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Putting Theory into Practice

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2021 - 12:00 AM Alumni , Engineering , All News

State-of-the-Art LEAP@WNE Training Center Established

The Western New England University (WNE) College of Engineering Laboratory for Education and Application Prototypes (LEAP), a state-of-the-art optics/photonics training center, has been established through a grant of $2,581,109 from the Massachusetts Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CAM). LEAP@WNE is part of a national effort to advance state-of-the-art manufacturing with the American Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) Photonics consortium.

With the support of the grant funding, WNE partnered with Convergent Photonics in Chicopee, MA, and Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) for the development of the new advanced manufacturing center, located at Convergent Photonics. The LEAP lab, only the fourth of its kind in the state, will focus on product development, educational training, and collaborative research in the field of integrated photonics.

The LEAP@WNE facility features six instrumentation and prototyping workstations with capabilities including tunable lasers and optical power meters, polarimeters and polarization controllers; optical spectrum analyzers and free space optics; electronic signal generators, oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, and power supplies; and PCB fabrication using subtractive and additive techniques.

The grant was part of the CAM, Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M212) which has made a $100 million commitment to manufacturing innovation through their capital grant program and are collaborating on over 60 projects connecting manufacturers with universities and companies.

According to the CAM, Massachusetts has made a substantial commitment to developing the Manufacturing USA infrastructure within the state's academic, research, and manufacturing industry. Through the creation of sector-specific Manufacturing USA Centers, M212 will advance innovations and job growth within the state through cross-collaboration among companies, universities, national labs, government, incubators, accelerators, and other academic and training institutions.

Funded through the M212 program, LEAPS are designed to support AIM Photonics, an industry-driven, public-private partnership that focuses the nation’s premiere capabilities and expertise to capture critical global manufacturing leadership in a technology that is both essential to national security and positioned to provide a compelling return-on-investment to the American economy.

For more information about LEAP@WNE, contact Steve Adamshick, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, at stephen.adamshick@wne.edu.