About Optics and Photonics

What are Optics and Photonics?

Specialized Fields of Physics and Engineering

From fiber optics and telecommunications to medical imaging and cancer research, optics and photonics are advancing today’s critical technologies.  Based on the science of light, optics and photonics are specialized fields of physics and engineering. These technologies are prevalent in almost every aspect of day-to-day life. From your computer screen to your cell phone and car headlights, optics and photonics are critical technologies that will continue to grow and enhance people’s lives.

Enhancing the Quality of Life in Many Areas

Medicine and Health

Optics and photonics are utilized in numerous medical devices that help to save lives. Imaging equipment used for CAT, MRI and PET scans, as well as mammography, aid in the diagnosis of disease.

Defense and Homeland Security

Science and engineering research is the basis for many of the technologies currently being deployed to prevent and detect chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and conventional terrorist attacks, as well as treat victims.


Fiber optics connect the world through high-speed communications. In fact, the Internet was developed by optics researchers. Today’s optics research is bringing higher-speed communications to our homes via fiber technology − enabling advanced data transmissions, like video streaming, and other broadband applications. 

Consumer Technologies

Many of today’s “must-have” technologies such as digital cameras, high definition TVs and smart phones, were developed through optics and photonics research. Further research is expected to yield even more consumer products designed to enhance quality of life.