RIT Creates Optoelectronics Packaging Education Consortium

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Grant from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers funds start-up

Note: Digital photograph available

Optoelectronics packaging, an integral part of digital imaging, electronics, high-speed voice and data communications, Internet, telecommunications and wireless applications, is expected to grow to a $10 billion industry by 2006.

"Itís a vital part of electronics systems, and continues to expand," says Manian (Ram) Ramkumar, interim director of Rochester Institute of Technologyís Center for Electronic Manufacturing and Assembly. He says western New York and southern Ontario comprise a hotbed area known as the "golden horseshoe for optoelectronics," home to 220 companies specializing in the field.

Helping meet demand for high-skilled optoelectronics packaging specialists, RIT is creating a Consortium for Optoelectronics Packaging Education with a $249,284 grant from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation/2002 Manufacturing Education Plan Grant Program. Ramkumar will lead a two-year study of manufacturing processes in optoelectronics packaging assembly.

Research will be supported by undergraduate courses and lab curricula developed with grant funding, which will also support two-day workshops for students and two-week workshops for industry partners and faculty.

Partners in the consortium include Corning Community College, George Brown College in Toronto and industry. Funding from RIT, industry and academic partners brings the projectís total value to $1.7 million.