30 May 2012

Photonics growth on the horizon

Meeting the challenge of successfully converting research into innovation is a major goal of the European Commission's Horizon 2020 initiative, as Thierry Van der Pyl, Director of Components and Systems in the EC's Information Society and Media Directorate-General, discusses in this new SPIE.TV video interview.

Organized to leverage the interdisciplinary nature of solutions to challenges in energy, lighting, communications, healthcare, manufacturing other areas, Horizon 2020 aims to improve Europe's ability to transform knowledge into applications that have an economic impact through the strength of public-private partnership, Van der Pyl says.

Photonics is truly a vital part of the interdisciplinary mix, and well-deserving of its recognition by the EC as one of six Key Enabling Technologies. The June 2011 report of the High-Level Expert Group on Key Enabling Technologies estimated that the 5,000 photonics companies in the EU directly employed 300,000 people. Further, the report's estimate that more than 2 million jobs in the EU manufacturing sector depend directly on photonics products illustrates the infusion of technology throughout the economy.

What's next?

Recent research advances in solar energy, fiber sensors, biomedical imaging, and other areas of photonics were covered  by Van der Pyl, Demetri Psaltis (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), Lihong Wang (Washington University in St. Louis), Kyriacos Kalli (Cyprus University of Technology), and John Dudley (Université de Franche-Comté) in Hot Topics talks at last month's SPIE Photonics Europe.

Industry perspectives were also provided, and can be viewed in video presentation format:
The challenges exist -- and photonics is rich in potential solutions.

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