Optics and photonics

The health of photonics

The Institute of Physics has long been an advocate for further research and innovation funding into photonics and light-based technologies. We were a founding partner for the International Year of Light in 2015, which took place across 148 different countries and significantly raised the profile of this hugely beneficial but often overlooked technology.


Foreword to the report

The photonics industry in the UK contributes almost £13 bn to the economy. Despite this and its status as an enabling technology, multiple uses across numerous sectors means that the industry lacks a singular figure to champion the importance of photonics.

This is a report by the photonics community, for the photonics community, but it also acts as a primer to the forthcoming photonics revolution. As the UK prepares to leave the EU, it’s important to safeguard our economic prosperity going forward. Light-based technologies will be crucial in tackling the challenges laid out in the government’s industrial strategy.

Our programme has brought together business leaders in different sectors, as well as innovators in academia, to articulate how photonics ties together their sectors and how physics can support further industrial growth.

This report recommends further research and investment in photonics. It also emphasises the role that physics will play in maintaining the UK’s status as a global leader in light-based technologies.

The possible applications for light-based technologies are rapidly expanding. Investment, research and a clear industry profile will be central in positioning photonics-based advancements as important enabling technologies that underpin the government’s industrial strategy. The age of light is dawning, and its essential that the UK’s commitment and contribution to photonics technology remains internationally renowned.

Health of Photonics

The health of photonics: How light-based technologies are solving industry challenges, and how they can be harnessed to impact future economic growth

Download report (PDF, 3.02MB)