If we can remotely probe the structure and nature of an object, we can make an image
of it and use that image to develop human comprehension.
Program on high-resolution imaging project discussed
Colin Axel gave a visual demonstration of the capabilities of computerized technology to analyze high resolution digital photographs of areas impacted by a natural disaster. The results are then provided to emergency responders.
May. 7, 2015
Speaker Colin Axel gives his presentation on the high resolution imaging project. Club President-Elect John Summers is in the foreground. Submitted by Dave Luitweiler.
Colin Axel, a 2010 graduate of Victor High School and Rochester Institute of Technology and currently in his third year of a Ph.D program at RIT, presented a program to the Victor-Farmington Rotary Club on April 22 concerning the topic of high resolution imaging.
Axel’s presentation — “Automated Natural Disaster Analysis Using Remote Sensing” — concerned a project he is working on at RIT involving the use of digital imaging to assist those responsible for responding to natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, etc. The project is being funded by the World Bank and involves the U.S. Department of Transportation.
RIT is working on one facet of the project while Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is working in a coordinated fashion with another aspect of the work.
Using a computerized slide program, Axel gave a visual demonstration of the capabilities of computerized technology to analyze high resolution digital photographs of areas impacted by a natural disaster. The results are then provided to emergency responders.Colin and the RIT team used digital images taken from an aerial platform of the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti as part of their research in developing their program. Using advanced technology, researchers can use the 3-D images in a myriad of ways to determine damage to buildings, the depth of flood waters, damage to infrastructures, the volume of debris, the status or location of usable roads, etc. This information can be provided quickly to those responding to the disaster, usually in days rather than weeks.
Axel outlined three items that are most important to those responsible at the site of the disaster: where do people need the most help, how many people are impacted and what roads are accessible for responding to the problem. The use of digital image technology can supply answers.
(Click link below to read the rest of this story, which regards club matters and is unrelated to Colin's talk.)
Join your fellow alumni and favorite faculty at the 9th Annual Greater D.C. Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (CIS) Reunion. Our department members coming to see you are:
Dr. Dave Messinger, Director of the Center for Imaging Science
Joe Pow, Associate Director of the Center for Imaging Science
Dr. Jie Qiao, Associate Professor
Bethany Choate '06, Senior Associate for Outreach and Communications
Nathan Dileas, First-year BS student
Makayla Roof, First-year BS student
Listen to RIT’s exciting developments in CIS and what the future holds for current RIT students and alumni. Share your accomplishments with us and reminisce with your colleagues on the beautiful Vinifera Bistro patio. Heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be served. Guest fee is just $10 and space is limited so register today!
First year CIS graduate student co-author on a Nature magazine cover article
Astronomy and Space Science
Emily Berkson is co-author on article titled "Curtain eruptions from Enceladus’ south-polar terrain"
May. 8, 2015
About the cover: Simulated uniform curtain eruptions overlain on Cassini image N1637461416 adapted to make the erupted material visible. Images taken by the Cassini probe have revealed large fractures bounded by rifts towards the south pole of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. These features, popularly known as ‘tiger stripes’, reach higher temperatures than their surroundings and are thought to be the sources of observed jets of water vapour and icy particles. Joseph Spitale et al. compare Cassini images with simulated curtains of material erupting from Enceladus’ south-polar terrain to produce detailed maps of the emissions at various times. Much of the eruptive activity can be explained by broad, curtain-like eruptions, many of which were probably misinterpreted previously as discrete jets. Phantom jets in the synthesized curtains correspond closely to regions of enhanced brightness in the Cassini images. Cover: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/Planetary Science Institute.
Publication abstract: Observations of the south pole of the Saturnian moon Enceladus revealed large rifts in the south-polar terrain, informally called ‘tiger stripes’, named Alexandria, Baghdad, Cairo and Damascus Sulci. These fractures have been shown to be the sources of the observed jets of water vapour and icy particles1, 2, 3, 4 and to exhibit higher temperatures than the surrounding terrain5, 6. Subsequent observations have focused on obtaining close-up imaging of this region to better characterize these emissions. Recent work7 examined those newer data sets and used triangulation of discrete jets3 to produce maps of jetting activity at various times. Here we show that much of the eruptive activity can be explained by broad, curtain-like eruptions. Optical illusions in the curtain eruptions resulting from a combination of viewing direction and local fracture geometry produce image features that were probably misinterpreted previously as discrete jets. We present maps of the total emission along the fractures, rather than just the jet-like component, for five times during an approximately one-year period in 2009 and 2010. An accurate picture of the style, timing and spatial distribution of the south-polar eruptions is crucial to evaluating theories for the mechanism controlling the eruptions.
