Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Bright careers in photonics

Photonics has a bright future ahead and offers glittering career prospects for European scientists. A European training network has been established to help equip a new generation of researchers with skills in the field.
Bright careers in photonics
Given that photonics deals with the generation and manipulation of light, it is appropriate that this cutting-edge field has become a beacon of European success with ever-brighter prospects ahead. Already, in 2006, the sector was worth EUR 49 billion in revenues, with the potential to exceed microelectronics in the coming years.

In light of this potential, photonics is recognised by the EU as a key enabling technology that drives innovation. However, one key challenge remaining for the sector is the shortage of qualified personnel, as identified by the European Technology Platform Photonics21.

PROPHET (Postgraduate research on photonics as an enabling technology) was an EU-funded Initial Training Network project helping to fill this skills shortage. The project has successfully trained 14 early-stage researchers and 5 young but experienced researchers.

With support from the People sub-programme of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the PROPHET consortium comprised nine partners from academia, four from industry and two associated partners. It has furnished the participating fellows with a whole spectrum of relevant know-how: growth and fabrication, structural and device characterisation and theory, instrument assembly, and also industrial applications.

With input from both academia and industry, fellows have also gained experience in how to leverage and apply fundamental knowledge, particularly in the areas of communications, energy, environment and life science.

In particular, fellows successfully developed high-performance mode-locked lasers with very high data transmission. Another major achievement has been demonstration of the world-first novel solar cell with enhanced light trapping thanks to patterning the cell from both sides, and extended photoresponse beyond 1 μm. Work also included the development of novel diode lasers for high-sensitivity optical gas sensing applications as well as new tunable laser sources for optical coherence tomography.

Over the course of four years, the PROPHET network organised four workshops, a summer school and a conference. Dissemination activities also included over 80 research papers in journals and book chapters.

Related information

Keywords

Photonics, enabling technology, PROPHET, mode-locked lasers, optical coherence tomography
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