Earlier this year, the National Research Council of the National Academies released its highly anticipated new report, "Optics and Photonics, Essential Technologies for Our Nation," updating its 1998 "Harnessing Light" study. The report assesses the current state of optics, photonics, and optical engineering in the United States, prioritizes research grand-challenge questions to fill technological gaps, and recommends actions to support global leadership in photonics-driven industry.
'A million lasers'
One of the most frequently cited numbers in the events surrounding the report's release has been that a Google data center incorporates a million lasers. This example is used to highlight the relative invisibility of photonics in our daily lives -- yet the technology is integral to almost everything we do.
Find out more:
Download a PDF of the report summary
Read the full report on the National Academies website
Read what the experts are telling Washington
The call for the National Photonics Initiative
Novus Light Technologies, 25 March 2013
National Photonics Initiative (NPI) Advisory Committee member Matt Weed, a doctoral candidate in optics at CREOL, the College of Optics and Photonics at the University of Central Florida, discussed how the NPI would serve to align U.S. research universities, the commercialisation engine of the free market, and a government that supports basic science.
University of Dayton, 22 October 2012
Paul McManamon, co-chair of the NRC committee who authored "Optics and Photonics, Essential Technologies for Our Nation," talked about the substantial economic impact of the technologies with a writer at University of Dayton, where McManamon is technical director of the Ladar and Optical Communications Institute (LOCI).
Craig Barrett: How to cultivate an environment for growth in photonics
SPIE Newsroom, 10 September 2012
The former CEO of Intel (a company dependent on optics and photonics) talks about what we should be doing in government and industry to help support growth in the field.
Optics leaders tout role in nation's economy
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 10 September 2010
About 200 area optics industry executives and educators crowded the Rochester Museum & Science Center for presentations and a panel talk about how important optics is to the local and national economies.
New National Academies report unveiled at SPIE Optics + Photonics
SPIE Newsroom, 17 August 2012
The National Research Council of the National Academies has released its highly anticipated new report, "Optics and Photonics, Essential Technologies for Our Nation," which updates its 1998 "Harnessing Light" study. Committee co-chairs Alan Willner (University of Southern California) and Paul McManamon (University of Dayton; Exciting Technologies) presented the report 15 August at SPIE Optics + Photonics in San Diego.
National Academy calls for US photonics initiative
optics.org, 13 August 2012
The long-awaited follow-up to the National Academy of Sciences' "Harnessing Light" report recommends that the US federal government sets up an integrated national photonics initiative, in order to better coordinate future development of the technology in the US.
Photonics fundamental to economic growth
By Stephen Anderson
SPIE Professional, July 2012
Photonics technologies are ubiquitous and will be a fundamental element of all future
global economic growth. The scope of products and services in which photonics plays an
enabling role is enormous, encompassing consumer products, displays, lighting,
manufacturing, renewable energy, healthcare, communications, environmental monitoring,
security, defense, and more.
By Alison Jones
SPIE Professional, July 2012
Despite its deep impact in a variety of markets and sectors as an enabling technology, optics has not, until recently, received the same level of recognition and support from governments as other technologies. Now, governments from Asia, Europe, North America, and elsewhere are centralizing and prioritizing their efforts to support optics technologies and industries and to advance their own national competitiveness and economic success.
Optics R&D at risk
By Katarina Svanberg
SPIE Professional, October 2011
Photonics has enabled many remarkable improvements in life throughout the world
-- smart phones, the photonics-powered Internet, life-saving light-based medical therapies,
clean water and sustainable energy solutions. Parallel to these advances enabled by optics and
photonics, our current economic problems are being met with drastic budget cuts. As a result,
the future of science and technology R&D is at risk.
FREE POSTERS AND DVDs
Request free posters or DVDs by email from Ms. Pascale Barnett at email@example.com.
Poster:"What Can You Do With Energy-Efficient Optics and Photonics?"
Poster:"Optics and Photonics: Working for a Better and Brighter World."
Available in French, Spanish and German. Not available in English.
Poster:"Women in Optics: Imagine."
Poster: "What Can You Do With Optics and Photonics?"
Available in English and French.
DVD: "Light in Action"
Audience age: 9-11
Interactive experiments and simple animations help communicate basic principles about light.
DVD: "Optics: Light at Work"
Audience age: 12-13
Real world applications of optics technology, as well as, examples of "cool" new technology such as nanomedicine, space telescopes, invisibility, and solar energy.
Inspired by the National Academies report, SPIE and four other photonics and optics societies are promoting a National Photonics Initiative (NPI).
The goal is to foster increased collaboration and coordination between industry, government and academia to identify and advance areas of photonics that are critical for maintaining U.S. competitiveness and national security.
- In mid-March, SPIE volunteers visited the offices of Members of Congress in Washington, D.C., to urge support for the NPI and other issues of importance to the optics and photonics community. Read more.
- Industry, government, and academic representatives from the five key optics and photonics sectors -- communications, defense, health and medicine, manufacturing, and energy -- met to begin defining areas of focus in developing formal recommendations for strategy and next actions. Read more.
Want to get involved? Start by downloading and sharing a one-page flyer (PDF 356 kB) outlining the goals of the NPI and why it is needed.
Participating societies include:
- SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics
- The Optical Society
- Laser Institute of America
- IEEE Photonics Society
- American Physical Society.
The report on "Optics and Photonics, Essential Technologies for Our Nation" was produced by the National Academies project "Harnessing Light: Capitalizing on Optical Science Trends and Challenges for Future Research." The project was supported by funding from DARPA, NSF, NIST, ARO, DOE, AFOSR, NRC, OSA, and SPIE.
SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, has joined other professional societies in the sector in working with the National Research Council to disseminate the report.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Hear what leaders in the photonics industry including Harnessing Light II committee co-chairs Paul McManamon and Alan Willner have to say about the report, in these SPIE.tv videos.
Alan Willner, committee cochair, on the Optics + Photonics report
Paul McManamon: "Harnessing Light" study will be just a starting point
Erik Svedberg and Larry Goldberg: Harnessing Light II report aims to chart course for photonics' future
Post your comments and read those of others about the NA's new "Optics and Photonics" study, directions for the optics and photonics industry, or stories about photonics jobs on the blog provided by SPIE: HarnessingMinds.org.