Archive for the ‘National Photonics Initiative’ category

DoD Industrial Base Analysis & Sustainment Official Visits Rochester

September 15, 2017

 On Friday, September 15th Adele Ratcliff, Director of Manufacturing Technology at the Department of Defense, along with Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-25) met with 14 different photonics and optics companies, trying to get a better idea of how they function as manufacturing organizations and the critical role they play in the DOD supply chain.

On Thursday, September 14th, Ratcliff toured New York Photonics companies, Optifab, Optipro and Lasermax with New York Photonics Executive Director, Tom Battley.
“I don’t think many people know, including people in this region, that this is the large, arguably the largest cluster of optic companies in the nation, in North America,” said Ratcliff. “The Department of Defense doesn’t really have a dedicated defense industrial base. We lean on companies that do both defense manufacturing and commercial manufacturing.”

Adele Ratcliff discussing precision optics manufacturing with Optipro CEO, Mike Bechtold

http://13wham.com/news/local/top-dod-official-visits-rochester-optic-companies

NPI volunteers meet with congressional offices to support investment in optics and photonics

May 5, 2017

L to R: Bryan DeBono, Synopsis; Ryan Ford, RIT; Ed White, AIM Photonics; Rick Plympton, Optimax; Tim Gibbs, RIT; Di Xu, UR; Liam Fitzsimmons, Louise Slaughter; Kenneth Kort, OSA Fellow, Louise Slaughter’s office

Nearly 50 volunteers participated in the NPI Congressional Visits Day by visiting about 80 offices of representatives and senators from nearly two dozen states.

Your New York team were among them!

L to R: Drew Wayne, Tom Reed; Tom Battley, New York Photonics; Congressman Tom Reed (NY23); Ryan Ford, RIT; Tim Gibbs, RIT

Source: NPI volunteers meet with congressional offices to support investment in photonics – Laser Focus World

Akoustis Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire 120,000 Sq. Ft. Wafer Manufacturing Facility in Canandaigua, NY

March 24, 2017

STC MEMS, former Infotonics Center, most recently a division of SUNY POLY

Akoustis Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKTS), a manufacturer of patented single-crystal BulkONE® bulk acoustic wave (BAW) high-band RF filters for mobile and other wireless applications, announced today it has entered into  binding, definitive agreements to acquire assets from the Research Foundation for the State University of New York (RF-SUNY) and Fuller Road Management Corporation (FRMC), an affiliate of RF-SUNY.  The assets being acquired include STC-MEMS, a semiconductor wafer manufacturing operation and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) business with associated wafer production tools, as well as real estate associated with the facility located in Canandaigua, New York, near Rochester.

Under the terms of the agreements, Akoustis will pay $2.75 million in cash at closing to RF-SUNY and FRMC, subject to certain adjustments and customary closing conditions.  The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of calendar year 2017. As part of the signed definitive agreements, Akoustis plans to acquire all of the following:

  • 120,000 sq. ft. commercial wafer manufacturing facility located in Canandaigua, NY, which includes Class 100/Class 1000 cleanroom space (“NY Facility”).
  • 57-acres of real property associated with the NY Facility.
  • 150-mm silicon MEMS wafer fab operations, including all semiconductor manufacturing tools.
  • Existing silicon-based MEMS business with annual revenues of approximately $3M from multiple customers, including a tier-1 mobile wireless solutions OEM.
  • Trusted Foundry accreditation for MEMS processing, packaging and assembly.
  • Two existing tenants with multi-year leases.

Dr. Art Geiss, Co-Chairman of Akoustis, said, “Akoustis will merge its patented BulkOne® BAW RF filter process into the STC-MEMS foundry, an operating silicon-wafer-based MEMs manufacturer.  Since there is significant overlap between the tools and processes used to produce our BAW devices and silicon-based MEMS, transferring our process into the STC-MEMS foundry will accelerate the technology into production.  In addition, we believe that some of the foundry processes used in silicon-based MEMS manufacturing may be utilized in new ways to make further performance improvements in Akoustis’ single-crystal BAW RF filters.”

Jerry Neal, Co-Chairman of Akoustis, added, “This acquisition is an enormous win for Akoustis and is consistent with our capital-efficient business model. A comparable manufacturing facility to build and qualify for production would take up to 2-years and cost well over $50 million, not to mention the challenges of recruiting and training qualified personnel.”

