National Photonics Initiative

National Photonics Initiative

The National Photonics Initiative (NPI) is a partnership between government, academia and industry to focus attention and funding on photonics research and development.

NPI Webinar: Achieving the Goals of the National Cancer Moonshot through Adoption of New and Enhanced Technologies and a Transformed IT Health System Confirmation

NPI Sends Letter to Chairman Lamar Smith on LIGO

NPI Neuroscience Group Convenes Industry, Federal Agency Officials for BRAIN Initiative Update 

National Photonics Initiative Commends LIGO Scientists, National Science Foundation on Greatest Physics Discovery of the Century

NPI Webinar: An Update on AIM Photonics

The NPI hosted a webinar to update the photonics community on the goals, operating structure and progress to date of AIM Photonics, the country’s first photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation. Speakers included Dr. Alan Willner, chair, NPI Steering Committee; Dr. Thomas L. Koch, chair, Technical Review Board, AIM Photonics; and Dr. Tom Baer, past chair, NPI Steering Committee.  Watch now.

Consortium Selected for Manufacturing Institute

On July 27, 2015 at an event in Rochester NY, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden announced the New York consortium was selected to manage the Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation (IP-IMI), which will now be known as the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics). 
For more information about the announcement, please visit:

OSA News Release
NPI News Release
White House Fact Sheet
IP-IMI webpage on

NPI Background

In 2012, the US National Research Council released a report calling for a National Photonics Initiative (NPI)  -- a partnership between government, academia and industry to focus attention and funding on photonics research and development.

Heeding the call, OSA and four society partners brought together more than 100 experts to assemble recommendations to help guide US funding and investment in five key photonics-driven fields. New opportunities in these fields offer the potential for great societal impact in the next few decades. The coalition of societies includes NPI founding sponsors OSA and SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and sponsors the American Physical Society, the IEEE Photonics Society, and the Laser Institute of America.

Watch the May 23, 2013 National Photonics Initiative Roll-Out Webinar.

Get involved in the NPI's outreach efforts.

Key Technology Fields

Photonics-based technologies have the potential to reshape our energy future into one that is cleaner, more efficient, and more secure. The renewable energy sector may soon bring significant job growth, lower energy consumption, reduced reliance on oil, and a revitalized economy. Industry experts predict that photovoltaic (PV) generated power could grow to a $500 billion global market over the next 20 years and that solid-state lighting could cut US lighting electricity usage in half by the year 2030.

Health & Medicine
From laser eye surgery to MRIs, photonics is responsible for medical advances that save and dramatically improve millions of lives. Photonics plays a key role in next-generation health care with the global biophotonics market expected to reach $99 billion by 2018.

Information technology & Communications
Photonics is the key enabling technology behind the $4.7 trillion global IT/Telecom industry, accounting for approximately six percent of the total world GDP. Currently, no existing technology solution can provide for the expected 100-fold increase in bandwidth demand expected over the next 10 to 20 years.

The use of photonics technologies in advanced manufacturing has improved key factors of products such as size, weight, performance, and cost. The most versatile machine tool of the 21st century, lasers are used by industry to cut sheet metal, repair memory circuits, fabricate LEDs, and produce customizable arterial stents for life-saving by-pass surgery.

Defense & National Security
Photonic integration enables increased performance, manufacturability, stability, and cost savings throughout the defense and security infrastructure, including communications, intelligence, navigation, electronic warfare, and sensing systems.

Get Involved

Interested in supporting the NPI and helping to raise the profile of U.S. optics and photonics? Here is how you can get involved and help spread the word:
  • Become an official NPI partner. Partnership opportunities come in two levels  – Collaborator and Supporter – to provide options that fit any size company. Download the participant guidelines or email Laura Kolton ( to get started.
  • Take your case to Washington, D.C. OSA can help arrange for your members of Congress to attend an event at your place of business, or set up one-on-one meetings with your legislators in Washington or their local offices. Email  to get started.  We can provide you a step by step guide, contact information, and sample materials.
  • Tap your social media network. Post about the NPI on your Facebook or LinkedIn pages and add a link to the website, or Tweet optics and photonics using #NPI and links to the website.
  • Write and op-ed or letter to the editor to your local newspaper about the NPI and the important of optics and photonics to the local community. Email for samples and guidance.
For more information on the NPI contact Laura Kolton, (202) 416-1499 or

Watch OSA CEO Liz Rogan talk about why the NPI is so important.

Watch additional videos celebrating the official release of the National Research Council landmark report “Optics & Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation”.

Join the Optics Legislative Network - OSA's grassroots email list. Sign up today.

Note: Non-OSA members can sign up for the OLN by emailing