Thursday, May 23, 2013

National Photonics Initiative Seeks to Boost U.S. Competitiveness

A new National Photonics Initiative (NPI) has been established with a mission to advance areas of photonics critical to maintaining US competitiveness and national security.

Backers of the NPI include the American Physical Society (APS), IEEE Photonics Society, Laser Institute of America (LIA), the Optical Society (OSA) and SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

Specifically, the NPI was established to raise awareness about photonics and the impact of photonics on our everyday lives; increase collaboration and coordination among US industry, government and academia to advance photonics-driven fields; and drive US funding and investment in areas of photonics critical to maintaining US competitiveness and national security.

The first accomplishment of the NPI is a whitepaper with to guide government funding and private investment in five key photonics-driven fields: advanced manufacturing, communications and information technology, defense and national security, health andmedicine and energy. The group sees opportunities in 3-D printing, more efficient solar power, improved nuclear threat identification, more accurate cancer detection and the growth of Internet speeds and capacity.

"The EU, Germany, Korea, Taiwan and China all recognize the importance of photonics, and have taken action,” said SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs. “The Department of Defense, for example, has long supported photonics, and we have seen the advantage provided to our troops. But now more photonics research is needed to maintain our national security in the face of growing non-traditional threats. The time is now for the US to make the right investments in the crucial capabilities of the future."

"Our objective is to direct funding intelligently to research, implementation, education and training, with the ultimate goal of restoring US competitiveness, thereby improving our security, our economy and our quality of life," said LIA Executive Director Peter Baker.

http://www.lightourfuture.org

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