TOPTICA Photonics Inc. is laser-focused on growth as the firm readies to move into larger space and add to its local workforce.
Mark Tolbert, president of the domestic arm of German-based TOPTICA Photonics AG, said the business will move out of its location in Farmington, Ontario County this month – where it has been since 2008 – into a new space in Pittsford near Powder Mills Park.
TOPTICA is a manufacturer of lasers for quantum technologies, biophotonics and material inspection. The business employs some 450 people worldwide and its products are used in more than 80 countries.
Locally, TOPTICA employs some 40 local workers and Tolbert expects that number to increase to around 70 in the next few years as demand for its products continues to grow.
“There’s lots of momentum now,” he said.
There are currently about a dozen job openings.
The laser manufacturer and distributor is hiring across the board, Tolbert said, noting that there are job openings in science and research, manufacturing and sales.
Tolbert noted that the business has expanded most of its facilities around the globe.
The new space the firm is leasing in Monroe County is more than double the size of its current facility and nearly triples its manufacturing and research and development space, he noted.
TOPTICA will occupy about 70 percent of the 40,000-square-foot building. It will be housed in the first and third floors of the building, in Class A office space that the firm reconfigured for its needs.
The firm has experienced annual double-digit growth, on average, for well over a decade.
Last year was no exception, with TOPTICA experiencing year-over-year growth of 50 percent, Tolbert said.
Increased interest and opportunity in the quantum photonics market due to a national push for the sector helped drive that growth, he said.
That push came from the National Quantum Initiative Act, which was signed into law at the end of 2018 and provides for the continued leadership of the United States in quantum information science and its technology applications.
The act also calls for a coordinated federal program to accelerate quantum research and development for the economic and national security of the United States.
Quantum photonics is not new to TOPTICA, which manufactured its first laser for the sector in the late 1990s, and now makes up over half of its business, Tolbert explained.
The increased interest in the field, however, means more work not only from government research and development labs and universities, but from industry, as well.
In addition to quantum photonics, the firm is seeing growth in the biophotonics sector, as well as in the semiconductor market.
In addition, TOPTICA recently underwent a rebranding, which included a new, more modern logo that better illustrates the work of the company.
Tolbert, a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Rochester, said the firm has what he calls a “cool factor.”
That is because many of its employees and customers are highly educated and respected in the field and include several Noble laureates. They also develop really cool products.
“We enable so much technology that has a real impact on the world,” he said.
Its Guide Star Laser, for example, gives astronomers a tool for deep exploration of space and time. As part of an optics system at the European Southern Observatory in Chile, it can counteract the turbulence of Earth’s atmosphere and image objects from the distant universe, he explained.
There are plans to install more than 30 ground-based telescopes with such lasers around the world in the next decade, which could help answer some of the universe’s most pressing questions.
“In our lifetime, we might be able to answer the question ‘Is there life in our closest galaxies,” Tolbert said. “How cool is that?”
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