Curtain eruptions from Enceladus’ south-polar terrain
Imaging Science student one of four RIT students to win prestigious Goldwater Scholarships
Cultural Artifact and Document Imaging
Students from College of Science and Kate Gleason College of Engineering recognized
May. 4, 2015
Four undergraduate students at Rochester Institute of Technology have won awards from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program.
Elizabeth Bondi, Selene Chew, Tyler Godat and Emily Holz will each receive $7,500 for the 2015–2016 academic year. They were among the 260 award winners chosen from 1,206 nominees.
The Goldwater Scholarship is based on academic merit and regarded as one of the most prestigious undergraduate honors. It is awarded to students committed to pursuing careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering.
Bondi, from Dansville, N.Y., is a third-year student in imaging science at RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science and a member of the RIT Honors Program. She works with Roger Easton, professor in RIT’s Center for Imaging Science, to recover erased and overwritten text in historical documents using image-processing techniques.
She automated a processing technique that was applied to the Codex Vercellensis, one of the earliest manuscript translations of the Gospels from Greek to Latin from the 4th century C.E. Bondi is currently working on the 15th century Martellus World Map. She has twice presented her research at the RIT Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Bondi also completed a co-op at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She worked on the team that will determine a landing site for the Mars 2020 rover.
In addition to the RIT Honors Program, Bondi is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, the Imaging Science Club and the Optical Society of America Student Chapter.
Bondi plans to pursue a Ph.D. in imaging science or computer vision, with the goal of conducting research in computer vision and teaching at the university level.
Chew, a resident of Ithaca, N.Y., is a third-year student in the computational mathematics program in RIT’s School of Mathematical Sciences, a member of the RIT Honors Program and a board member of PiRIT, the RIT Association of Student Mathematicians and Statisticians. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in applied mathematics and to work on computer vision research questions in industry.
Chew and her mentor, Nathan Cahill, professor in the RIT School of Mathematical Sciences, explore techniques for improving algorithms that cluster similar points and classify regions of hyperspectral imagery. She received an RIT Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship last year and presented at the university’s annual Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Last June, Chew presented a poster with Cahill at her first international conference, the IEEE Workshop on Hyperspectral Image and Signal Processing: Evolution in Remote Sensing, or WHISPERS, in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Chew has spent her spring semester abroad through the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics in Budapest, Hungary. She studied number theory, abstract algebra, and hypergraph theory/combinatorics, as well as the Hungarian language and Hungarian math education.
Godat, from Greensboro, N.C., is a third-year student and double major in physics and applied mathematics in RIT’s College of Science. For nearly three years, Godat has explored theoretical research in the field of cavity optomechanics with his mentors, Mishkat Bhattacharya, assistant professor in RIT’s School of Physics and Astronomy, and postdoctoral researcher Brandon Rodenberg.
Godat is a member of RIT UNICEF and the Society of Physics Students at RIT. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in physics.
Holz, a resident of Cottage Grove, Minn., is a fourth-year student in the biomedical engineering program in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering. She has enjoyed a variety of undergraduate research experiences through RIT’s co-op program. She worked with Kara Maki, assistant professor in RIT’s School of Mathematical Sciences, modeling the settling dynamics of a contact lens on the eye, a topic of interest to Bausch & Lomb.
Following her research on contact lenses with Maki, Holz spent two summers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Her research focused on finding less expensive methods to fabricate multispectral MRI contrast agents developed by her research group. While on another co-op at LSI Solutions, Holz worked on laparoscopic cardiac surgical devices.
She is currently on co-op at Genentech in San Francisco. Holz works with members of the department of early stage pharmaceutical development on novel methods to stabilize antibodies in formulations
When not on co-op, she is secretary for the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society and climbs for the RIT rock climbing team.
Holz hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in targeted drug delivery.
Distinguished physicist talks about imaging detectors and cell phones at RIT May 6
SPIE/OSA Student Chapter
Talk is free and open to the public
Apr. 27, 2015
Tiny cameras in cell phones don’t work by magic. The pursuit of ever-smaller cameras requires scaled-down optical systems that can affect image quality.
