Niagara College

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Ontario, Canada

A student and Photonics North 2022 attendee in the class IV laser lab featuring a Ti:Sapphire laser in the background. Courtesy of LASER-TEC.

A student and Photonics North 2022 attendee in the class IV laser lab featuring a Ti:Sapphire laser in the background. Courtesy of LASER-TEC.

LASER-TEC is the Center for Laser and Fiber Optics Education, founded in 2013 by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and headquartered at Indian River State College in Florida. It was founded to help meet the goals of educating and sourcing domestic talent in the areas of optics and photonics. As a service to students, recent graduates, and prospective employers, Photonics Spectra runs a profile of one of the LASER-TEC colleges each month.

Do you want the chance to build a camera that goes into outer space or gets strapped to a helicopter? Perhaps you would rather build one for the next movie blockbuster and set up the latest generation of laser projectors for a red-carpet Hollywood premier. Maybe you would prefer to work in the biomedical field, manufacturing the diagnostic equipment and lasers used to save lives. Optics and photonics underpins all modern technology: From smartphones to self-driving cars, fiber optic communications is the backbone that powers the internet, satellites, and sensor technologies that are central to combatting climate change. Niagara College provides training in precision optics, thin-film deposition, fiber optics, and electro-optic technologies. Graduates of the program are employed in a wide range of industries, including defense, aerospace, biomedical, communications, and entertainment.


The photonics department currently provides a laddered program that offers students a photonics engineering technician diploma after two years, or, after three years, a photonics engineering technology advanced diploma. Students train in a dedicated teaching cleanroom, a Class IV laser lab, a spectroscopy lab, a manufacturing space, and a photonics flex-lab facility to emulate the advanced manufacturing industry environments into which graduates will transition.

Graduates of Niagara College's photonics engineering programs gain skills such as:
  • Thin-film deposition.
  • Testing and aligning lasers.
  • Aligning optical systems.
  • Optical testing.
  • Cleaning and maintaining precision optics.
  • Fiber optics preparation, including fusion and mechanical splicing, and testing optical time-domain reflectometers (OTDRs), optical spectrum analyzers (OSAs), and  optical power meters (OPMs).
  • Electronics test instrumentation.
  • Surface mount technology (SMT) and through-hole soldering.
  • 2D and 3D modeling and additive manufacturing.
  • Introductory laser welding and cutting.
  • Introductory optical manufacturing.
  • Introductory optical design (technologists).
  • Applied research during an eight-month capstone project.
How to recruit from this college

Contact program coordinator Cristina Simionescu to arrange for a recruiting visit. Graduates are available at the start of each May, although it is recommended to recruit early because graduates are in short supply.

Contact information

Cristina Simionescu 
Program Coordinator
1+ 905-735-2211, ext. 7915
[email protected]

100 Niagara College Blvd.
Welland, Ontario, Canada L3C 7L3

Program website

Published: April 2020
LASER-TEC College ProfileNiagara College

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