Archive for September 2013

JML Optical Bringing Jobs Back To The U.S.

September 30, 2013

jmlIn recent years, JML Optical was having most of its custom lenses and other optical components built in China.

But since new owners took the helm in 2011, JML Optical has participated in a growing trend in manufacturing: bringing production back to the United States, where it’s easier to manage customers’ increasingly exact tolerances for variation.

Read the full story here.

RRPC Announces 2013 Election Results

September 23, 2013

The Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster (RRPC) announced the addition of seven new members to its Board of Directors at its annual meeting earlier this month. Rochester is in the national and international spotlight, and is seeking significant federal funding for optics R&D. The new Board reflects a broader range of expertise needed to establish Rochester as the global leader in optics.

“The new Board of Directors of RRPC has further been strengthened to include subject matter experts in marketing, competitive government grants, optics industry expertise and intellectual property development,” said John Hart, Board President, and President and CEO of Lumetrics.

In addition to Hart, three existing members will continue their positions on the Board: Paul Dewa, applied technology manager at Corning; Paul Tolley, executive director of STC MEMS at the CNSE Smart System Technology & Commercialization Center of Excellence; and Christopher Cotton, president of ASE Optics.

The new Board members are:

Michele Nichols, PLS Launch Solutions

As owner and president of PLS Launch Solutions, Michele helps to define winning go-to-market strategies for technology companies. She creates programs Nicholsfor optics, photonics and services companies looking to grow sales and profits and enter new markets. Her team also helps companies develop and leverage their IP portfolio and create competitive advantage from innovation. With an MBA and fifteen years’ experience in improving sales and service delivery, Michele brings practicality and perspective to her work with other business leaders in the optics industry.

Rick Plympton, Optimax Systems

Rick began his career at Optimax in 1995 managing the sales and marketing activities as well as the QA department. Rick has Plymptonre-engineered the optical fabrication process for speed, based on hands-on experience as an assembly/test technician, QA manager, and sales engineer in the United States and Europe. Rick holds degrees in business administration, computer science and engineering science from Finger Lakes Community College and was recently awarded the Distinguished Alumni award. He furthered his education at the University of Rochester with a Bachelor of Science degree in optics and an MBA. In 2012 he received the Small Business Administration (SBA) New York State Small Business Person of the Year award. He also sits on the Board for the Optics and Electro-Optics Standards Council.

Chuck Synborski, GS Plastic Optics

Chuck is the vice president of sales, marketing and business development at GS Plastic Optics. With a master’s in optics Synborskifrom the University of Rochester and 30+ years in the industry, he has played key roles in a number of optics enterprises, most recently as general manager of the Rochester division of CVI / Melles Griot. Chuck has extensive experience in precision optics (components and systems), electro- optics, microscopy, factory automation, semiconductor capital equipment, and laser technology. He has developed and marketed numerous commercial optical instruments, advanced modular robotic assembly automation technology, and a new, patented method of using ultraviolet light in the manufacturing of insulated electrical wire. He also authored and edited ASTM/NIST national test standards as a member of the F-1 Committee on Electronics Technology. Chuck is a member of IEEE, SPIE and OSA and sits on the board for the Rochester Business Alliance, International Business Council.

Paul Ballentine, UR CEIS

As deputy director of the Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences (CEIS) at the University of Rochester, Paul is responsible for strategic initiatives and Ballentineday-to-day operations. Paul is also the Director of the Rochester Regional Photonics Accelerator, a federal program sponsored by five different agencies to strengthen the Rochester optics cluster. Prior to joining CEIS, Paul spent 25 years in the semiconductor industry, most recently as director of the Clean Energy Incubator at Freescale Semiconductor. His primary research focus is semiconductor processing and thin films. He has a PhD in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Rochester, an MS in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a BS in physics from Siena College. While pursuing his doctorate at the University of Rochester, Paul co-founded CVC Partners, which eventually went public and was acquired by Veeco Instruments.

Brian Carroll, The Superior Group

As an account executive at The Superior Group, Brian provide clients with temporary and direct staffing solutions in the Carrollclerical, technical, financial, engineering and IT fields. With more than 8 years of experience as a workforce management consultant, Brian’s expertise includes a thorough knowledge of staffing, payroll and human resources, labor management, tax compliance, and benefits administration.





