More than 50 years after the first operation of the laser, photonics has become a mature field. In this plenary talk from SPIE Optics + Photonics 2012, Bahaa E. A. Saleh looks into the optical crystal ball to envision the future.
Advances in the underlying fundamental sciences along with improvements in technology will enable increasing numbers of applications in the use of light as a carrier of information and energy. The transmission of information is limited by the resolution and precision with which light can be shaped or confined in time, space, and wavelength. Future advances will no doubt include finer spatial and temporal resolution and greater precision, which will enable better 3D, 4D, or 5D reading, writing, and communicating with light through "thicker" media. It will also enable sources with greater power and more efficient conversion into (or from) other forms of energy. The upcoming decades will surely see the development of new synthetic micro- and nano-structured materials with unheard of optical properties and this will lead to new optics and new applications.
Bahaa E. A. Saleh has been dean of CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics at the University of Central Florida, since 2009. He was a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Boston University in 1994-2008, and he served as department chair from 1994 to 2007. He was also deputy director of the Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems, an NSF Engineering Research Center in 2000-2008. Saleh is Fellow of SPIE, IEEE, OSA, and the Guggenheim Foundation.