The origins of RPC Photonics dates back to the late 1980’s. In 1989 Rochester Photonics Corporation (RPC) was co-founded by Dr. G. Michael Morris, Dr. Dean Faklis and Dr. Milton Chang. It was a spin-off from the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics. The focus was to transition the emerging field of diffractive-optics and micro-optics technology from the research laboratory to wide-spread commercial applications of the technology.
From 1989 to 1999, RPC developed this new precision optical surface-relief technology using government funding largely through the SBIR program and DARPA’s Technology Reinvestment (TRP) Program, and through industrial development contracts in conjunction with a number of large commercial and defense-related companies.
By 1999, the technology that RPC had developed was ready for commercial applications. In February 1999, during the midst of the optical telecommunications boom, RPC was acquired by Corning Incorporated, was renamed Corning Rochester Photonics Corporation (CRPC) and functioned as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Corning Incorporated. CRPC focused primarily on the development of new micro-optics components and systems for optical telecommunication systems. CRPC also worked closely with other Corning divisions to design and develop novel screen technology for rear projection displays employing micro-display devices.
Despite the success of its technology and process development, with the bursting of the optical telecom bubble in late 2001 and Corning’s overall financial situation at the time, it was decided to close CRPC on December 31, 2002.
In an effort to preserve the unique and world-class technology, capabilities and engineering team created through RPC and CRPC, Dr. Morris successfully negotiated management buy-out agreements with Corning, and was able to spin-off two companies from CRPC – Apollo Optical Systems and RPC Photonics, Inc. The buy-out agreement for Apollo Optical Systems (AOS) was signed on December 31, 2002, and the buy-out agreement for RPC Photonics, Inc. was completed on May 8, 2003.
RPC Photonics presently leases approximately 12,000 sq. ft. of space. It consists of in-house optical and mechanical design facilities, photolithography facilities, an extensive optical metrology laboratory, optical system assembly areas, a well-equipped machine shop, and office space.
RPC Photonics, Inc. focuses on design, prototyping and manufacturing of optical components with precision structured surfaces that can be applied to control light and distribute it in a highly efficient manner. RPC Photonics’ principal markets include: solid-state lighting, display systems, defense systems, high-power lasers, and UV-lithography.