The Obama Administration is expected to announce in June whether groups in Florida, California, or New York will get funding to create the first Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation (IP-IMI) in the US.
The IP-IMI is the largest of several proposed manufacturing institutes that will develop high-tech jobs and advance the state of the art in the design, manufacture, testing, assembly, and packaging of complex photonic integrated circuits that combine a variety of photonics and electronic components.
SPIE and other photonics community leaders supporting the National Photonics Initiative (NPI) in the US commended the three consortia led by University of Central Florida (UCF), University of Southern California (USC), and the Research Foundation for the State University of New York for being selected as finalists for the IP-IMI.
The NPI, a collaborative alliance seeking to raise awareness of photonics and increase US funding and investment in key photonics-driven fields, is not endorsing a specific proposal but commits full support to the ultimate selection.
The US Department of Defense plans to invest $110 million over a five-year period for the new institute. Another $110 million must be matched from the private sector and state and local governments.
“The decision to help fund a new IP-IMI underlines the critical importance of light-based technologies in the modern world,” said SPIE President-Elect Robert Lieberman of Lumoptix (USA). “This will establish a center of excellence where engineers and scientists from academia, industry, and federal labs can develop the optical chip technologies that will drive the photonics revolution of the 21st century.”
The finalist team led by UCF proposes a Photonics Research Institute for Sustainable Manufacturing (PRISM) that would be mostly housed at the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, being built near Kissimmee. Team members include more than 55 industry partners and five universities: UCF, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Alabama-Huntsville, Clemson University, and University of Illinois.
USC is the lead for the second finalist group that has support from institutes across California, plus Arizona State University in Tempe, University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and Ohio State University in Columbus. If selected, it will be known as the Integrated Photonics Institute and Center for Design and Manufacturing Services.
The Research Foundation for the State University of New York (SUNY), the third finalist, submitted a bid for the IP-IMI on behalf of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Arizona, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other academic and industry partners and stakeholders from California, New York, and Massachusetts.