Mike Richardson, RIT

Mike is a distinguished researcher at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where hisRichardson work focuses on remote sensing. Mike co-authored the paper, “The Role of Physical Modeling and Scene Simulation in Support of Space Based Remote Sensing,” which was part of the proceedings of Core Technologies for Space Systems Conference in 2001. Mike is also Project Manager for a collaborative initiative between RIT and industry partners to improve 3D imaging technology. The project, funded through a $1 million National Science Foundation Accelerating Innovation Research (AIR) grant and matching funds from corporate partners Exelis, Pictometry International and Lockheed Martin, aims to create novel ways to capture high-quality 3D images from remote-sensing technologies.

Neal Slifkin, Harris Beach

Neal is a member of the firm, Harris Beach, Attorneys At Law; leader of the Intellectual Property Practice Group; and co-leader of the Internet Law PracticeSlifkin Group. He also serves on the Science and Technology and the Telecommunications and Media Industry teams. Selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America, he regularly litigates various types of intellectual property actions including patent, trademark, copyright, and trade dress infringement actions. Neal also serves as local counsel in numerous intellectual property actions pending in the United States District Courts for the Western and Northern Districts of New York. Neal represents technology companies in negotiating and documenting intellectual property transactions; he also prepares and prosecutes patent applications in a wide variety of technologies including medical devices, complex mechanical systems, and optical technologies. Neal is also actively involved in the community, providing guidance to participants in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy.

Guided by the newly elected board, the RRPC will undertake a significant update to their strategic plan. Said Hart, “Over 10 years ago the Cornell University department of City and Regional Planning studied the RRPC and helped direct its early formation and strategic plan. We may have an opportunity to again work with this prestigious organization to memorialize our progress and map out the next 10 years—a critical time of growth for the optics industry.”

Four new members were elected to two-year terms:

• Christopher Cotton, ASE Optics (reelected)

• Michele Nichols, PLS Launch Solutions

• Rick Plympton, Optimax Systems

• Chuck Synborski, G-S PLASTIC OPTICS

Elected members stepping down are:

• William Hurley, Rochester Precision Optics

• Michael Mandina, Optimax Systems

• Michael Naselaris, Sydor Optics

The board appointed the following members to one-year terms:

• Paul Ballentine, University of Rochester CEIS

• Brian Carroll, Superior Group

• Mike Richardson, Rochester Institute of Technology

• Neal Slifkin, Harris Beach

Appointed members stepping down are:

• Richard Demartino, Rochester Institute of Technology

• Damon Diehl, Monroe Community College

• Thad Schofield, City of Rochester

• Xi-Cheng Zhang, University of Rochester

Elected members with terms expiring in 2014 are:

• Paul Dewa, Corning

• John Hart, Lumetrics

• Paul Tolley, College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at Albany, STC MEMS

The 2013 RRPC Board of Directors is:

• Paul Ballentine, University of Rochester CEIS

• Brian Carroll, The Superior Group

• Christopher Cotton, ASE Optics

• Paul Dewa, Corning

• John Hart, Lumetrics

• Michele Nichols, PLS Launch Solutions

• Rick Plympton, Optimax Systems

• Chuck Synborski, G-S PLASTIC OPTICS

• Mike Richardson, Rochester Institute of Technology

• Neal Slifkin, Harris Beach

• Paul Tolley, College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at Albany, STC MEMS

The Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster (RRPC) is a not-for-profit organization founded to promote and enhance the New York State Optics, Photonics, and Imaging Industry by fostering the cooperation of business, academia and government.

IBM Singing The Blues In New York State

September 17, 2013

New York State’s plan to build up to three “mega” computer chip factories at the SUNY Institute of Technology outside Utica is raising questions about the future of IBM’s operations in downstate Dutchess County.

Story here.

Lumetrics Garners Digital Rochester GREAT Award

September 12, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, Rochester, NY

Before a packed house at the Digital Rochester GREAT Awards held in the Plaza Hotel on State Street, RRPC Member Lumetrics took home the Digital Rochester Optics, Photonics and Imaging Technology Award for developing their all-fiber based interferometer, the OptiGauge™.