Distinguished physicist Christopher Dainty will visit Rochester Institute of Technology for a talk about ideal imaging detectors and limitations of imaging systems in cell phones.
Dainty, professor at University College London Institute of Ophthalmology, will present “Imaging Science and Cell-Phone Cameras” at 6 p.m. on May 6 in the Carlson Auditorium in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science. The talk is free and open to the public.
“Every optics student knows that bigger optical systems have the potential to form higher resolution and higher signal-to-noise images, yet market pressures drive cell phone cameras to be smaller and smaller,” Dainty said. “I shall discuss some of the fundamental limits of imaging systems that affect image quality in small cameras.”
Dainty is a fellow and past president of the Optical Society of America, SPIE (an international professional society for optics and photonics technology), the Institute of Physics and the European Optical Society. His research explores optical imaging, scattering and propagation, especially related to imaging and metrology and the eye.
The RIT SPIE/OSA Student Chapter is sponsoring the lecture.
Three RIT students win Fulbright scholarships; students will travel overseas for one year through prestigious exchange program
Apr. 27, 2015
Three RIT students have won Fulbright scholarships for the 2015-2016 academic year. The winners will be formally announced during a special reception today.
Established in 1946, the Fulbright Scholar Program administers highly competitive grants to foster international exchanges in education.
“Over the past five years, RIT’s had two Fulbright winners, so to have three at once is quite the achievement,” said Jenny Sullivan, assistant director of RIT’s Study Abroad and Fellowships office.
The Office of the Provost is hosting A Celebration of Study and Work Abroad from 3 to 5 p.m. today (April 27) in the University Gallery to formally announce the Fulbright scholarship winners.
Rose Rustowicz, an imaging science undergraduate student from Amherst, N.Y., will travel to Iceland to work with a research team from the University of Iceland to conduct remote sensing at the Hekla volcano in order to create a multidisciplinary assessment of the landscape which will allow them to map and monitor hazardous and vulnerable areas.
Kaylin Beiter, a biomedical sciences undergraduate student and Rochester native, will travel to Senegal to work with Dr. Coumba Toure Kane at Dantec Hospital in Dakar to study how HIV medication adherence struggles and drug resistance are leading to a growing degree of HIV viral diversity.
History Estill-Varner, an ASL-English interpreting and global studies double major undergraduate student from Independence, Mo., will travel to the Dominican Republic to collaborate with the country’s National Association of the Deaf and the National Interpreting Association to build a sustainable Interpreter Training Program and assessment model to ensure that interpreters of Dominican Sign Language, LESDOM, are consistent and proficient, thus ensuring quality support services for deaf Dominicans.
Yasmeen Smalley ’13 (biomedical photographic communications) was named as an alternate in the event that one of the other students declines or is unable to make their international journey. If selected, the Houston native will visit the Philippines to work with Al Licuanan and other researchers from De La Salle University to develop a photo-documentary featuring their research on environmental factors that have led to mass destruction of biodiversity in the coastal waters of the Philippines.
“We had 16 applicants this round and each of them was exceptionally qualified and great potential ambassadors for RIT,” said Sullivan. “I’m especially proud of our awardees. They are multi-talented leaders focused on using their skills and talents to improve the world.”
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest exchange program in the country and provides funds for American students to live in another country for one year to teach English, conduct research or earn a graduate degree. Similarly, 40 international students from 25 countries attended RIT this year through the Fulbright Foreign Student Program.
RIT honors 2014-15 Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars
39th year for this celebration of students with high academic and community achievements
Apr. 17, 2015
A. Sue Weisler
The 2014-2015 Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars were celebrated with a reception and awards ceremony April 16. Imaging Science student Elizabeth Bondi can be seen in the front row, third from left.
Rochester Institute of Technology honored 104 students whose academic and personal achievements have made them this year’s Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars.
The awards, a bronze medallion, were given in ceremonies on Thursday evening to those students who have met the scholarship criteria—a minimum grade-point average of 3.85 out of 4.0; completion of more than two-thirds of the credit hours required for a bachelor’s degree; and demonstrated community engagement, such as creative work, serve on student committees, civic activities, employment or independent research.
