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Photonics societies launch National Photonics Initiative

Categories Biometrics News  |  Trade Notes

The American Physical Society, IEEE Photonics Society, Laser Institute of America and the Optical Society and SPIE, the International Society of Optics and Photonics, have come together to launch the National Photonics Initiative (NPI).

The Photonics Initiative aims to be a collaborative alliance seeking to unite industry, academia and government experts to identify and advance areas of photonics critical to maintaining US competitiveness and national security.

Photonics generates, controls and detects light to advance manufacturing, robotics, medical imaging, next-generation displays, defense technologies as well as image processing for biometric technology.

“Life without photonics is almost unimaginable. From the moment you wake up to the alarm on your smartphone, to swiping your credit card to pay for coffee, to logging into your computer and connecting with the world through the Internet, photonics makes it possible,” OSA CEO Elizabeth Rogan said. “The NPI will work to advance photonics in the areas that are most critical to the US, like improving the economy, creating jobs, saving lives and sparking innovation for future generations.”

According to the group, in 2012, the National Research Council released “Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for our Nation” that called for a national photonics initiative to regain US leadership in key photonic-driven fields. In response to that call, the NPI was established.

As part of the NPI effort, more than 100 experts from industry, academia and government collaborated to draft a white paper entitled “Lighting the Path to a Competitive, Secure Future,” detailing recommendations to guide funding and investment in five key photonics-driven fields: advanced manufacturing, communications and information technology, defense and national security, health and medicine and energy.

“There are thousands of companies that have sprung up in the last decade or so that produce the photonics devices and systems that we all depend on now, but there’s plenty of room for growth,” said Richard Linke, executive director of the IEEE Photonics Society.

More information, as well as the group’s white paper is available on the NPI’s website: http://www.lightourfuture.org/ 

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