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Optical Design & Engineering

Grant for advanced manufacturing program to fund national roadmap for photonics

SPIE Newsroom

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST,) through its Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia Program (AMTech), has awarded $500,000 to the University of Rochester's Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences (CEIS) to lead development of a national roadmap for photonics.

With the award, CEIS will work with SPIE and other partners in the photonics industry, including the National Photonics Initiative (NPI) to forecast the introduction of new technologies and identify manufacturing challenges that, if solved, can strengthen the competitiveness of domestic photonics companies and expand photonics manufacturing to the United States.

"The National Academies' report, ‘Optics and Photonics, Essential Technologies for our Nation,' lamented the abysmal state of data on optics and photonics jobs and investment in the U.S.," said SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs. "Roadmapping should help address this deficit and illuminate the enormous potential the field holds for world-changing innovation and jobs.

"The nation had sown seeds with R&D for decades. Let's plan how best to harvest."

Photonics is one area of advanced manufacturing the AMTech program will support. AMTech was designed to address the gap between research and development activities and the deployment of technological innovations in the domestic production of goods.

This gap is economically damaging and has been highlighted by the National Science and Technology Council, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and other bodies, CEIS noted in its announcement of the grant.

The U.S. has been the world leader in developing photonics technologies, which include fiber optics, lasers, digital imaging, and flat panel displays. However, the U.S. share of photonics manufacturing has dropped to less than 10% of photonics components sold worldwide. The roadmap will identify key priorities and lay out a plan for addressing this.

As lead of the AMTech photonics manufacturing initiative, CEIS is establishing committees that will include members of the optics, photonics and imaging community. SPIE Industry and Market Analyst Steve Anderson is among those who will serve on the advisory board.

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