UK photonics leaders have identified four grand challenges for the industry to address over the next 5 to 10 years.
Delivering Internet 5.0, where data delivery is ubiquitous, invisible and instantaneous to all people and all factories, no matter where they are or what they are doing. I5_0 will break the link between digital demand and economic, energy and security costs that is constraining productivity and, if unresolved, will constrain the digital economy.
Affordable, accurate location information, overcoming security threats and enabling autonomous vehicles with instantaneous awareness of rapidly changing local surroundings. Light, in its many forms, has long been used to capture information remotely, the challenge is to make detection adaptable, flexible, infallible and compatible with all situations.
Enabling UK manufacture of the car of the future, with advanced digital manufacturing using light to process, monitor and control cutting, joining, marking and assembly for lighter weight, safer, more efficient vehicles. Already deployed at key processing steps, wide deployment of digital laser manufacturing and laser metrology and extension to new materials will be critical for automotive production and raising productivity in UK manufacturing.
Making home healthcare as effective as hospital care by 2030, by providing simple pre-clinical diagnoses and health screening tools for use in the home and pharmacy, decreasing the load on primary and hospital. As light penetrates the skin, it can be deployed in non-sterile user-friendly methods to significantly improve healthcare productivity enabling health professionals to focus on patients most in need of their time.
Extensive consultation with industry has identified these grand challenges for the industry to address over the next 5 to 10 years. These challenges require fundamental new approaches and innovations stretching beyond incremental improvement of existing technology. Solved, whole or in part, they will make major impact on society both in the UK and globally. They are all area where the UK has a heritage of innovation and implementation providing a knowledge base from which to draw solution and an industry base with which to deploy them.