Photonic Materials

Technical Applications


The specific technologies under photonic materials include semiconductor lasers, laser arrays, and detectors. These comprise the transmitters or sources and receivers used in any optical system. There are two basic classes of photonic materials: electronic materials with controllable and appropriate optical properties for optical-electronic transducers (GaAs and GaAlAs), and silica glasses for long-distance transmission of optical signals. In all of these applications the key components involve sensors and detectors, laser arrays, and communication networks.


Because they allow faster computing and transmission of information over wider bandwidths, photonic materials make a particularly important contribution to harnessing information technology by allowing distributed access to information ranging from multimedia entertainment to medical diagnostics.


The interoperability of information technologies with photonic materials and optoelectronic devices in general is critical for the entire communications industry. Photonic materials are also widely used for military applications. These include: communication and navigation, laser radar, electronic warfare, guidance and control of smart weapon systems and unmanned vehicles, sensors (including: sonar, gyro, and focal plane arrays), and simulation and training.