Optics conference expected to bring 2,000 visitors to Rochester

More than 2,000 people will congregate in Rochester this week as the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center plays host to the biennial SPIE Optifab, the nation’s premier optical manufacturing conference and exhibition.

SPIE is an international not-for-profit professional society for optics and photonics technology, founded in 1955.

Since 2003, Rochester has hosted the event, which attracts optics professionals from across the nation. The convention is devoted to optical manufacturing technologies that play a critical role across all industries, including consumer, automotive, healthcare, biomedical, telecommunications among others.

The conference will include four days of technical presentations about the latest in the science of designing and manufacturing optical components including creating and working with specialty glass; lens, window, dome, flat, prism and freeform design and manufacturing; and coating optical elements for durability.

Some 185 exhibitors will fill the downtown convention center, and a two-day job fair will be featured on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday evening, the optics and photonics industry will host a banquet at the Hyatt Regency to raise money for optics programs at area high schools. To date, the “21st Annual Photonics Clambake,” organized by Sydor Optics, has donated more than $50,000 to regional high school optics programs, where more than 200 students annually are enrolled in a Monroe Community College dual-credit optics course.

Students will have an opportunity to learn about optical manufacturing from leading experts on Thursday, and will have a chance to speak with 180 optical fabrication companies and see precision machines in action.

Nearly 1,900 people attended the last exhibition in 2017.

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