Photonics can be defined as the discipline that deals with the generation, propagation and detection of light. It is arguably one of the most important technologies in the 21st century. It already influences all aspects of our lives and is essential to Ireland's future industrial and economic competitiveness. For example, photonics is integral to information communication technologies, biotechnology, manufacturing, and lighting. Photonics is a key strategic technology for innovation; it enables new products that multiply the value of initial photonics components and technologies many times over. Photonic technologies have already revolutionized the worldwide exchange of information; it forms the technological backbone of the World Wide Web. Photonics, and in particular digital imaging, has transformed photography, lasers have enabled new manufacturing techniques unrealized heretofore, optical sensors and visual displays are revolutionizing bio-diagnostics, health care provision, and industrial production. The many ways in which photonics has disrupted, and yet enables, the knowledge-based society in which we live is endless. It is therefore reasonable to predict that the impact of these technologies in the future, particularly as they converge with others, will become ever more important as we enter this “photon century”.
More information about the programme for 2009 is available in the Lightschool package.