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Harnessing Light

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Harnessing Light Committee has released a landmark report discussing the current state of optical sciences and goals for the future – Optics & Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation. The NAS study, which is a follow up to the Harnessing Light report published in 1998, identifies the technological and economic opportunities the science has enabled, assesses trends in market needs, gives examples of where progress in photonics innovation has translated into economic benefits, and makes recommendations for future research and policies that are intended to advance the optics and photonics discipline.

The NAS report examined the use of optics and photonics in seven content areas —communications, information processing and data storage; defense and national security; energy; health and medicine; advanced manufacturing; and strategic materials—focusing on the enabling nature of optics and photonics and their role in facilitating economic growth. The Harnessing Light committee members also made a number of specific recommendations on how to best capitalize on the opportunities optics and photonics provides.

OSA is planning several events and activities in conjunction with the release of Optics & Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation, including efforts to carry out the report's key recommendation - establishing a National Photonics Initiative (NPI) Check back with this page to stay up to date on these efforts.







Harnessing Light and Enabling a Brighter Future: A Conversation on the National Academy of Sciences Optics and Photonics Report – Get an overview of the NAS report Optics & Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation, and goals for the future in this short video discussion with Harnessing Light committee members.



Optical Science Trends for the Future – Watch OSA’s roundtable discussion at Stanford University, recorded August 21, 2012. National Academy of Sciences Harnessing Light committee members (Alan Wilner, Tom Baer, Milton Chang, David Miller and Ed White) discussed the NAS optics and photonics report Optics & Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation, the state of optical science and technology worldwide and opportunities for the future. View the roundtable slides.

Innovations in Optics and Photonics: Enabling Technology for Our Future


Read OSA's Executive Summary of the landmark NAS report Optics & Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation.

Optics & Photonics: Lighting a Path for the Future

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