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Optics and Photonics

With applications in medicine, manufacturing, defense, aerospace, energy, communications and security, the field of optics and photonics brings a surge of high tech activity to the region. Home to one of only three degree-granting optics universities in the United States and a host of specialized companies, the Corridor is at the heart of some of the world’s greatest advancements in the industry.

Barry Tyler
“We manufacture infrared optics—the materials that transmit, reflect and shape laser light for applications in laser cutting machines, thermal imaging systems, night vision cameras and much more. The company has experienced phenomenal growth thanks to our new and improved processes. I know the more advanced we become as optics companies in this Corridor, the better off we are to compete globally.”

Barry Tyler, Vice President
American Photonics Company

Growing out of military efforts and supported by Corridor universities, the photonics industry has thrived in the Florida High Tech Corridor.  The University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL), the only college-level program of its kind, serves as a center of excellence in research and education, as well as an economic driver for the industry. CREOL has produced numerous startups through its incubator as part of the internationally recognized UCF Business Incubation Program.

Optics and Photonics at a Glance

  • Home to world-renowned, college-level optics and lasers program
  • 100 companies in the region
  • Employs 23,000+ people

Understanding the science of light has led to modern discoveries from the liquid crystal displays of computer monitors to the backbone of the Internet and much of today’s technology. As the industry’s leading organization for the state, the Florida Photonics Cluster (FPC) brings the industry together by supporting the growth and profitability of photonics companies in Florida. The diverse and specialized companies throughout the Corridor represent a major portion of companies statewide and are leading the way in this high tech industry.

Big players such as Northrop Grumman, Harris Corporation, Lockheed Martin, L-3 Communications and DRS Technologies use photonics and optics across their manufacturing divisions, utilizing lasers and fiber optics in defense and communication applications. With more than 98 companies employing more than 2,000 people directly engaged in optics and photonics, the Florida High Tech Corridor is a bustling area of activity in this growing industry.

Optics and Photonics Organizations and Institutes