What do lasers, fibre-optic cables for Internet connections and some medical devices have in common?
The answer: they all use light.
Over the years, researchers from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have studied ways to create and control light, a field known as photonics, to find new uses for the versatile technologies and material in telecommunications, healthcare, robotics, the military, transport, space and other fields.
Now, a group of researchers led by NTU’s Photonics Institute have formed a consortium that will help coordinate the projects, consolidate the diverse research and ensure that the laboratory work makes the leap into commercial products and services that can help people.
The Lux Photonics Consortium, founded by nine academic researchers and 13 leading industry players, has won the backing of the National Research Foundation (NRF), which has so far funded nine research programmes related to the group’s work.
For a start, the consortium will focus on five areas
including optical and laser applications, lighting and displays,
optoelectronics and biophotonics, nanophotonics and metamaterials, and
fibre technologies, which transmit data coded in a beam of light.
The Photonics Institute (TPI) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has already partnered Technolite Singapore, a firm which supplies and installs lighting features for infrastructural projects, to improve light-emitting diodes or LEDs for use in facades.
The Lux consortium has also planned workshops, seminars, short courses, conferences and networking events for people in the photonics field, and will publish newsletters to keep them abreast of news in academia and industry.
Looking farther afield, talks with the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC) is underway to boost cross-border collaborations between their members. Planned reciprocal trade visits will help the members better understand one another’s work and find commercial partners.
The consortium also plans to rope in other photonics research groups and industries in the region to become a regional network for academics and companies.
to find out more.