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Photonics is the science and technology of generating and controlling photons, particularly in the visible light spectrum. The field of photonics has a strong interest in the use of photons to carry information. The science and applications of photonics are usually based on laser light. Polaritonics differs with photonics in that the fundamental information carrier is a phonon-polariton, which is an admixture of photons and phonons, and operates in the range of frequencies from 300 terahertz to approximately 10 terahertz. Photonics typically operates at frequencies on the order of hundreds of terahertz.
Overview of photonics research
The science of photonics includes the emission, transmission, amplification, detection, modulation, and switching of light. List of photonic devices includes lasers, LEDs, fiber optics, and photonic crystals. Applications of photonics range from light detection to communications and information processing.
Photonics as a science is closely related to quantum optics with a somewhat unclear boundary: fundamental research tends to be called quantum optics, and photonics is rather application related research (especially such trying to establish an electronics with photons instead of electrons -- hence the name).
History of photonics
One of the most important discoveries in Photonics to date is the photonic crystal followed by development of the photonic crystal fibre. This fibre optic cable is designed using photonic technology and is virtually lossless. The first example of a working PCF was reported by Jonathan Knight, Tim Birks and Philip Russell in 1996, members of the PPMG at the University of Bath, UK.
University programs in photonics
Many universities now have programs and facilities focused on photonics research, such as the Chitose Institute of Science and Technology in Chitose, Hokkaido, Japan. Also, Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, and Boston University all have a program in photonics.
- Photonic Band Gap website (http://www.pbglink.com/)
- University of Bath PPMG Site (http://www.bath.ac.uk/physics/groups/ppmg/intro.html)
- The Institute of Photonics at the University of Strathclyde (http://www.photonics.ac.uk/iop/facilities.htm)
- The Photonics Center at Boston University (http://www.bu.edu/photonics/)