As part of the National Photonics Initiative (NPI), Rep. Ron Barber met with students, faculty and local business leaders at the University of Arizona in Tucson for a day this summer to discuss the benefits of photonics and the role that the university is playing in the field. Photonics also was the focal point at the University of Central Florida (UCF)in Orlando when Rep. John L. Mica (right) paid a day’s visit in August to the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL). “They are performing phenomenal research in our backyard,” Mica said. Among the technologies on display were a laser used to break apart cancer particles and a cellphone that analyzes blood. CREOL Professor Peter Delfyett (left) showed Mica some of UCF’s work on optical communications. Photo courtesy of Karen Norum Launched this spring by an assembly of photonics organizations, the NPI seeks to unite experts from industry, academia and government (including congressional members) to advance photonics R&D, grow the US economy and improve national security.