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M Squared has worked with the University of Strathclyde to develop the Maxwell quantum-computing platform, shown here during commissioning works (Courtesy: M Squared)

Photonics lights up quantum promise

Photonics is the key behind recent advances made in quantum technologies, finds Susan Curtis

Electro Optics’ Matthew Dale tries out a pair of smart glasses equipped with Lumus’ reflective waveguide technology at SPIE AR | VR | MR

Reflective waveguides bring augmented reality to life

At SPIE AR | VR | MR in San Francisco, Matthew Dale learnt that reflective waveguides are now poised to enter consumer technologies

Carmen Palacios-Berraquero, Nu Quantum; Scott Faris, Infleqtion; and Denise Ruffner, Women in Quantum shared their thoughts on quantum challenges at Photonics West

Quantum photonics: What keeps executives awake at night?

Quantum executives cited everything from staff shortages and production scaling to a need for new laser technologies, smaller optics, more industry investment and clearer commercial use cases

Daniel Bukaty, President of PG&O, on how a more flexible approach to material selection could protect optics manufacturing lead times against material shortages

Embracing flexibility in optics manufacturing

Daniel Bukaty, President of PG&O, on how a more flexible approach to material selection could protect optics manufacturing lead times against material shortages

OroraTech’s Forest-1 nanosatellite carries a thermal infrared detector to detect wildfires in low Earth orbit. Image: OroraTech

Lasers and sensors offer bird’s eye view on climate change

In orbit, in the air or even on the ground, photonics technologies give us a precise big picture on climate change, discovers Ben Skuse

Crucial point-of-care comes closer

Delivering diagnostics at the time of testing improves healthcare outcomes, but requires photonics firms who develop optical sensing technologies such as spectroscopy, to adapt to the changing needs of the medical sector

A picture perfect free-space broadcast

Designers, builders and operators of free-space networks can leverage LWIR quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) to achieve multi Gb/s data transfer rates. Find out how

Microcracks in solar cells can eventually cause an entire solar panel to shatter

How to increase solar panel inspection speeds

As the solar industry continues to grow, so does the need to quickly and cost-effectively inspect solar panels for distortion, cracks, chips and contamination

Organoid imaged with Andor’s desktop confocal microscope system, the BC43. Credit: Andor

Photonics helps advanced microscopes become more accessible

As microscopes become ever more powerful, a growing band of businesses are racing to make the latest technologies more accessible and more affordable, reports Rebecca Pool

Illustration of a three-dimensional crystal with various types of confining centres. (a) Crystal with four confining centres, each trapping waves (yellow) in all three dimensions simultaneously. (b) Crystal with a linear confining centre where waves can propagate in one dimension, analogous to an optical fibre. (c) Crystal with a planar confining centre where waves can propagate in two dimensions, analogous to a 2D electron gas. (Image: Vos et al.)

Researchers further understanding of wave behaviour in photonic crystals

Newly discovered fundamental rules have been embedded into software to dramatically optimise the design of photonic integrated circuits, Matthew Dale finds

Attosecond x-ray science could soon be within the grasp of not only the wider scientific community but industry as well. Image: Tau Systems

Attosecond science for all

Attosecond pulses have already provided glimpses of fundamental ultrafast processes. Benjamin Skuse asks: what might be achieved if access were broadened to the wider world?

Increased visibility

A unique Crystal Laser Core (CLC) is unlocking multiple applications in the yellow and green wavelength range

Hamza Farah is undertaking a one-year photonics internship at the UK’s Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult

Photonics: The next generation | Part two: Hamza Farah

Ahead of the Day of Photonics, we're asking with those at the start of their photonics careers what’s important to them in their work. Next up: Hamza Farah, Photonics Intern

The ALD system could be used to coat complex augmented, virtual and mixed reality optics at higher efficiency

Coating complex freeform optics

Tim Reynolds speaks to Gerd-Albert Hoffmann, head of the Optics Integration Group at Laser Zentrum Hannover, about a new spatial atomic layer deposition system

Gabriella Gardosi and her colleagues at the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies have developed a new method for fabricating ultralow-loss optical microresonators

Photonics: The next generation | Part one: Gabriella Gardosi

Ahead of the Day of Photonics, we're asking with those at the start of their photonics careers what’s important to them in their work. First up: Research Student Gabriella Gardosi.

My first 18 months in photonics

It is now just over two years since I graduated from the University of Leicester with a first-class honours degree in physics with space science. I remember being asked 'Are you looking forward to taking the skills from your degree and putting them to work in the professional world?' I laughed. I had no idea how to make use of the knowledge I’d gained in Raman Spectroscopy, CMOS vs CCD technology or thermography in the real world. And yet, by the time you read this, I’ll have spent 18 months in an industry I didn’t know existed when I started my job hunt in 2020. 

