Nobel Prizes show endless possibilities for photonics

Article posted 25 Nov 2014

This year's Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura, "for the invention of efficient blue LEDs which enabled bright and energy-efficient white light sources." In addition, this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry was assigned Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell, and W. E. Moerner, "for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy."

These are two of seven Nobel Prizes awarded in the field of light and photonics since the early century, an area that carries endless opportunities for innovation. In fact, many of the everyday things we take for granted today; the internet, touch screens, cameras, are made possible by photonics.

Emil Hällstig, Senior Optical Designer and Research Coordinator at Optronic, is certain that although photonics has changed the way we look at the world and in many ways revolutionized the technology, we’re only beginning to understand the possibilities laying ahead of us.

”The Nobel Academy’s acknowledgement in recent years of these outstanding researchers just goes to show the vast impact and importance of photonics,” he says. ”We have already seen a large number of new solutions based on these scientific breakthroughs and the possibilities for more are endless.

”These are very inspiring times for us in the photonics community, our clients and ultimately mankind.”

Things are looking bright in the field of light and photonics. Sweden alone have 150 companies with approximately 6000 employees in photonics and a turnover of 20 billion SEK. In addition to this, the Swedish photonics industry has a growth rate that is higher than average and an impressive capacity for innovation.

Despite the rapid development, Swedish investments are falling behind compared to many other countries in the EU, according to PhotonicSweden, which consists of a wide range of representatives of the domestic photonics industry, including Optronic.

They recently wrote an article in the Sweden’s leading technology publication, Ny Teknik, urging the newly elected government to carefully analyze the situation of EU KET’s, in which photonics is one of six, and make the investments needed – as is the case in many European countries. ”It’s surprising that Sweden doesn't make national investments similar to other members of the EU”, the authors points out.