Photonics Development and Promotion throughout Europe

Dr David Robbins, CPI' Chief Technology Officer, is an active member of the Lighting and Displays Working Group for the European Technology Platform, Photonics21. Established during December 2005 and led by industry, members of Photonics21 are defining and shaping the future of photonic research in Europe. Members of Photonics21 aim to pave the way for Europe's scientific, technological and economic leadership in photonics and to make Europe the world¡¦s leading knowledge-based economy.


Photonics is the science of harnessing light to benefit and meet the needs of society, a technology that started with the mastery of fire. Today, photonics drives many key industries including; microchip manufacturing, lighting, internet, communications, healthcare, electronic consumer products, data storage, displays, transportation, space, defense and automotive to name a few. European leadership in photonics is essential to the areas sustained prosperity and the economy.

The growing need to develop and apply new photonic technologies represents an opportunity for the North East of England, one that aligns firmly with One NorthEast's strategic focus to build and strengthen the region's high-tech base in the healthcare, process and energy sectors.

Photonics hence plays a key role in CPI technology footprint and programmes including the Plastic Electronics Technology Centre, Atomic Layer Deposition  Services, the Centre for Electronic Nano-Systems and the Photonic Materials Institute as well as DTI and EU projects directly supported by CPI such as TeraNova, a FP6 Integrated Project developing new technologies for mastering TeraHertz radiation.

Exploring Photonics Applications

In order to setup and implement a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA), Photonics21 has established 5 working groups exploring photonic applications in:

  • Information, Communication and Imaging
  • Lighting and Displays
  • Manufacturing and Quality
  • Life Sciences and Healthcare
  • Safety and Security

In April 2006 Alexander von Witzleben, Chief Executive Officer of Jenoptik and President of Photonics21, presented  the Photonics21 SRA entitled ¡§Towards a bright future for Europe¡¨ to Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for Information Society and Media. By setting up and implementing the SRA, the members of Photonics21 aim to pave the way for Europe's scientific, technological and economic leadership in photonics and, in the long term, making Europe the leading knowledge-based economic area in the world.

  • Establish strategic links among mainly SME based Photonics industries as well as towards key user industries and to align common R&D efforts accordingly;
  • Ensure that knowledge generated through research is transformed into leading-edge technologies and processes, and ultimately into marketable products and services which are competitive on a global scale;
  • Define medium to long-term research and technological development objectives and lay down markers for achieving them;
  • Provide for the necessary research environment capable of accelerating photonics research, enhancing co-operation, increasing public and private R&D investments and ensuring the mobilisation of the critical mass of resources.

Photonics21 has some 350 members from 27 counties, around 50% of which are from industry. Approximately 75% of the industrial members are from European SMEs.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by CPI.

For more information on this source, please visit CPI.

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