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Photonics – fully exploiting the technological and commercial potential of light

Under the sponsorship of the European Commission the European Technology Platform (ETP) Photonics21 represents joint research endeavours in the field of photonics. Due to its broad range of deployment opportunities, the global market for photonics is expected to increase heavily.

The medium of light has always fascinated mankind and thus has been utilized in various manners – whether it is for the very basic purpose of illumination or for displaying information. However, as a result of intensive research over the last decades, it is now understood what enormous further potential light bears1):

- Speed of light: the highest attainable speed in the universe

- Shortest pulses: up to a billionth part of a billionth of a second

- High accuracy: down to the millionth part of a millimetre

- Highest capacities: up to billions of megawatts

- Undisturbed overlay capability: up to millions of megabits per second

The domain of photonics aims to utilize this number of extraordinary characteristics for technological and commercial use. This sunrise industry specifically deals with multidisciplinary opportunities evolving around light generation as well as its detection and management. Joining forces with other key technologies photonics can tap further potentials among others regarding energy efficiency, ecologically responsible lighting, versatile sensors and lasers, data communication or medical imaging and diagnostics.

Already at the present stage of technological development the demand for deploying photonics is heavily increasing. For instance, MarketsandMarkets predicts the global photonics market to grow by 7% annually leading to a market volume of USD 780.4 billion by 20232). Thus, making use of the entire potential of light by engaging in the field of photonics can facilitate taping auspicious business opportunities.