The Montana Photonics Industry Alliance serves as a hub for Montana’s optics and photonics companies, entrepreneurs, laboratories, and universities to commercialize, grow and sustain globally leading organizations that create high quality jobs and economic opportunity in Montana.

In 2012 Regional Technology Strategies, Inc identified a rapidly growing cluster of optics and photonics companies and research institutions in Montana.  Comprised of over 30 organizations, this cluster is one of the highest per capital concentrations of optics and photonics companies and research institutions in the United States and is recognized by the state for its economic growth potential.  Click here to read the full report, "Imagining a Future for the Big Sky Optics Cluster."

The Montana Photonics Industry Alliance was formed in October 2013 to promote the growth and success of the Montana optics cluster organizations.  We are ...

Advancing the Photonics Frontier

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Dr. Joe Shaw
Director of the Optical Technology Center, Montana State University

I develop optical remote sensing instruments for applications ranging from airborne mapping of invasive lake trout to all-sky imaging of sky polarization. I also am an avid photographer and recently published a book called Optics in the Air.

I choose to live in Bozeman because I was born in Bozeman and grew up in Alaska, so I love living among mountains and open spaces.

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Shirley McNeil
Senior Laser Systems Engineer, ADvR, Inc

I am passionate about my work because I know that our engineered non-linear optical based components which are integrated into NASA's flight systems are advancing our nation's ability to assess Earth's weather, climate and air quality.  I also really love working, learning and growing with the great team of intelligent, driven, and fun loving people we have at AdvR.

I love living and working in Bozeman as it has everything we need - mountains close by to hike, bike and ski in, trails within a mile of our home, beautiful views, opportunity to experience all four seasons, great restaurants, an awesome university that we work closely with (I am a bit biased), a great blend of other photonics companies to collaborate with, and a wonderful community to live and raise a family in.  We love to sail and travel the world too, but for sure Bozeman is our home base!

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Luke Mauritsen
Founder and President, Montana Instruments, Inc

We’re excited to be on a mission of making cold science simple. We are changing the way scientists explore new materials at low temperatures and this is resulting in new discoveries in physics, material science and chemistry.

My wife and I choose to live in Bozeman because we can have it all here.  We can work hard and change the world, enjoy the mountains out our doorstep, and raise our family in a wonderful community with lots of opportunity for our kids.

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Aislinn Daniels
PhD Student, MSU Physics

I research optical spatial-spectral (S2) materials for potential applications such as efficient, high-bandwidth RF signal and data processing.

I chose to study optical physics at Montana State University because I want to build a career in my beautiful home state.

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Ascent Vision

Ascent Vision is a Bozeman, Montana based technology company specializing in precision technologies for the manned and unmanned aerospace industry. In particular, Ascent manufactures and distributes best-in-class Gimbal systems throughout the Americas and Africa. Ascent also designs and manufactures integration mounts and proprietary software programs for its full line of Gimbals. In addition to aerial applications, Ascent pursues integration of its systems into ground-based vehicles, maritime vessels, and other platforms benefiting from Gyro Stabilized camera systems.

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Many of Montana's optics and photonics technology companies are located in Bozeman, in the heart of southwestern Montana’s Rocky Mountains.  Bozeman’s clean air and national forest access offer unrivaled outdoor opportunities for skiing, hiking, climbing, biking, rafting, and camping; an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. The community also offers an infrastructure for successful technical businesses, an exceptional educational system, and many cultural and sporting events; all of which contribute to its ideal lifestyle. For more information visit