What is photonics? To cut a few bends: it is electronics, where electrons are replaced by photons. Think microchips where data is transferred through light, rather than electrons. The promise of photonics is that the same amount of data processing can be done much faster (x1000) and with far less energy (x1000).
Data processing has long stopped being small-beer in terms of energy use. Bitcoin transactions alone, for instance, account for 0.55% of global electricity production, that’s the electricity consumption of Malaysia or Sweden. The internet world-wide consumes ca. 5% of all electricity produced.
A new Dutch photonics center PITC (Photonic Integration Technology Center) was inaugurated today on the premises of the University of Eindhoven. The new institute aims at linking new technological developments to concrete and scalable products, in cooperation with the TU Twente, TNO and PhotonDelta. The annual photonic chips market is estimated to be more than 500 billion euro in 2025. Eindhoven is excellently placed to become the world’s #1 photonics address, as it already is with silicon microchip technology. Everybody has heard of Intel, Apple, Samsung, TSMC, Huawei, but very few have heard of ASML, the world’s near monopolist in producing machines to produce microchips. To make a comparison, the companies mentioned are the bakers, where ASML produces the ovens:
This pattern could repeat itself with photonics.
(Yours faithfully is a product of this Eindhoven TUE – physics – Philips – ASML ecosystem, from father to son).
[ed.nl] – Eindhoven mikt op miljarden met nieuw fotonicacentrum
[tue.nl] – Netherlands tames the light in photonic chips
[wikipedia.org] – Photonics
[photonics.com] – What Is Photonics?
[newsline.news] – Innovation Center will accelerate the application of photonics
[photondelta.com] – Accelerating integrated photonics solutions
[tue.nl] – Institute for Photonic Integration
[pitc.nl] – Photonic Integration Technology Center (PITC)
[physicsworld.com] – Programmable photonic chip lights up quantum computing
[wikipedia.org] – Quantum computing
[smartphotonics.nl] – Eindhoven-based photonics company
[effectphotonics.com] – Eindhoven-based photonics company
[digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu] – Photonics (European Commission)
[innovationorigins.com] – Photonics, the world of superlatives, is Made In Brabant