Technician Certification

Students studying

As new standards and methodologies emerge for integrated photonics manufacturing, the fabrication and testing of such complex circuits is moving out of the university and government laboratory research cleanroom space and into a range of small and medium enterprise production environments with a larger workforce comprised of baccalaureate engineers and technician staff. To sustain a common foundation of skills, essential tasks, and technical knowledge, AIM Academy offers educational materials and training workshops that meet undergraduate credentialing and technician certification requirements.

In the summer of 2020, Stonehill College and Bridgewater State University will begin offering a certificate and apprenticeship program for photonics technicians.  MIT is working with both schools to develop curriculum, form partnerships with companies and create a technician boot camp offering at MIT. 

AIM Academy offers training in fabrication, assembly and test, and practice experiences through online and on-site training at the baccalaureate and technician level; our curriculum is informed and organized by the findings of our workforce assessment research. 

The Academy also serves as a gateway for placing university undergraduates and community college students as interns in industry, creating multiple career education paths for broadening and diversifying the integrated photonics workforce across the industry supply chain.

Below you can find the curriculum for the 15-month certificate program that Stonehill and Bridgewater State University will offer.


Summer Semester 2020:

PHY 140           Introduction to Advanced Manufacturing & Photonics

This course gives an overview of modern photonic manufacturing processes and covers necessary background material for subsequent courses in practical photonics skills.  The course discusses basic safety and ethics considerations, employment opportunities, communication skills, and a review of basic technical mathematics, problem solving skills, and software (Microsoft Excel and Office). 


PHY 142            Electricity and Electronics for Photonics and Optical Technicians

The working operations of DC and AC analog electrical components as discrete devices and as part of larger electrical circuits and systems will be covered in parallel with hands-on experimentation in the lab employing basic measure and test equipment. Basic ideas and applications of ADC and DAC computer-based data acquisition will also be used.  Trouble shooting and lab-based problem solving will be emphasized coordinating skills interpreting data sheets, schematics and systems specifications.  


PHY 144           Tools and Testing Equipment

This course, which includes lab, online, and in-class components, provides a hands-on introduction to tools and methods used for measurement, testing, and quality control, and for repair, with emphasis on those used in photonic systems.  This class blends online and in-class learning, with a heavy emphasis on lab skill development.


Fall Semester 2020:

PHY 150            Tools for Advanced Manufacturing and Photonics

This course, which includes lab, online, and in-class components, provides a hands-on introduction to the mechanical and thermal aspects of materials and mechanical systems. Applications include belt drives, gear systems, hydraulic control systems. Also covered are the mechanical, thermal, and electromagnetic properties of materials relevant to photonic systems and photonic fabrication processes. 


PHY 152           Digital Fundamentals

Fundamentals of digital electronics including number systems, Boolean algebra and Karnaugh mapping will be covered.  Students will apply foundational concepts in applications including Programmable Logic Controls, and microprocessors such as Arduinos, LabView and PICs with the goal of understanding the function, testing and troubleshooting of control and mechatronics systems.   Programming and basic ideas and applications of ADC and DAC computer-based data acquisition and signal processing will also be used.


PHY 154           Statistical Process Control in Photonics and Automation

This course focuses on the principles of data analytics, automation, and process control. These principles will be practiced through exercises and lab work that will introduce the student to working with semiconductor wafers, clean rooms, lithography, and pumping systems.


Spring Semester 2021:

PHY 160           Introduction to Optics for Photonics and Optical Technicians

Students will develop advanced experience with lasers, optics and optical systems that are commonplace for the photonics and optical technician based on SPIE Photonics publications. Laser fundamentals, safety and operation will be covered along with basics of geometric and wave optics theory. Optical system set up, including alignment, interferometers and test and measurement (component and system characterization) will also be covered.


PHY 162           Introduction to Fiber Optics for Photonics and Optical Technicians

Students will develop experience working with lasers, fiber optics and fiber optics applications that are commonplace for the photonics and optical technician. Fiber optics theory including index of refraction, materials, single and multi-mode operation, as well typical fiber optics applications including cleaning, cleaving and splicing will be covered.


PHY 164           Photonic Integrated Circuits

This course, which includes both online and in-class components, provides an introduction to the basic concepts and methods of integrated photonics. Integrated photonics integrates the optical components including: waveguides, waveguide bends, Y branch, grating couplers, interconnect, detectors. This course will teach students how to design, fabricate, and test an integrated photonic circuit and conduct a data analysis cycle, and will include the design and testing of an integrated circuit as a final project.


Summer Semester 2021:

PHY 190           Photonics Apprenticeship

This course will consist of a summer apprenticeship at a company, gaining experience in optics- or photonics-related work. Coming in the final semester of the photonics technician certificate program, the student will gain practice at applying the skills learned in previous courses and will develop workplace experience and industry contacts, in preparation for seeking permanent employment at the end of the program.


PHY 198           Photonics Capstone

Students will apply photonics and optical technician training in a capstone project of their choice, studying a problem or application of personal interest. Students are responsible for completing brief written descriptions of their work and making oral presentations to the CATAT-Photonics faculty.


For more details, please e-mail Julie Diop.


This material is based upon research supported by the Office of Naval Research under Award Number N00014-18-1-2890.