MIT, STCC partnering to build photonics factory

STCC already has photonics and optics lab

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is partnering with Springfield Technical Community College to build a photonics factory; something that is seen as an investment in the future.

Photonics is the combination of light, lasers, and optics, with practical uses in workforce sectors like automotive, telecommunications, the medical industry, defense, and aerospace engineering.

Wednesday, 22News visited the photonics and optics lab at STCC, where a laser was able to etch our 22News logo in glass.

The lab uses technology like lasers and 3-D printing to make spare parts, burn and etch wood, and even remove rust off an old piece of metal.

MIT is partnering with STCC to build a new state-of-the-art, multi-million dollar photonics facility on the campus by this time next year. The project will be funded through the state, and through the Defense Department.

“The idea is to create a series of these training centers along the Mass Pike corridor, from Boston to Rochester, New York, and we are right in the middle of that. So, we are the only one who currently has a degree-granting program, and we’ve been doing this since 1976, so ours will be up and running quickly,” said Dr. Nicholas Massa, STCC’s department chair for optics and photonics technology.

Optics and photonics is used in everyday life, and laser technology can be used to shoot down drones or missiles.

STCC currently has about 30 students enrolled in the department, with room for a lot more.