The transaction allows Akoustis to internalize manufacturing providing substantial capacity and control of its wafer supply chain for single crystal BAW RF filters. Akoustis plans to utilize the NY Facility to consolidate all aspects of wafer manufacturing for its disruptive and patented high-band RF filters targeting the multi-billion mobile and other wireless markets. This planned consolidation of the Company’s supply chain into the NY Facility is expected to shorten time-to-market for its RF products, greatly enhancing the Company’s ability to service customers. Shorter time-to-market cycles provide the Company the opportunity to increase the number of customer engagements.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “When combined with its skilled workforce, the Finger Lakes region’s burgeoning R&D and advanced manufacturing industry cluster create the perfect environment for innovative companies like Akoustis to grow and thrive. The addition of new research and manufacturing jobs in Canandaigua will diversify and strengthen the local economy and help to ensure the region continues moving in the right direction.”

Jeff Shealy, CEO of Akoustis, commented, “We look forward to welcoming the dedicated professionals at STC-MEMS into the Akoustis family, and thank Governor Cuomo and his entire organization for their tireless efforts attracting Akoustis to New York State.”

Akoustis plans to maintain the existing customer engagements which are transferred as part of the transaction.  The Company plans to maintain the existing Trusted Foundry accreditation for MEMS processing, packaging and module assembly and will seek to expand the accreditation for the NY facility to include BAW RF filters and sensors.

Concern regarding the Department of Defense Trusted Foundry in Canandaigua ran high in Rochester’s Optics, Photonics and Imaging Community since last year’s indictment of SUNY POLY, New York State, and construction officials by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for bid-rigging.  This is a very welcome announcement.

Left to right: Dr. Jerry D. Neal, co-chairman, Akoustis; Mary Winters, Director of Business Development, STC MEMS; Jeff Shealy, CEO and Founder, Akoustis; Paul Tolley, VP for Disruptive Technologies, STC MEMS; Art Geiss, co-chairman, Akoustis

Photonics MEMS Are Already Made In Rochester!

November 24, 2016

Just down the road, twenty minutes from Rochester.

Off Route 332 half way between the New York State Thruway and Canandaigua.

A Department of Defense Trusted Foundry Specializing in Packaging Photonics Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) on a chip.

What makes this interesting?  Well, for one thing: packaging, and we aren’t talking about wrapping a birthday present or your shipping an receiving department, we are talking about the delicate and miraculous task of putting a silicon semiconductor chip into a metal, glass or ceramic package with the electronic and/or photonics connections that will make it a functional, usable device in something like your computer, your mobile devices, your GPS or your car.

The talent set for packaging MEMS devices will be very similar to packaging integrated photonics devices.

We’re talking about the Smart Systems Technology Center, what once was Infotonics, which emerged as a stand-alone, self-supporting MEMS fabrication and packaging facility after its initial supporters, Kodak, Corning and Xerox all abandoned ship.  What was once a center staring into the abyss was restructured, reorganized and firmly established under the guidance of a reconstituted board of directors.

Who accomplished this amazing collaborative feat?  The chairman of the board at the time was John Hart, CEO of Lumetrics, in Rochester.  Hart, the token “small company representative from the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster” took the helm in 2008, hiring interim CEO John Bellardini (J.C. Jones, currently CFO Chobani) and guiding the center’s recovery from financial mismanagement and plain old shortsightedness to hiring a new (and current) director, Paul Tolley and becoming a profitable enterprise.

During the next two years the center navigated the perilous straights of reorganization — while finding and servicing new customers, and re-establishing the trust of State and Federal Government officials, most notably perhaps, Senator Chuck Schumer, who had every reason to feel betrayed by the way the Infotonics Center, as it was initially called, had failed to live up to its promise – and his support.

When The Infotonics Center merged with SUNY POLYTECH in 2011 it was a self-sufficient, profitable MEMS production center that soon earned Department of Defense “Trusted Foundry” status with the support once again of US Senator Chuck Schumer.

What does the future hold for this jewel in Canandaigua, just outside of Rochester, and a crucial component of the region’s OPI ecosystem?  Once can only hope that they continue working with commercial customers and continue innovating for years to come.

It would be a travesty if this center were to be accidentally tarnished by the events surrounding SUNY Polytech’s 2016 bid-rigging scandal.

