About LEAP

LEAP Mission Statement

Education and Training: Establish and promote an open environment for ongoing education and hands-on training to enhance the regional technical workforce with the skills needed to support and grow the emerging photonic integrated circuit ecosystem and related fields.

Research Collaboration: Provide subject matter expertise and research collaboration opportunities in photonic areas related to:

  • Nanoscale and microscale prototyping development
  • Optical and electrical device characterization
  • Fiber-chip interfacing
  • Terahertz sensing
  • Fiber optics
  • Non-invasive optical metrology for reliability testing

Prototyping: Establish and promote an open environment for internal and external clients from industry, academia, and government sectors to create and test prototypes that utilize photonic integrated circuit technologies essential for manufacturing advancement in areas related to:

  • Medical devices
  • 5G and 6G wireless datacom
  • Chemical and biological sensors


Featured Core LEAP Faculty Members

Doug Petkie
Doug Petkie
Professor and Department Head, Physics

I am pleased to work with students and colleagues to elevate WPI's global impact. WPI has a dynamic and energetic environment that focuses on experiential learning and interdisciplinary research. The balance between theory and practice and the passion everyone shares for the WPI Plan and the Project-Based Curriculum makes this a truly unique place where you get degrees for project accomplishments rather than courses completed.

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Yuxiang Liu
Yuxiang Liu

The overarching theme of my research is light-matter interactions and their applications in microscale and nanoscale. Particularly, my research interests include optical trapping, optofluidics, nanophotonics, cavity optomechanics, and fiber optic sensing systems, with an emphasis on optical actuation, damping, and sensing of mechanics in micro-/nano-scale structures and biological specimens. The potential applications of my research include on-chip disease diagnosis, in vivo disease treatments, motion detection in consumer electronics, health monitoring, and biomechanics.

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Pratap Rao
Pratap Rao

My research is aimed at discovering, understanding and developing advanced materials for a range of applications including solar energy conversion, catalysis, printed electronics, sensors, and functional coatings. Our lab specializes in the synthesis of nanostructured thin film materials using scalable processes. Students and researchers in my lab can expect to work on highly interdisciplinary projects at the intersection of materials science, mechanical engineering, solid state physics, and thermal sciences.

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Integrated Photonics: The Next Frontier

Photonics involves the transmission and processing of information using light (photons) instead of electricity (electrons). Photonic devices are often faster, use less power, and can be made at smaller scales than electronic ones. This creates opportunities to develop new and better sensors, imaging technologies, medical diagnostics, and more.

While photonics is already applied widely in communications, computing, healthcare, and other industries, the field has the potential to usher in a new era in the Information Age. LEAP @ WPI/QCC looks forward to the helping make next big breakthrough by providing infrastructure and expertise to enable internal and external users to explore materials, components, and systems that can interface with integrated photonics.   

Accelerating Innovation on the Corridor

The I-90 corridor, which connects Albany to Boston, is becoming a conduit that ties together elements of a vibrant integrated photonics education, research, and development ecosystem. LEAP @ WPI/QCC represents the Central Massachusetts section of the corridor

LEAP @ WPI/QCC is focused on strengthening regional partnerships with business, colleges and universities, and government entities to support research, development, education, and workforce development.

Bringing Innovations to Life

The LEAP @ WPI/QCC facility is equipped with state-of-the art tools for the realization, design, characterization testing, and reliability testing of photonic integrated circuits (PICs) and devices. The toolsets will complement various facilities in the AIM Photonics ecosystem including: AIM Academy, LEAP @ MIT, LEAP @ BSU/SC the Test Assembly and Packaging (TAP) Facility in Rochester, NY and the AIM Photonics Foundry in Albany, NY.

Researchers in multiple disciplines at WPI and QCC, in collaboration with several strategic partners, will use these facilities to design and test prototypes of PICs and systems that emerge from interdisciplinary research in such areas as health and biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, and robotics and cyberphysical systems. 

Building a Skilled Workforce

LEAP @ WPI/QCC will collaborate on the development of programs, curricula, and training materials in partnership with industry, educators, and other education and practice sites in order to prepare a technologically competent workforce ready to help their employers succeed in the advanced manufacturing sector.

Educational programs will engage students at all levels—from K-12 outreach activities, to community college training programs, to graduate education—with an emphasis on giving tomorrow’s innovators and leaders access to the most advanced equipment and exposing them to ideas and challenges at the cutting edge of the integrated photonics field.

The LEAP Network

The LEAP Network is supported by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Government, who is in partnership with the Federal Government. Each government tier uses arrows to illustrate the hierarchies within that level of government. For example, it is shown in the Federal Government tier that the Department of Defense oversees the Manufacturing USA Initiative, which oversees AIM Photonics and AIM Photonics Academy. There are no arrows that relate the three LEAPs because they are independent of one another.