Besides generating and controlling light, photonics technology can rapidly disseminate and process large volumes of digital information. The interface of light with other materials renders it an ideal precision measurement, fine process, and diagnostic tool.
Speed, immunity from interference, increased bandwidth, and enhanced data storage capacity are some of the advantages of working with light. These attributes are channelling sizeable investments into photonics research activities.
"A single optical fiber can carry the equivalent of 300,000 telephone calls at the same time," states Technical Insights Analyst Michael Valenti. "Photonics technology also provides sufficient communication capacity to meet the forecast demand for fully interactive, multimedia, Internet services."
The rapid transition from an electronic to an optical telecommunications network is anticipated to spur multi-disciplinary efforts to take advantage of the advanced information-carrying ability of photons.
Apart from telecommunications, optical fiber and photonics technologies are likely to be deployed in other industrial applications. The most promising of these is biophotonics, a technology in which photonics are used to create novel procedures and techniques in varied life science arenas including biotechnology, microbiology, medicine, surgery, and veterinary medicine.
Says Valenti, "Photonics also has a growing reputation in solving clinical and research problems through advanced spectroscopy, laser, microscopy, and fiber-optic imaging."