Future Horizons for Photonics Research 2030 and Beyond

In collaboration with the All-Party Parliamentary Group in Photonics and Quantum, the PLG undertook a ground breaking horizon scan of the future of photonics research 2030 and beyond.  The PLG brought together 26 of the UK’s leading photonics researchers from 20 different institutions to ask “what will be the focus of photonics research a decade and more from now?

70 research topics were identified that will be the focus of future photonics research spanning materials, optical phenomenon, manufacturing processes, devices and systems.  Identified highlights include significant developments in existing areas of research, such as integrated photonics, and new areas such as biodegradable photonics. 

Recognising all R&D takes place in an ever developing socio-economic environment, the report also identifies 9 major challenges that photonics will have a key role in addressing. Ranging from future mobility, healthy-aging and real-time secure communications to responsive manufacturing, food production and defence; it is clear that  photonics not only already makes a major contribution to society, but will be absolutely instrumental in addressing the challenges of the future.

The report makes 7 clear recommendations to translate the identified topics into funded research balanced across all domains.  The recommendations also call on those working in vertical markets to integrate this future vision into their technology roadmaps to ensure the very best and most advance photonics is rapidly pulled through into applications for the benefit of all.

Released in September 2020 the report has been described by some of the UK’s leading photonics researchers as “an excellent and timely report” capturing how much  “it is an exciting time for the field”, it is hoped the highlighted topics stimulate discussion on the future directions for photonics as well as inspire the next generation of researchers.