Integrated photonic systems are expected to drive the development of new applications

Photonics is turning out to be big business – and the technology holds the prospect of being even more important in the future.A market that was valued at something like $350billion in 2005 has grown to be worth around $1trillion in 2015, driven by the increasing use of displays. Not bad for a technology that only saw the light of day in the early 1960s.

Tim Stokes, managing director of Hamamatsu Photonics UK, told a recent seminar: “In 10 years, photonics will become more important to the UK’s economy than the pharmaceutical industry is today.” He said the global photonics components market is currently worth €100billion a year, with 2750 companies operating in 46 countries. “In the UK,” he continued, “there are more than 1000 photonics related companies employing some 70,000 people. Photonics is estimated to contribute more than £10billion a year to the UK economy; a figure which is growing by at least 6% a year.”

Further confirmation of the importance of photonics in the future came in October 2014, with the announcement by the US government that it is to invest more than $100million to set up a manufacturing institute dedicated to the development of integrated photonics technologies.

According to a White House statement: “The Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute – with more than $200m in public and private resources – is expected to comprise the largest federal investment to date, reflecting the complexity of this technology, its importance to national security, and its revolutionary potential.” Read more..


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