“RIT is pleased to pay tribute to these undergraduates whose demonstrated devotion to excellence is an inspiration to the university community,” said Jeremy Haefner, RIT provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs, who presented the scholars to President Bill Destler and RIT deans at the ceremony in Gordon Field House.
Recipients include third-year Imaging Science student Elizabeth Bondi.
The 2014-15 Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars are:
From the College of Applied Sciences and Technology :
George Dederich, of Syracuse, N.Y.
Erin Downs , of Kennedy Township, Pa.
Cody Farr, of Holland Patent, N.Y.
Nicholas Flumerfeldt, of Corfu, N.Y.
Timothy Halsch, of West Hills, Calif.
Shaun Henry, of Willow Grove, Pa.
Michael Hund, of East Stroudsberg, Pa.
Jason Jenkins, of Catskill, N.Y.
Elizabeth Knight, of Baldwinsville, N.Y.
James Lee, of Jackson, N.J.
Nicole Seymour, of Madera, Calif.
Gabrielle Villar, of Boston, N.Y.
Kayla Weiss, of Middlebury, Vt.
From Saunders College of Business :
Alexandra Binnington , of Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Mihaela Cališ , of Djakovo, Croatia
Tomislav Cvetko, of Zagreb, Croatia
Kathryn Davis, of Palmer, Mass.
Michael Hayes, of Hamburg, N.Y.
Naixin (Chris) Kang, of Shenzhen, China
Xiaoyi Lei , of China
Miguel Lopez , of Puerto Rico
Goran Pekica, of Zagreb, Croatia
Shayla Sanders, of Rochester, N.Y.
Lori Sze, of Clifton Park, N.Y.
From the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences :
Andrew DiStasi , of Grove City, Pa.
Bryan Harmat, of Worcester, Mass.
Melody Kelly, of Tamaqua, Pa.
Brett Morris, of Farmington, Conn.
Kyle Murbach, of Wheaton, Ill.
Kenneth Reuter, of Spencer, N.Y.
Wesley Rockholz, of Brookfield, Conn.
Michael Salsone , of Rockville Centre, N.Y.
Darren Urmey, of Gibbstown, N.J.
Christopher Wong, of Clifton Park, N.Y.
From Kate Gleason College of Engineering:
Jackson Anderson, of Churchville, N.Y.
Craig Bishop , of Tribes Hill, N.Y.
Anqi (Angel) Chen , of Xi’an, Shaanxi, China
Amanda Cook, of Royal Palm Beach, Fla.
Paul Curtin , of Londonderry, N.H.
Caitlin Donovan, Whitesboro, N.Y.
Nicholas Fewell, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Seth Gottlieb, of Bethesda, Md.
Andrew Greeley, of Gerry, N.Y.
Brenden Hoff, of Plymouth, N.H.
Gebalanage (Shehan) Jayasekera, of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Lindsay Johnson , of Oswego, N.Y.
Kathryn King, of Orchard Park, N.Y.
Carolyn Krasniak, of Owego, N.Y.
Jonathan Lunt, of Hanover, N.H.
Alicia Piscitelli, of Lansdale, Pa.
Mallory Rauch, of Palermo, Maine
Christopher Schwab, of Holliston, Mass.
Morgan Stoessel , of Rochester, N.Y.
James Thesing, of Moorhead, Minn.
Jeremy Van Horn , of Richmond, Vt.
Amy Zeller, of Marion, N.Y.
From the College of Health Sciences and Technology
Trinity Barnosky, of Rochester, N.Y.
Kyle Burke, of Chelmsford, Mass.
Talia McKay, of Windham, Maine
Patrick McMullan, of Easton, Pa.
Natalie Snyder, of Rockville, Md.
From the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences
Sylvie Alusitz, of Yorktown, N.Y.
Emily Barresi, of Greenwich, Conn.
Brittany Bateman, of Virginia Beach, Va.
Avanell Brock, of North Kingstown, R.I.
Samantha Chalut, of Fenton, Mich.
Olivia Cookfair, of Brookfield, Conn.
Philip Czapla, of East Aurora, N.Y.
Emily DeVault, of Fairmont, W.Va.
Sarah Ann Jump, of Easton, Md.
Alexa Martinez, of Wall, N.J.
Jamie Martinez, of Wall, N.J.
Britta Moberg, of Greenfield Center, N.Y.
Liah Perez Mercado, of Dominican Republic
Elizabeth Pieri, of Syracuse, N.Y.