National Photonics Initiative and NYPhotonics On The Hill For Congressional Visits

April 15, 2016

This week we were in DC for Congressional Visits Day and STEM on The Hill, combining forces with our colleagues at OSA and SPIE and ASTRA to educate and inform our delegation about the importance of Optics, Photonics and Imaging to our national security and to the economy.  Our work impacts American lives in so many areas: health care, defense, security and consumer products just to name a few, that it is important to identify, emphasize and support legislation that is important to our membership.

The Optical Society of America (OSA) and International Society For Photonics (SPIE) have really stepped up their lobbying game with the National Photonics Initiative, and their hard work makes our work on The Hill so much easier.

Acknowledgement is due to OSA President, Elizabeth Rogan and SPIE President, Eugene Arthurs for their leadership, and to OSA staff Laura Kolton and Brandy Dillingham and SPIE staff Krisinda Plenkovich and Jennifer Dsouris.  Without their hard work and leadership the NPI would not exist and there would have been no Photonics NMI opportunity that resulted in AIM Photonics, focused upon the development of integrated photonics.  This is important to keep in mind with so many people taking bows.  If you see any of these folks at events and conferences around the world, thank them for their good work.

This week we were fortunate to be joined by two PhD candidates, Jacob Wirth from RIT and Fabrizio Bucccheri, from UR, whose concise descriptions of their work, its relevance to national security, and the importance of U.S. investment in fundamental research that made it possible brought home our R&D message when talking to Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Congressman Christopher Smith, Senator Robert Menendez, Senator Corey Booker, Senator Kristen Gillibrand and Senator Chuck Schumer.

Fabrizio’s and Jacob’s participation in this week’s events were made possible by student travel grants from OSA.  What a great opportunity for these students.  An interesting note: Jacob’s research colleague at Naval Research Labs was a prior student participant in Congressional Visits Day.

For a look at this week’s talking points during our congressional visits, click here: 2016 NPI Talking Points

 

In Rochester Congresswoman Louise Slaughter's office. Left to right: AIM Photonics Executive, Ed White; Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY25); UR PhD candidate, Fabrizio Buccheri; RIT PhD candidate, Jacob Wirth; New York Photonics Executive Director, Tom Battley

In Rochester Congresswoman Louise Slaughter’s office. Left to right: AIM Photonics Executive, Ed White; Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY25); UR PhD candidate, Fabrizio Buccheri; RIT PhD candidate, Jacob Wirth; New York Photonics Executive Director, Tom Battley

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In Senator Chuck Schumer’s office, Left to right: New York Photonics Executive Director, Tom Battley; University of Rochester PhD candidate, Fabrizio Buccheri; US Senator, Chuck Schumer (New York); RIT PhD candidate, Jacob Wirth; AIM Photonics Executive, Ed White; retired Corning researcher, Richard Vodhanel PhD.

SUNY POLY Chief Scientist will Speak at Rochester IEEE Meeting

October 15, 2015

October 27th  at 6:30pm

Dr. Michael Liehr, CEO of AIM Photonics will be giving a IEEE Rochester Photonics Society talk at RIT.  

The title of the talk is “AIM Photonics: What merging photonics with nanoelectronics will do”.

Liehr was an invited speaker for the New York Photonics Annual Meeting, but was unable to attend.   This is a good opportunity to hear from Liehr and his vision of Integrated Photonics.

>More information and registration details here.<<

What we might expect:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcrcI2Yh1os

Photonics: What? Why? How? Rochester is freaking out for photonics. But what is it?

October 1, 2015

Rochester is undeniably excited about photonics, even if much of the community doesn’t know what it is.

But there’s good reason for the buzz, since Rochester will be the heart of a national initiative to build an integrated photonics industry from the ground up. The Department of Defense is keen on integrated photonics, which basically weds ultra-high-tech optical systems with high-tech electronics. It’s putting approximately $115 million into the initiative, known as the American Institute for Manufacturing Photonics.

The DOD solicited proposals from across the country, and a contingent led by SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany, University of Rochester, and Rochester Institute of Technology submitted the winning application. The pitch included an additional $250-million investment from New York State; a $250-million investment from the photonics industry, research universities, and other states; and a headquarters in Rochester — a region with a long, pioneering history in photonics’ twin field of optics.

>>Read More Here<<