Applied Micro Optics, Inc. recently became a new client of WTC’s Microfabrication Laboratory. Founder and president, Hansuk Lee, begin working in the Microfabrication Laboratory in September. Applied Micro Optics is an early-stage company focused on micro-optics design and fabrication.
“When I decided to start a new venture, I was courted from companies all across the U.S.,” Lee offered. “However, I was interested in staying in Washington. This is my home,” he explained. Once Lee decided to start Applied Micro Optics, he thought about where he might set up shop to conduct his research. “I immediately thought about WTC and the Microfab Lab,” says Lee. “It made good business sense for me at this stage in my company.”
Lee said it was a combination of factors that made the Microfabrication Laboratory a good starting place. He was familiar with the facility and its equipment and staff. “It’s a very nurturing environment for a young company, Lee says. He also says the lab’s environment feeds into his company’s growth strategy as well. “WTC has programs that can connect me to funding resources when I’m ready to go for grants or financing,” Lee explains.
Lee plans to market Applied Micro Optics products to industries targeting high power semiconductor diode lasers and fiber-optic telecommunications and eventually develop and market micro-optics products that could be used in biomedical devices and in consumer electronics.
Lee was also attracted by the flexibilities offered by the Microfabrication Laboratory. “The Microfab Lab allows me to have access to a full range of equipment on a monthly usage fee basis and I can do the work myself at the facility.” WTC also has programs in place for shared equipment usage and purchase. This appeals to Lee as well. He has already worked with the lab to purchase and house a spin developer in the facility and hopes to be able to do more shared equipment purchase options in the future. The equipment purchase program works well in the lab because it is such a highly collaborative, highly innovative environment. “Right now, at this stage in my company’s growth, it doesn’t make sense for me to own a lot of expensive equipment or farm out my processes to various labs,” Lee explains.
Lee says he’s pleased that the Microfabrication Laboratory was available for him during the earliest stages of his company’s launch. “Being at the lab will allow me to simultaneously conduct R&D and also conduct small scale production for clients in my target market.”
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