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16 visions for photonics: the next 60 years

The first 60 years of SPIE's history have seen amazing
advances, but what will photonics enable in the next
60 years? SPIE Student Chapter leaders will be among
those creating the future. Several shared their visions recently
at SPIE Optics + Photonics.
Sixty years ago, in 1955, the world had not yet seen the first laser -- it had not yet been invented. Fiber optics were brand new, there were no artificial satellites circling the Earth, no humans had been in space, and the first solar cell was in early stages of development as was the first video recording machine. Smartphone? How can a phone be "smart"?

In that environment, a group of engineers working in optics and optoelectronics to build the first scientific cameras gathered in a restaurant in Hollywood, California, to discuss a shared challenge. They needed to use high-speed photography to solve design issues and create capabilities in industries from aerospace to communications and to advance research. But although individual labs were devising solutions that held potential for multiple other applications, there was no forum in which to share information.

Their solution: the formation of SPIE, the Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers.

Sixty years on, optics and photonics technologies are helping to solve many problems, in measurement and medicine, space exploration and community security, to name a very few areas.

All that is history -- what lies ahead?

Who better to ask that question of than those who will build the future?

Early-career professionals and student leaders at the SPIE Optics + Photonics 2015 conference held in San Diego, California, last month were invited to share their visions.

Based on what they're seeing, while photonics has made some amazing changes in the past 60 years, the future looks even brighter. Here are 16 visions shared in San Diego.

  1. "In 60 years, optics will revolutionize healthcare with noninvasive and nondestructive diagnostics and treatments." Goretti Hernandez, Yuliana Espinara, and Jorge Sanchez, Centro de Investigaciones en Óptica
  2. "Light-based communication technologies will break the walls between nations and allow us to have a united world." Sergio Corranza, Universidad de Guadalajara.
  3. "The Earth could find its sister 'Earth' and co-exist in the universe with the development of photonics in astronomy." Sumeet Shrestha
  4. "Photonics will bring radical change in methods of communication and data security." Bhogyashri Darunkar
  5. "Photonics will enable us to see hypothetical particles like quarks, bosons, and leptons." Neerad Nanadan, Dehli Technological University
  6. "The development and integration of photonics in medical diagnostics will allow us to detect diseases in the early stages and save thousands of lives." Olga Bibikova
  7. "Today's research on semiconductor LEDs and solar cells are going to rock and serve future generations." Amir and Shaheer, National Institute of Technology Tiruchirappalli
  8. "Classically, photonics will enable computing to be done exclusively with optics. Quantum mechanically, photonics will provide a quantum internet that connects quantum computers." Joe Cha, University of Rochester
  9. Photonic and optical technolgy will lead us to discover what dark matter really is and what its properties are." Aaron Farley, Three Rivers Community College
  10. "Light is life, keep it in mind! Photonics will be everywhere to improve lifestyle, technology, health, people, ideas, art, and science. 'Fiat lux,' let there be light for the next 60 years and more." Francesca Giacomello
  11. "A huge breakthrough in ways of data transferring and processing with the help of light." Olexii Hudz
  12.  "Photonics accelerates everything to the speed of the fastest element of the world: photon!" Hamidreza Kaviani, University of Calgary
  13. "The world will be LED by photonics." Abhishek, National Institute of Technology Goa
  14. "Photonics will help to get clean energy, new medical technology, and faster communication to connect the world." Brhayllan Mora, Universidad de Guadalajara
  15. "Photonics will change the world in the next 60 years by providing the new equipment to make visible the things which are invisible now." Than Singh Saini, Dehli Technological University
  16. "All of us will be attending these conferences in the holographic world:
    -- more participants :)
    -- no travel grants :(."
    Vivek Trivedi
    , University of Delhi at Acharya Narendra Dev College Chapter

What's your prediction for what changes photonics will enable 60 years from now?

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