The field of photonics — the use of light in everything from lasers to optic cables and its application in industries from healthcare to aviation to autonomous cars — is booming, and workers and regions who get in now will reap benefits for decades to come.
This science is poised to become an everyday necessity, and like transistors and processing chips, will pay enormous benefits to early adapters who have the workforce to pull in research and development, labs and manufacturing.
An argument can be made that the region south of Boston missed the computer and IT revolution that drove economic prosperity in the Route 128 corridor. That’s in part why the state’s $3.8 million grant for a new photonics training center and lab for this region located at Stonehill College and Bridgewater State University (BSU) is so crucial.

The U.S. Office of Naval Research’s Manufacturing Engineering Education Program awarded Thomas Lord Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Lionel Kimerling’s group, the MIT Education Arcade, and MIT’s Office of Open Learning a $5 million, three-year grant to develop multimedia online training modules around simulations of photonic integrated circuit components. Cloud computing data centers, self-driving cars, and medical diagnostic chips use these state-of-the-art chips. Kimerling is also education and workforce executive of AIM Photonics Institute, and as part of his work with AIM Photonics, he oversaw the development of simulation prototypes used in an MITx course this spring, enabling students to see how changes in photonic device design affect the propagation and confinement of light signals.  

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Students in MIT's electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) course 3.155J/6.152J on micro/nano processing technology have been packaging the solar cells they fabricated at MIT.nano.

The new photonics lab, co-led by Bridgewater State University and Stonehill College, will join one at MIT and a collaborative project between Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Quinsigamond Community College.

Bridgewater State University and Stonehill College have been leading researchers in the field of photonics. And now, with a recent $3.8 million Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative award from the state to improve laboratories and equipment, both institutes will collaborate to launch a new regional integrated photonics hub to better train students to develop the technological advancements of tomorrow.

MIT's AIM Academy helped match two students at STCC to internships at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

Two Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) students are working as interns this summer at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Defense research and development center in Lexington.  MIT Lincoln Laboratory selected Douglas Bednarczyk and Shane Richardson, students from the Optics and Photonics Technology program at STCC. They are interning at the Lexington facility through August.

AIM Summer Academy 2019 has opened registration for its weeklong “photonics boot camp” featuring intensive short courses on integrated photonics (IP) for students, educators, engineers, and executives. From materials and devices to electronic photonic design automation (EPDA) software training and IP circuit design, the AIM Summer Academy will provide a thorough introduction to IP technologies and their commercial applications. It will take place July 22-26 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass. 

Headquartered at MIT, AIM Photonics Academy is embarking on an ambitious plan to develop a technician-training program in emerging technologies, attempting to answer the question of whether an institute known for educating world-leading scientists and engineers can play a role in helping train an outstanding technician workforce.

MIT is stepping in to train technicians in the advanced manufacturing field of integrated photonics.

Integrated photonics installs light technology on chips. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AIM Photonics is one of 14 institutions across the country that were part of the Obama administration's initiative to develop new technologies and build the little-known industry's workforce.

In a country with high demand for bandwidth, data centers need more and more power to run, and photonics moves information much faster and efficiently than electronics because it generates less heat. Fiber optics are already in everything from cellphone networks to bar codes to sensors, but there aren't nearly enough workers to create the technology.

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BSU is one of several institutions, including Stonehill College, working with a $1.8 million grant MIT secured from the U.S. Office of Naval Research. The grant allows AIM Photonics Academy at MIT to develop a program to train people to work in advanced manufacturing. The initiative brings together industry, academia and government.