Before understanding photonics, we need to know about electromagnetic waves. Electromagnetic waves are electric and magnetic fields applied in perpendicular direction.What actually is photon?Photons are the component of light. Well, photons are a discrete packet of energy associated with electromagnetic waves. Though the photon has zero rest mass, it carries energy proportional to the radiation frequency. Now we can relate photonics as the properties and transmission of photons . In general terms photonics is the combination of photons and electronics. It’s the technology of generating, controlling and detecting lightwaves.
Photonics began with the invention of laser in 1960 following the laser diode in the 1970s,optical fibers for transmitting information, and the erbium-doped fiber amplifier. These inventions became the ingredients for the telecommunications revolution of the late 20th century which later became a privilege for the internet. The term photonics came into use in the 1980s after telecommunications network operators adopted fiber optic data transmission.
Optics is light moving through space and lenses. Photons are when light hits the sound and is turned into electrons and digital signals. Photonics is not a single term instead it is made up of various technologies like optics, quantum electronics, lasers, fibers etc. It commonly uses semiconductor based light sources like Light emitting diodes(LEDs), superluminescent diodes and lasers including single photon sources, fluorescent lamps, cathode ray tubes(CRTs) and plasma screens as other sources of light.
Photonics is the future of science. It’s application uses photons in the same way as electronics applications use electrons. The data transmitted photonically can travel longer distances in a fraction of the time since light travels at about 10 times the speed that electricity does. So devices that can run on light have a number of advantages over those that use electricity. Application of photonics has been versatile ranging from everyday life to the most advanced science like light detection, telecommunications, information processing,lighting and meteorology, laser material processing, visual art, agriculture and robotics.
Energy generation and energy efficiency are our key challenges which can be solved using photonics and light based technologies. Early detection of diseases with non invasive imaging techniques in the field of bio and medical sciences turns possible via use of light based technologies. Photonics technologies also play a crucial role in recognizing the needs of our ageing society from making pacemakers to synthetic bones and from endoscopes to the micro cameras used in in vivo processes. It is also used in advanced lighting technology such as solid state lighting(SSL) for general lighting amplification which provides higher quality lighting and contributes to substantial energy savings. The building of contactless sensors and visual applications operating in various ranges of the light spectrum has been possible because of photonics. These sensors are sufficiently sensitive and accurate enough to reliably detect potential hazards therefore being a key enabler for enhancing the safety and security of people, goods and the environment.
Photonics has numerous possibilities yet is presently constrained by numerous issues including the diffraction barrier, resolution limit and lack of penetration. Research shows shaping the intensity, phase and polarisation of light simultaneously can bring a breakthrough in photonics.
No doubt the application of photonics is ubiquitous, it’s important and economic application includes devices like optical data recording, fiber optic telecommunications, laser printing(based on xerography), displays, and optical pumping of high-power lasers.
In conclusion, the discovery of photonics is getting beautiful on a daily basis as it is offering new and unique solutions where today’s conventional technologies are approaching their limits in terms of speed,capacity and accuracy. Hence,the impact of photonics in our daily life is remarkable.