Optics, Photonics & Imaging
From the Mars Rover to the James Webb Space Telescope, viewing new worlds is possible thanks to scientists in Rochester, NY, the world leader in optics, photonics and imaging. This region's imaging history is unparalleled as the birthplace of Eastman Kodak Company, Xerox Corporation, and Bausch + Lomb. Today, Rochester is home to more than 120 leading businesses focused on optics, photonics, and imaging -- forward-looking companies that capitalize on our area's educated workforce and industry expertise. Approximately 17,000 people are employed in Rochester in the optics industry. In fact, roughly 60 percent of all optics degrees conferred in the US are conferred right here in Rochester. In addition, Monroe Community College is the only U.S. community college that offers an associate degree in optical systems technology.
With an economic output of more than $3.5 billion annually, our region is the most robust, sophisticated and highly integrated optics, photonics and imaging supply chain in the nation. Rochester's optics industry is diverse, including remote-sensing companies such as L3Harris, sophisticated supply-chain firms such as Corning Tropel, JML Optical, Rochester Precision Optics, IDEX Health and Science, and smaller ventures such as Lumetrics, and Logical Images. We're a research and manufacturing hub supported by the University of Rochester's Institute of Optics, the Laboratory for Laser Energetics and Rochester's Institute of Technology's Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science and Lobozzo Photonics and Optical Characterization Lab. It's no surprise that the region also generates a vast number of the nation's patents in optics, photonics and imaging technologies.
World-class talent at competitive rates below the national average.
Rochester Annual Mean Wage
|National Annual Mean Wage
|Mechanical Engineering Technicians
|Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians
|Medical Equipment Repairers
|Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians
|Life, Physical, and Social Science Technicians, All Other
|Medical Equipment Preparers
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
Notable Local Companies
||Nature of Local Operations
||Document systems, software, services and supplies
||Graphic communications, digital printing, packaging, micro 3-D printing and packaging
||Midsize to large precision optics and optical systems including mirrors, mounted optical assemblies and metering structures
|Bausch + Lomb Inc.
|Optimax Systems Inc.
||Optical components including aspheres, cylinders, prisms and spheres for ultraviolet, visible and infrared application
||Oblique and orthogonal aerial imagery, data analytics and GIS solutions
|Rochester Precision Optics LLC
||Optical lenses, lens assemblies, and sub-assemblies; machined parts, optical thin films
||Medical and healthcare IT solutions and X-ray film and digital X-ray products
|Quality Vision International Inc.
||Designs and builds dimensional measuring machines combining optical imaging, laser, and contact sensors
Research & Development Resources:
The American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics), headquartered in Rochester, New York, brings the nation’s leading talent from companies, universities, and federal research institutions together under one entity to develop the next generation of integrated photonics and deliver global manufacturing leadership.
Luminate NY is the world’s largest business accelerator for startup firms in the optics, photonics and imaging industries. This program, administered by NextCorps, provides resources for entrepreneurs interested in solving challenging optics, photonics and imaging problems, including but not limited to: machine vision, inspection, biophotonics, security, surveillance, augmented and virtual reality, and autonomous vehicles.
The Center for Emerging & Innovative Sciences The Center for Emerging & Innovative Sciences (CEIS) is a New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR) designated center for advanced technology. The Center develops and transfers technology to industry for commercialization and educates the next generation of leaders in the fields of imaging and microelectronics design.
The University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics The University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics hosts two of the highest energy lasers in the world, Omega and Omega EP. Researchers from universities and agencies come from around the world to use this facility for research.
New York Photonics Industry Association Responsible for world-changing technologies like television, instant copying, fiber optics, and consumer photography, New York businesses and research centers are now developing—and exporting around the world—breakthrough applications for adaptive optics, high-speed communications, geospatial imaging, photonic computing, nanolithography, and biomedical imaging. New York Photonics provides problem-solving expertise with a collaborative ethic that maintains rigorous standards and understands the importance of speed to market for optics, photonics and imaging companies.View a map of the numerous photonics companies and resources throughout our region.
Did You Know?
Brookings Institute ranks Rochester Among Top Metros for Patents
Greater Rochester ranks 13th among metropolitan regions for the number of patents issued per million residents, with the largest subcategory of patents granted for optics research.
According to Brookings Institute report, "San Francisco, Boston, Austin, Seattle, San Diego, Portland, Rochester and Minneapolis are in the upper tier of large metros that produce patents at high volumes and rates."
(source: Brookings' 2013 report "Patenting Prosperity: Invention and Economic Performance in the United States and its Metropolitan Areas")
University of Rochester scientist lead the team that rescued Hubble Space Telescope from ruin. Twenty-five years later Hubble continues to provide images that influence how we view and imagine space.
The spectacular images the Mars Rover sent back to Earth were taken through lenses made at Optimax Systems, a company based here in the Rochester, NY area.
→ View case studies