs locally and compete on a national and global scale.”


The 10 “Innovative Economies” awardees selected from among 173 applicants to participate in the pilot program represent a wide range of diverse geographic areas and industries. From urban to rural and clean energy to robotics, the applicants focused on leading research and commercializing new products.


SBA’s funding will be provided to each cluster’s organizing entity to strengthen opportunities for small businesses within the cluster. The funds can be used to provide services, including mentoring and counseling small businesses, as well as to attract more small business participation.


SBA is supporting two types of innovative economies: Regional Innovation Clusters and Advanced Defense Technologies. The seven Regional Innovation Clusters focus on providing business training, commercialization and technology transfer services, counseling, mentoring and other services that support the growth and development of small businesses in the cluster region.


The SBA also worked with the U.S. Department of Defense to identify areas around the country where regional innovation clusters can help meet critical defense technology needs. Three Advanced Defense Technology awardees will focus on providing business training, counseling, mentoring, matchmaking and other services to small businesses that focus on critical DoD technologies.


Cluster Awards:

Defense Related Awards:

The RRPC was one of the 173 applicants. We submitted a Defense -Related Technology Cluster Application in this round but were not awarded a contract. In our debriefing with SBA staff we learned that of the four scoring criteria, our qualifications were deemed "excellent," and our technical approach, experience and strategy were all rated "good."


Contact RRPC

How does one acquire the coveted RRPC Newsletter Cub Reporter Badge?


Contact us with industry news and be the first in your office to wear one (or hide it in your desk).


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 2010, 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.