National Photonics Initiative congratulates industry partner Hamamatsu on contributions to Nobel prize-winning research

Work by Physics Laureate Takaaki Kajita advanced with products from NPI industry partner Hamamatsu

16 October 2015

National Photonics InitiativeWASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Photonics Initiative (NPI), an alliance of top scientific societies uniting industry and academia to raise awareness of photonics, today congratulated Takaaki Kajita, this year's winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, and NPI Photonics Industry Neuroscience Group member Hamamatsu on the technology it contributed to Kajita's Nobel Prize-winning research. Kajita's team determined for the first time that neutrinos have mass, challenging the fundamental theory of elementary particle physics. Photomultiplier tubes (PMTs), one of Hamamatsu Photonics' core products, were designed specifically for the Super-Kamiokande neutrino detector facility at the University of Tokyo where Kajita conducted his research. Hamamatsu Photonics specializes in the application of photonics, the science of light, in such fields as medicine, information and communication, and physiology, where their PMTs are essential components in a wide variety of scientific, commercial, and medical instruments. Upon learning of Hamamatsu's contributions to Kajita's Nobel Prize-winning research, NPI Photonics Industry Neuroscience Group Chairman Tom Baer issued the following statement:

"On behalf of the NPI Photonics Industry Neuroscience Group I would like to congratulate Takaaki Kajita, director of the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research at the University of Tokyo, on being named a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics. In using products contributed by Hamamatsu Photonics to the Super-Kamiokande neutrino detector facility where he conducted his research, Kajita was able to prove that neutrinos do in fact have mass -- a major shift in our fundamental understanding of how the universe works.

"This win is a tremendous accomplishment for Kajita and Hamamatsu Photonics -- it marks the third time the company has played a part in Nobel Prize-winning research. This discovery is also of significant importance to the optics and photonics community; it underscores the key role of optics and photonics in scientific discoveries that advance our basic understanding of the world in which we live. The NPI and the Photonics Industry Neuroscience Group are committed to raising awareness of the many ways photonics technologies stimulate significant scientific advancement in fields from physics to medicine to defense."

The NPI Photonics Industry Neuroscience Group is comprised of top U.S. industry leaders in optics and photonics including Accumetra, LLC, Agilent, Applied Scientific Instrumentation, Coherent, Hamamatsu, Inscopix, Inc., Spectra-Physics and THORLABS. The industry group has committed to investing an upwards of $30 million in existing and future research and development spending over the next three years to advance optics and photonics technology in support of the White House Brain Research through Advancing Imaging Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. Under the NPI, the industry consortium will work closely with national BRAIN Initiative leadership and neuroscience research communities to help achieve the administration's objective to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain.

ABOUT THE NPI: The National Photonics Initiative (NPI) is a collaborative alliance among industry, academia and government to raise awareness of photonics and the impact of photonics on our everyday lives; increase cooperation and coordination among US industry, government and academia to advance photonics-driven fields; and drive US funding and investment in areas of photonics critical to maintaining US economic competitiveness and national security. The initiative is being led by top scientific societies including the American Physical Society (APS), the IEEE Photonics Society, the Laser Institute of America (LIA), The Optical Society (OSA) and SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics (SPIE). For more information visit


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