Presenting the award was Julian Goldstein, CEO of Navitar and the award sponsor.

Finalists for the award were:

The award recognizes an individual and/or organization that demonstrates achievement in emerging technologies in the field of Optics, Photonics and Imaging.  The judging categories are Innovation/Originality, Practical Application, Achieved Successes.

LumetricsLumetrics CEO, John Hart, in accepting the award said, “More than optics, photonics and imaging in common, we all have roots in Eastman Kodak. In a very direct way, all three of the nominees here have Optics, Photonics and Imaging in common but we also have Kodak to thank: Of course Carestream was a former Kodak operating group. Lumetrics was able to license patents from Kodak 10 years ago that helped us launch our first product. Mike Pavia worked at Kodak prior to starting Sydor Instruments. And interestingly, Jim Sydor’s Dad, Stefan, immigrated to Rochester and worked for Kodak for 15 years before founding Stefan Sydor Optics in 1964.

So thank you to Digital Rochester for initiating this new award, also a shout out to Navitar for their sponsorship, and congratulations to Carestream Health and Sydor Optics for their tremendous contribution to our Optics community.”


Digital Rochester GREAT Optics, Photonics and Imaging Technology Award


RRPC / New York Photonics Annual Meeting

September 11, 2013

240 stakeholders converged at the Rochester Museum and Science Center’s Riedman Gallery on September 10 to interact with industry experts and thought leaders in a conversation about the National Photonics Initiative.npi-horiz-logo

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, representative 25th district, New York cohosted the meeting. Slaughter’s opening remarks emphasized Rochester’s leading role in optics, photonics and imaging for over a century, and the importance of photonics in medicine, energy research, defense and other industries. Slaughter also highlighted that in an industry so important to the 21st century, budget sequestration and threats to research dollars do little to bolster America’s competitive position internationally, but in fact destabilize research projects and the confidence of researchers in critical industries.audience

Steve Anderson, industry and market strategist for SPIE and Tom Hauskin, senior advisor, engineering and applications for the optical Society of America shared information with the full house about state of America’s National Photonics Initiative.

Anderson highlighted the high level and sustained level of government engagement with the photonics industry in nations like Taiwan, Korea, and the European Union, using Photonics 21, the European Union’s multinational strategic photonics roadmap as a perfect example of what America is up against competitively.

The National Photonics Initiative has identified five technical focus areas as critical to America’s competitive position:

  • advanced manufacturing
  • communications and IT
  • defense and national security
  • energy
  • health and medicine

Hauskins presentation focused on a fragmented Photonics ecosystem, highlighting sources and locations of corporate R&D investment. One noteworthy revelation was that only 1 – 3% of corporate revenues go for research and development of novel products while as much as 7% goes to R&D for upgrading and mature products.

With boom era venture-capital financing on the wane and US government R&D spending flat, the president’s Council of advisors on science and technology (PCAST)issued a report in 2011 recommending the increase in R&D budgets for some national agencies, the strengthening of STEM education, and expanding the number of skilled foreign workers that may be employed by US companies.crowd1

The report suggested that America needs a coherent innovation policy.  PCAST also highlighted that next generation optoelectronics, nanoscale carbon materials and nanotechnology enabled medical diagnostics, all photonics enabled technologies, were examples of promising technologies that face potential market failures in the US.

Jennifer Clark’s presentation focused upon policies that bolster economic resilience. She emphasized that the U.S. has no coherent innovation policy, the very least needed to compete with Industrial policies in other countries that have created stiff competition in markets that the U.S. once dominated.

According to Clark, America’s science, technology, and innovation (STI) policy and economic development strategies are spatially disconnected.  Our STI is associated with national-scale agency funding, but economic development is at the state and local scale.  This creates a large role for existing industry stakeholders — established industries, but not emerging industries.

Clark’s policy recommendations vis-a-vis the National Photonics Initiative:

  • Connect national policy-making to regional specializations.
  • Get serious about supporting SMEs.  Invest capital in new products, not just new firms.
  • Construct a distributed national network of innovation & development centers.
  • Include process technologies (testing, certification, standards) Provide information.
  • Invest in a specialized, skilled labor markets

See also RRPC / New York Photonics 2013 Annual Awards and RRPC Election Results

RRPC 2013 Annual Awards Announced

September 11, 2013

The Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster announced the recipients of three annual awards and a special lifetime achievement award at its annual meeting on Thursday, September 5th at the Rochester Museum & Science Center.