Coating to protect and serve chalcogenide glass

The properties of chalcogenide glass optics have opened up a number of use cases in infrared optics applications and beyond. This article assesses how some of the associated manufacturing and handling challenges of this material can be overcome

Optical technologies offer researchers a powerful new toolkit to explore the structure and function of the brain. (Image: Sergey Nivens/

Fibre guides optogenetics to brain breakthroughs

Advances in optical fibres and microscale LEDs are furthering neuroscientists’ understanding of the brain, Susan Curtis discovers

The nulling interferometry devices under development at Caltech’s Exoplanet Technology Laboratory cancel out starlight to help detect and identify foreign worlds. (Credit: Shutterstock/Dotted Yeti)

Emerging astrophotonics technologies

Nemanja Jovanovic, lead instrument scientist at Caltech’s Optical Observatory and Exoplanet Technology Laboratory, on emerging astrophotonic technologies on his radar

Robert Smith is a professor at the University of Alberta and historian to JWST since 2002

James Webb: An optical success story

As James Webb Space Telescope beams back images from the edge of space and time, space historian Robert Smith recalls some of the decisions made to bring the $10bn NASA project to fruition. David Stuart reports

Optical benches at Politecnico di Milano, the general coordinator of the Crimson project. Credit: Politecnico di Milano

Remedy for medical photonics innovation

It can take a village to bring a medical photonics device to market, Benjamin Skuse discovers

Driving lidar forward

How automotive companies can choose the right lidar technology for their applications, by Gemma Church

3D printed Fresnel lens combining diffractive elements with refractive surfaces. Credit: Nanoscribe

Printed optics reach imaging performance

Benjamin Skuse investigates some impressive additive methods for producing polymer and glass optics for imaging

The space sector offers numerous oppurtunities for photonics technologies in the development and offering of satellite-based services. (Image: Shutterstock/Dima Zel)

Looking skyward: Photonics opportunities in space

The ongoing commercialisation of the space sector is creating numerous opportunities for photonics technologies, Matthew Dale learns

Preliminary testing of the quantum gravity gradiometer designed by Michael Holynski and colleagues at the University of Birmingham, which has now been shown to locate an underground tunnel with a positional accuracy of 20cm. Credit: Crown Copyright

Underground quantum sensing set to erupt

Susan Curtis explores the new breed of quantum gravimeters finding their way onto the slopes of Mount Etna and into tunnels deep under Birmingham

Ams Osram’s multi-junction VCSELs are helping to improve automotive lidar. Credit: Ams Osram

VCSELs rev up for life in the fast lane

Multi-junction vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers are likely to displace LEDs and edge-emitting lasers in sensing, finds Andy Extance

At this year’s EPIC AGM Matthew Dale learned that increasing advocacy efforts is a must to ensure an ideal future for European photonics

What exactly does our industry need? Advocacy!

At this year’s EPIC AGM Matthew Dale learned that increasing advocacy efforts is a must to ensure an ideal future for European photonics

Building a new semiconductor fab can cost more than €10bn. Credit: Imec

Subsidising a way out of semicon shortages

Proposed multi-billion dollar and euro packages look set to increase uptake of leading-edge lithography, including for photonic technologies, finds Andy Extance

Mathias Bochow, GFZ Helmholtz Centre, Potsdam, is working on the Trace project to track marine plastic. Credit: Frank Schweikert, Aldebaran Marine Research & Broadcast  (

The hyperspectral view from space

Abigail Williams speaks to scientists tracking marine plastic using satellite spectral imagery

The Central Laser Facility’s Vulcan laser amplifier and mirror bench, R1, at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, 26 January 2015. Credit: Science and Technology Facilities Council

Ultrafast gets ultra-small

Katrina Wesencraft outlines engineering and optical challenges involved in shrinking ultrafast lasers, all the way down to tiny devices for sending into space

Metalens imaging simulation in Synopsys BeamProp BPM tool. Credit: Synopsys

Scaling challenges of metasurfaces

Greg Blackman explores the optical design approaches for modelling metasurfaces

PureLiFi has launched a LiFi system for the home. LiFi at Home has a downlighter that fits into standard GU10 lightbulb fittings. Credit: PureLiFi

LiFi comes to life

Laser-based technology and sophisticated modulation schemes could help deliver on future demands for high data volumes, finds Andy Extance

Shining a light on intensified imaging

Keely Portway investigates how the latest developments in specialised intensifier cameras have allowed opportunities for a number of exciting specialist applications in low-light scenarios

Image intensifiers help to increase the intensity of the available light in a system, which allows better image reproduction in low-light scenarios. This specialist technology is used in a range of applications, including biotechnology, industry, research and astronomy. 

The technology for optical systems generation is becoming increasingly diversified, while each stage of the fabrication chain is becoming deeper and more specialised. (Image: PanDao)

Do you speak optica? Streamlining optics fabrication

Matthew Dale reports on efforts to modulate and streamline in softwareoptical system design and fabrication