From medicine and manufacturing to communication, defense, and energy, photonics plays an important role in the U. S. economy and the lives of its citizens. That’s why the IEEE Photonics Society partnered with four other technical organizations to support the National Photonics Initiative in Washington D.C., USA on 28 February. More than 100 representatives from government and the photonics industry gathered for the day-long event to raise awareness of the importance of photonics and to strategize for its future.
As a follow-up to the groundbreaking National Academy of Sciences report “Optics & Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation,” the event consisted of two segments: a morning overview of work done by subcommittees and industry sharing their future needs, and afternoon breakout sessions covering the five key optics and photonics sectors — communication, defense, health and medicine, manufacturing, and energy. Attendees collected input and identified focus areas for a National Photonics Initiative (NPI), a key recommendation of the Optics & Photonics report.