I am a grade 11 student and I am very interested in learning about photonics. Can u please suggest me the various job opportunities in this field.
Thanking for your time
A relatively new subject, Photonics is the science of light and deals with the technology of generating controlling and understanding light waves and photons which are particles of light. Unaware to most of us, Photonics is present in or daily lives from smart phones to laptops to internet to medical instruments to manufacturing instruments (laser cutting) to security apparatus (infrared camera, remote sensing) to entertainment ((holography, laser shows). It is not amiss to say that this century will be intricately engaged with Photonics to the same extent as the 20th century depended on electronics.
Instruments and devices that work with light have numerous advantages over those that use electricity. Light travels ten times faster than electricity which means that data transmitted using light will travel further and faster than using electricity. Furthermore, visible-light and infrared beams, unlike electric currents, pass through each other without interacting, so they don’t cause interference. A single optical fibre has the capacity to carry three million telephone calls simultaneously replacing communication systems that use metal wiring.
Despite the growth in the industry finding qualified people remains a challenge as it is interdisciplinary field involving physics, chemistry and electrical engineering. At school students need to study science, math and subjects including physics, calculus and trigonometry. For electives they should study computer science and other computer related subject. It is said that the choice of University is extremely critical in forming a Photonic engineer. Universities like CREOL (College of Optics & Photonics at the University of Central Florida) or École Polytechnique have been at the forefront. University of Arizona, University of Rochester which was started at the behest of Kodak are other names which offer excellent courses in Photonics.
The central belt of Scotland is home to a growing number of startups specializing in Photonics, a bit similar to Silicon Valley except that the focus is not electricity making. Scotland is an extremely desirous place to study Photonics. More than half of UK’s research in Photonics is generated by a handful of Scottish Universities with Heriot Watt and St. Andrews taking the lead. Being a young, evolving subject, Photonic Engineers need to continuously keep abreast of new inventions and products by attending conferences, workshop and reading journals.