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Future of Optics/Photonics?

  1. Sep 12, 2012 #1
    Right now, I am somewhat ignorant of the current developments in Optics/Photonics and as such have no clue on the what the future holds for the field. This is one of the fields I am considering for graduate school so the future of the field has a fair amount of weight in the decision to apply to the field.

    Are there new innovations in laser research and applications? Does it seem like there will be more in the future? Same question for basically the rest of Photonics. (Any research in Optics being done applying to Space Exploration would be a huuuuuge factor for me)

    I know this is asking for a fairly information heavy answer but any response would be greatly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 13, 2012 #2
    From my point of view, four of the big areas in terms of lasers (although, there are more):
    1) A laser that integrates well on a silicon platform.
    2) Nanoscale lasers (e.g. with cavities smallar than the wavelength).
    3) Lasers for EUV lithography.
    4) THz lasers.

    You should note though that building lasers are just one "small" area of research in optics. There's everybody else that uses lasers. If you want a good overview of current work in optics, I'd suggest browsing Optics & Photonics News (http://www.osa-opn.org/); [Broken] it's the general topic, higher-level magazine of the Optical Society of America (essentially the IEEE/APS/IOP of optics).
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Sep 13, 2012 #3
    There's also ultrafast lasers (recently, the shortest laser pulse created is 67 attoseconds long!) which can be used to study very fast phenomenon, not to mention create really neat non-linear effects. Random lasers are just starting to get studied and developed. Plasmonics is another very hot topic right now.
  5. Sep 13, 2012 #4
    This is a good summary. What is interesting is the contrast between the very small (e.g. solid-state lasers) and the very large (lasers for EUV and laser accelerators). By the way, accelerators based on free-electron lasers and the wakefield acceleration principle are starting to really blow up.

    So, while no one knows the future I would say the future for laser research is very, very bright.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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