The RRPC Entrepreneurship Award was awarded to Michael Bechtold, CEO, Optipro, for demonstrating creativity, innovative spirit and drive in pursuit of the dream of creating an industry-leading company in the Optics, Photonics and Imaging Industry.  Bechtold began a machine-tool business in Ontario, Wayne County in in 1982.  He began working with the UR Center for Optics Manufacturing in 1990, designing and manufacturing specialized deterministic optics manufacturing machine tools and metrology equipment as the company grew.  Optipro now employs 65 people.  The company added 20,000 square feet to their building in 2011 and is embarking on another 10,000 sq. ft. expansion.



The RRPC Leadership Award was awarded to Paul Ballentine, Associate Director, Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences, University of Rochester for working with RRPC members and the community to promote the Rochester Region’s Optics, Photonics and Imaging Industry.  Ballentine moved back to Rochester from Austin, Texas in 2011 to take a leadership position at CEIS.  His efforts for the OPI community included leading the team that won the Rochester Regional Optics and Photonics Jobs Accelerator grant award in 2012, convening the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, High Technology of Rochester, Monroe Community College and RRPC in a multi-pronged effort to increase jobs in the region’s Optics and Photonics small and medium-size enterprises.


Van Kouwenberg and Battley

The RRPC Education Award was awarded to James Van Kouwenberg, Training Coordinator and Master Optician at Optimax Systems, for inspiring students to embrace Optics, Photonics, and Imaging sciences and guiding them in career development.  Van Kouwenberg, a graduate of the MCC Optical Systems Technology program has taken on numerous community optics and photonics education programs in addition to his in-house training responsibilities at Optimax Systems.  These include work with regional grammar schools, middle schools and high schools; work with the RRPC Optics Summer Sizzler held annually at Monroe Community College; and work with East High School’s Optics Manufacturing program.


Slaughter and Battley

The RRPC Optics & Photonics Award was awarded to Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Representative 25th District, NY for her long-standing support of Rochester’s Optics, Photonics and Imaging industry.  Slaughter recently secured $2 million in funding for a project including Exelis Rochester, University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) and QED Technologies.

Since 2004 Slaughter has been able to secure over $682 million in funding for the LLE, located on the University of Rochester campus.  Established in 1970 as a center for the investigation of the interaction of intense radiation with matter, LLE has a five-fold mission: (1) to conduct laser-fusion implosion experiments in support of the National Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) program; (2) to develop new laser and materials technologies; (3) to provide education in electro-optics, high-power lasers, high-energy-density physics, plasma physics, and nuclear fusion technology; (4) to conduct research and development in advanced technology related to high-energy-density physics; and (5) to operate the National Laser Users’ Facility (NLUF).

For more information contact Thomas Battley, RRPC Executive Director

Sixth International Symposium on Ultrafast Photonics Technologies

September 10, 2013

University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, October 21-22, 2013

ISUPT provides a forum for researchers working on ultrafast photonic technologies including ultrahigh-speed optical communication, optical metrology, lasers, bio-medical technology, and advanced measurement technologies.

The first ISUPT (originally named as “Europe-US-Japan Symposium on Ultrafast Photonics Technology”) was held at Makuhari in Japan in 2003, followed by the 2nd symposium at University of St. Andrews in 2005 hosted by Professors Wilson Sibbett and Alan Miller; the 3rd symposium at MIT in 2007 hosted by Prof. Erich P. Ippen; the 4th symposium at RIEC, Tohoku University in 2009 hosted by Prof. Masataka Nakazawa. The fifth ISUPT 2011 was hosted by Reinhold Ludwig, Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute. 

The 6th symposium, ISUPT 2013, consists of more than twenty invited presentations by eminent speakers from U.S., Europe, and Japan. The latest advances in ultrafast photonics will be presented, and future directions for research and development will be discussed among the leaders in the field.

Conference Website with speakers, poster, logistics here.