Jessica Schnall, of Webster, N.Y.
Danielle Smith, of Burke, Va.
Matthew Tidridge, of Milford, Pa.
Hayden Wagner, of Lodi, N.Y.
From the College of Liberal Arts
Lucas Dorsey, of Cazenovia, N.Y.
Brandon Dziedzic, of Buffalo, N.Y.
Alyssa Jackson, of Naples, N.Y.
Tianna Mañón, of Rochester, N.Y.
Courtney Ullger, of Lake Grove, N.Y.
From the Center for Multidisciplinary Studies
Linda Cunningham, of Rush, N.Y.
Blendrit Elezaj , of Pristina, Kosovo
Margarita Gjocaj, of Istog, Kosovo
Edison Jakurti , of Pristina, Kosovo
Nathan Scott, of Colonie, N.Y.
Morgan Scoyne, of Drombo, Ontario, Canada
Linda Shuku, of Pristina, Kosovo
Kushtrim Spahiu, of Pristina, Kosovo
Dina Vllasaliu, of Pristina, Kosovo
From the National Technical Institute for the Deaf
NASA Astronaut Donald Pettit toured RIT to learn more about the university’s capabilities in photography, imaging science and science. He presented "Astronauts' Guide to Photography," which highlighted his 370 days in space, and how science and art grow by being active at a new frontier.
Original Source: University News
Glitter Cloud May Serve as Space Mirror
Astronomy and Space Science
Apr. 15, 2015
This image shows white light reflected off of a glitter mirror onto a camera sensor. Researchers tested this in a laboratory as part of the concept of "Orbiting Rainbows," a low-cost solution for space telescope mirrors. Credit: G. Swartzlander/Rochester Institute of Technology › Larger image
What does glitter have to do with finding stars and planets outside our solar system? Space telescopes may one day make use of glitter-like materials to help take images of new worlds, according to researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Standard telescopes use solid mirrors to image far-away objects. But the large, complex mirrors needed for astronomy can be quite expensive and difficult to construct. Their size and weight also add to the challenges of launching a space telescope in the first place.
A concept called Orbiting Rainbows seeks to address these issues. Researchers propose using clouds of reflective glitter-like particles in place of mirrors to enable a telescope to view stars and exoplanets. The technology would enable high-resolution imaging at a fraction of the cost.
"It's a floating cloud that acts as a mirror," said Marco Quadrelli from JPL, the Orbiting Rainbows principal investigator. "There is no backing structure, no steel around it, no hinges; just a cloud."
In the proposed Orbiting Rainbows system, the small cloud of glitter-like grains would be trapped and manipulated with multiple laser beams. The trapping happens because of pressure from the laser light -- specifically, the momentum of photons translates into two forces: one that pushes particles away, and another that pushes the particles toward the axis of the light beam. The pressure of the laser light coming from different directions shapes the cloud and pushes the small grains to align in the same direction. In a space telescope, the tenuous cloud would be formed by millions of grains, each possibly as small as fractions of a millimeter in diameter.
Such a telescope would have a wide adjustable aperture, the space through which light passes during an optical or photographic measurement; in fact, it might lead to possibly larger apertures than those of existing space telescopes.
It would also be much simpler to package, transport and deploy, than a conventional space telescope.
"You deploy the cloud, trap it and shape it," Quadrelli said.
Nature is full of structures that have light-scattering and focusing properties, such as rainbows, optical phenomena in clouds, or comet tails. Observations of these phenomena, and recent laboratory successes in optical trapping and manipulation have contributed to the Orbiting Rainbows concept. The original idea for a telescope based on a laser-trapped mirror was proposed in a 1979 paper by astronomer Antoine Labeyrie at the College de France in Paris.
Now, the Orbiting Rainbows team is trying to identify ways to manipulate and maintain the shape of an orbiting cloud of dust-like matter using laser pressure so it can function as an adaptive surface with useful electromagnetic characteristics, for instance, in the optical or radar bands.
Because a cloud of glitter specks is not a smooth surface, the image produced from those specks in a telescope will be noisier -- with more speckled distortion -- than what a regular mirror would generate. That's why researchers are developing algorithms to take multiple images and computationally remove the speckle effect from the glitter.
