All Eyes on Optics Valley

Arizona’s Optics Valley is home to some of the field’s leading research centers and businesses in science, engineering and manufacturing.

From your smartphone to your car to medical instruments, optics technology enables the products and devices we use everyday. In fact, without optics, none of you would be reading this. On a small scale, the science of optics improves our day-to-day lives, but on a much larger scale, the industry is key for our national security, scientific discoveries, and technological advances. Scientifically speaking, optics is the branch of physics that studies that behavior and properties of light and its interaction with matter. The study of optics has manifested into inventions including eyeglasses, cameras, telescopes, lasers, fiber optic cables, and much more. Additionally, it’s a key contributor to other industries like aerospace and defense, microelectronics, medical instrumentation, nanotechnology, and advanced manufacturing.

In 1992, Southern Arizona established as the first optics cluster in the world. Now, as part of the Arizona Technology Council, Optics Valley is it’s home to leading optics companies, research centers, and astronomical observatories. Optics Valley has the mission to catalyze, conven, and connect optics, photonics, astronomy, and supporting business interests throughout Arizona. With an economic impact of over $3 billion annually, optics is a key driver of Southern Arizona’s economy and hugely important in the optics industry worldwide.

As a worldwide leader the University of Arizona Wyant College of Optical Sciences is continually growing and improving. In 2018, the college received a $20 million pledge for endowed faculty positions from the James C. Wyant family. UA President Robbins said the gift “provides UA with the resources needed to achieve its goal of being a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” At last year’s TENWEST Festival, UA optics professor Robert Norwood announced a partnership between the University of Arizona and Microsoft to develop a cloud computing research center, studying how to make data centers more efficient through optics. In addition, Strategy1, a Tucson business consultancy, was awarded $500,000 contract from the Small Business Association to help grow and promote the optics and photonics industry statewide. As Optics Valley continues to grow, it boasts relationships with a leading optics university and a community eager to help companies succeed. 

On Friday, October 18th, join us for a luncheon on the impacts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, sponsored by Optics Valley and Pima Community College, to learn more about how companies are ensuring their workforce is keeping up with rapid change. This unique opportunity is a must-attend event you won’t want to miss. 

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