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        time:2020-09-17 source:browse:69

        Photonics is the physical science of light (photon) generation, inspection, and manipulation through emissiontransmissionmodulationsignal processing, switching, amplification, and sensing.[1][2] Though covering all light's technical applications over the whole spectrum, most photonic applications are in the range of visible and near-infrared light. The term photonics developed as an outgrowth of the first practical semiconductor light emitters invented in the early 1960s and optical fibers developed in the 1970s.


        The word 'photonics' is derived from the Greek word "phos" meaning light (which has genitive case "photos" and in compound words the root "photo-" is used); it appeared in the late 1960s to describe a research field whose goal was to use light to perform functions that traditionally fell within the typical domain of electronics, such as telecommunications, information processing, etc.[citation needed]

        Photonics as a field began with the invention of the laser in 1960. Other developments followed: the laser diode in the 1970s, optical fibers for transmitting information, and the erbium-doped fiber amplifier. These inventions formed the basis for the telecommunications revolution of the late 20th century and provided the infrastructure for the Internet.

        Though coined earlier, the term photonics came into common use in the 1980s as fiber-optic data transmission was adopted by telecommunications network operators.[citation needed] At that time, the term was used widely at Bell Laboratories.[citation needed] Its use was confirmed when the IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society established an archival journal named Photonics Technology Letters at the end of the 1980s.[citation needed]

        During the period leading up to the dot-com crash circa 2001, photonics as a field focused largely on optical telecommunications. However, photonics covers a huge range of science and technology applications, including laser manufacturing, biological and chemical sensing, medical diagnostics and therapy, display technology, and optical computing. Further growth of photonics is likely if current silicon photonics developments are successful.[3]

        Relationship to other fields[edit]

        Classical optics[edit]

        Photonics is closely related to optics. Classical optics long preceded the discovery that light is quantized, when Albert Einstein famously explained the photoelectric effect in 1905. Optics tools include the refracting lens, the reflecting mirror, and various optical components and instruments developed throughout the 15th to 19th centuries. Key tenets of classical optics, such as Huygens Principle, developed in the 17th century, Maxwell's Equations and the wave equations, developed in the 19th, do not depend on quantum properties of light.

        Modern optics[edit]

        Photonics is related to quantum opticsoptomechanicselectro-opticsoptoelectronics and quantum electronics. However, each area has slightly different connotations by scientific and government communities and in the marketplace. Quantum optics often connotes fundamental research, whereas photonics is used to connote applied research and development.

        The term photonics more specifically connotes:

        • The particle properties of light,
        • The potential of creating signal processing device technologies using photons,
        • The practical application of optics, and
        • An analogy to electronics.

        The term optoelectronics connotes devices or circuits that comprise both electrical and optical functions, i.e., a thin-film semiconductor device. The term electro-optics came into earlier use and specifically encompasses nonlinear electrical-optical interactions applied, e.g., as bulk crystal modulators such as the Pockels cell, but also includes advanced imaging sensors.

        Emerging fields[edit]

        Photonics also relates to the emerging science of quantum information and quantum optics. Other emerging fields include:


        • Optoacoustics or photoacoustic imaging where laser energy delivered into biological tissues will be absorbed and converted into heat, leading to ultrasonic emission.
        • Optomechanics, which involves the study of the interaction between light and mechanical vibrations of mesoscopic or macroscopic objects;
        • Opto-atomics, in which devices integrate both photonic and atomic devices for applications such as precision timekeeping, navigation, and metrology;
        • Polaritonics, which differs from photonics in that the fundamental information carrier is a polariton. Polaritons are a mixture of photons and phonons, and operate in the range of frequencies from 300 gigahertz to approximately 10 terahertz.
        • Programmable photonics, which studies the development of photonic circuits that can be reprogrammed to implement different functions in the same fashion as an electronics FPGA