To test the idea, co-investigator Grover Swartzlander, an associate professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, and his students spread glitter on a concave lens in the laboratory. His team used lasers to represent the light from a double star system. They pointed the speckled mirror at the simulated stars, then used a camera to take pictures. With many exposures and lots of processing, an image of the two "stars" emerged using the glitter mirror.
Researchers made a mirror surface out of glitter to test the idea of using a cloud of reflective particles as a space telescope mirror. They took images of two light sources using this mirror in a laboratory at Rochester Institute of Technology. Credit: G. Swartzlander/Rochester Institute of Technology › Larger image
"This is a major achievement," Quadrelli said. "This demonstrates a highly controlled experiment in which we were able to do imaging in the visible light spectrum."
The technology could be used more easily for radio-band signals. Because the wavelength is so much longer (about one centimeter, compared to nanometers in visible light), the mirror grains don't have to be as precisely controlled or aligned. This opens up Earth science applications such as earthquake detection and remote sensing of water and other phenomena. JPL's Darmindra Arumugam is investigating possible mechanisms for remote sensing with Orbiting Rainbows.
The JPL optical design team, including Scott Basinger and Mayer Rud, has been working on the adaptive optics techniques that would be needed by an Orbiting Rainbows telescope. So far, the team has been exploring reflective, refractive and diffractive versions of a telescope based on Orbiting Rainbows, with maximum sensitivity to one specific frequency.
Orbiting Rainbows has not yet been demonstrated in space. For a test in low-Earth orbit, the researchers would deploy a telescope with a small patch of particles, no larger than a bottle cap, to show that it can be trapped and shaped to reflect light. The next step would be to make many of these patches and synthesize an aperture with which to do imaging.
The project represents a new application of "granular matter," materials such as dust grains, powders and aerosols. Such materials are very light, can be produced at low-cost and could be useful to the space exploration community. In this particular project, the "glitter" may be tiny granules of metallic-coated plastic, quartz or some other material.
Orbiting Rainbows is currently in Phase II development through the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program. It was one of five technology proposals chosen for continued study in 2014. In the current phase, Orbiting Rainbows researchers are conducting small-scale ground experiments to demonstrate how granular materials can be manipulated using lasers and simulations of how the imaging system would behave in orbit.
NIAC is a program of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, located at the agency's headquarters in Washington. JPL is managed by the California Institute of Technology for NASA.
For a complete list of the selected proposals and more information about NIAC, visit:
NY pledges $200 million for photonics center in Rochester
New York state is promising to pony up $200 million toward a photonics prototyping and testing facility in Rochester if Uncle Sam also kicks in.
Apr. 9, 2015
The SUNY Research Foundation, the University of Central Florida and the University of Southern California all are vying for $110 million from the U.S. Defense Department for a high-tech Institute for Manufacturing Innovation focused on photonics. That Institute has to be matched with at least $110 million in non-federal funding.
The SUNY Research Foundation pitch revolves around numerous educational institutions and companies partnering up, including the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Arizona, as well as Corning Inc. and IBM.
The SUNY Research proposal is significantly Rochester-centric and points out the significant number of optics and photonics companies locally. Its ultimate aim is cutting the cost of photonics-related technology as well as making an easier path for turning those technologies into products.
In a letter released Thursday by the office of U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, state Department of Economic Development Commissioner Howard Zemsky wrote the Air Force — the lead agency in the Defense Department project — saying that if the New York-centric application is chosen, the Empire State would chip in $250 million over the next five years.
That state money would include $200 million toward building and equipping a photonics prototyping and testing facility that would be located in Rochester, Zemsky wrote. It did not give any details.
Slaughter and U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand all have thrown their political weight behind the SUNY Research Foundation proposal, and Slaughter in December wrote a letter to the Cuomo administration in Albany, pushing it to commit money to the plan.
In a statement Thursday, Slaughter said, "The strong industry and state support we've built for our bid to secure the federal Institute for Manufacturing Innovation gives our application the competitive advantage needed to compete and win."
The deadline for proposals to be submitted was March 31. The final selection is expected to be made in June.
Photonics, a cousin of optics, involves generating and controlling light waves and photons, the particles that make up light. And the optics and photonics industry has pointed to numerous applications with big potential economic impact, such as using light as a medical diagnostic and even treatment tool to better computer vision for more process automation in manufacturing to nano-photonic materials replacing the liquid crystal display and light emitting diode displays that are ubiquitous on phones, tablets, televisions and destktops.