Optics, Photonics & Imaging
Rochester, NY is the world leader in optics, photonics, and imaging.
Home to 150+ Businesses Focused on 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. It’s the birthplace of forward-looking companies such as Eastman Kodak Company, Xerox Corporation, and Bausch + Lomb. To all optics, photonics, and imaging companies: we invite you to take advantage of our area’s educated workforce and industry expertise. Approximately 17,000 Rochester residents are employed in the industry. More than 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, Thorlabs Lens Systems, Rochester Precision Optics, IDEX Health and Science, and smaller ventures such as Lumetrics, and VisualDx. 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.
Notable Optics, Photonics, & Imaging Companies in Rochester, NY
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.
Soft contact lenses and related products.
Optical components including aspheres, cylinders, prisms and spheres for ultraviolet, visible and infrared application.
Geospatial software, aerial imagery, and analytics.
Manufacturer of complex optical components, assemblies and electro-optical systems for visible and infrared applications.
Medical and healthcare IT solutions and X-ray film and digital X-ray products.
Global supplier of materials and optics for the semiconductor manufacturing industry.
Designs and builds dimensional measuring machines combining optical imaging, laser, and contact sensors.
Optics, Photonics & Imaging Research and Development Resources
Headquartered in Rochester, New York, AIM Photonics 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 (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 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.
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.
World-Class Talent at Competitive Rates Below the National Average
|Position||Rochester Annual Mean Wage||National Annual Mean Wage||Rochester Advantage|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||$143,530||$158,970||9.7%|
|Computer Network Support Specialists||$65,520||$71,350||8.2%|
|Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Operators||$42,810||$46,240||7.4%|
|Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers||$55,290||$62,360||11.3%|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment||$62,070||$64,230||3.4%|
|Electrical, Electronic, and Electromechanical Assemblers, Except Coil Winders, Tapers, and Finishers||$37,520||$39,630||5.3%|
|Electro-Mechanical and Mechatronics Technologists and Technicians||$62,390||$63,880||2.3%|
|Electronics Engineers, Except Computer||$101,160||$115,490||12.4%|
|Engineering Technologists and Technicians, Except Drafters, All Other||$53,280||$68,290||22.0%|
|Engineers, All Other||$97,080||$107,800||9.9%|
|Machine Feeders and Offbearers||$33,180||$36,660||9.5%|
|Mechanical Engineering Technologists and Technicians||$61,740||$63,390||2.6%|
|Miscellaneous Assemblers and Fabricators||$36,100||$37,780||4.4%|
|Production Workers, All Other||$34,130||$36,230||5.8%|
|Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers||$84,200||$97,710||13.8%|
Rochester is an optics center of the world. There are really talented people here. Everything about Rochester just fits really well with what Vuzix does.
Founder and CEO, Vuzix
Learn More About Optics, Photonics, and Imaging in Rochester, NY
Photo by Luminate
Greater Rochester, New York’s Key Industries
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Rochester has a great work base. They’re loyal. They’re smart. They’re well educated and they want to succeed.
Executive Chairman and CEO, Eastman Kodak
We keep and maintain and are investing specifically in Rochester because that is where the talent is. We don’t succeed without the right talent.
Vice President and General Manager, Corning Incorporated
Rochester has the manufacturing capability, testing capability, and intellectual horsepower.
Past Chairman, NY BEST
Rochester has a deep talent pool around all of the things that we need to do to commercialize advanced materials for the energy economy.
Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Ionomr
The decision to expand locally was a relatively easy one for CooperVision. The Rochester area has provided so many of the elements necessary for a successful operation.
The proximity to top colleges and industry-leading companies, in addition to the quality of life in Western New York, made the decision to open our second office in Rochester an easy one.
Director, Security Risk Advisors
Rochester is home to some of the finest optics companies in the nation, almost all of which OptiPro does business with.
We have a long history of people skilled in aerospace technology and precision optical assembly. We take advantage of the industrial base in the Rochester area. We also take advantage of the skill sets developed by our local technical institutions like MCC, RIT, or the University of Rochester.”
Cryogenic Optical Test Director for James Webb Space Telescope, L3 Harris
We have inherited an exceptional quality of life thanks to an impressive cluster of cultural organizations, unparalleled natural resources, and a resilient and welcoming spirit of community.
President, Rochester Insititute of Technology
Once people get here and their families get used to short commute times, low home prices, the fact we have all kinds of recreational sporting activities, the quality of schools, they don’t want to leave.
CEO and Chairman, Sweetwater Energy
Rochester has provided ID Signsystems with the ability to grow and develop by tapping into the region’s large pool of design-focused talent, technicians, engineers and sign makers.
President, ID Signsystems
Our network of local universities, colleges, and optics companies has created a workforce pipeline that is unmatched anywhere in the United States.
GRE’s direction and guidance proved to be well worth our investment. Their passion to make the business environment in the Rochester area greater is very apparent.
There is unlimited, untapped technical talent in the area and I hope we start a wave of other companies moving to Rochester.
Rochester has a long history of being a hub for telecommunications. There is a rich ecosystem of talent and services to support business growth.
Founder and CEO, Wire3
Rochester is the perfect size city to get business done. I’m always one connection away from anything I’m looking for.
President, Kink BMX
The work we’ve done and the momentum we’ve generated as a business has been possible in large part because of the talent, knowledge and industriousness of our people in Rochester, NY.
CEO, Brand Networks
We have access to talent graduating from our businesses and technical institutions capable of perpetuating our success for years to come.
President & CEO, Simcona Electronics
The Rochester region provided convenient access to both railroads and major highways, as well as proximity to Barilla’s customer base in the Northeast.
Vice President of Supply Chain, Barilla America
We’re excited about this area. There’s high-quality milk in the region. There’s a lot of top talent. The industry, the innovation, the technical experience , the work ethic is all attractive to us.
Vice President of Manufacturing, fairlife
The country is starting to recognize Rochester as a technical city outside of just software. We have optics and manufacturing that’s exceeding most of the baselines around the country.
Rochester has the resources optics companies need to transform their concepts into reality.
Dr. Duncan T. Moore
Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship and Professor of Optical Engineering
Rochester has a great base of intellectual capital in the science and technology fields at local businesses and universities.
Daniel J. Burns
Regional President, M&T Bank Corporation
We’ve developed vaccines to prevent cervical cancer right here in Rochester.
Vice President and COO, University of Rochester Medical Center
Among many great options, none could match Rochester in terms of talent, local supplier networks, and opportunities to partner with top-tier research institutions.
CEO, Plug Power