Photonics: Lighting a New Pathway in Engineering

By George

Science has so many layers that one might just wonder, what not can be covered by this discipline. Moreover, such variety creates more opportunities for those who are interested in thevarious areas.

One such scientific study is that of Light. Yes! You read that right. There is a field of study of light and everything that light circumferences, it is called Photonics.

Photonics: Lighting a New Pathway in Engineering


What is Photonics?

Photonics is the physical science of light or photon. The generation, control, and detection of photon particles come under this area of study. The relevance of photonics have grown because of the need of light in the various aspects of communications, imaging, health care and medicine, defense, optics and electronics,homeland security, aerospace, solid state lighting and many other areas.

It can be used to explore the space to know more about the ever mysterious universe and at the same time can be used in the field of medicine to assist in the process of curing diseases. Photonics is highly used when it comes to processing and transmitting of information. Optic fibers and lasers are considered as the best carriers of information because light can easily pass through the cables and lasers provide a broad bandwidth.

History of Photonics

The word photonics comes from the Greek word, photos which means light. It made its appearance in the 1960s when technological advancement took a high jump and attempted an upgrade from the traditional use of electronics to that of light.

With the advent of the use of lasers, there was an increase in the use of optic fibers. This led to the revolution of communication with the introduction of Internet and gave way for the field of photonics to grow.

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What would you be doing in Photonics?

All around the globe, scientists and innovators use photonics in developing the best technology. There is a rise in global demand for photonics scientists and engineers. Scientists focus on the more research oriented part of photonics while engineers focus on the creation of tools that are used in the field of photonics.

The first choice for a person who specializes in photonics would be to work in telecommunications, which includes optical fiber sensors, lasers amplifiers, and imaging of photonic devices.

Companies that have specialization in photonics, use the technology to design, manufacture and test the photonic equipment. They require people with expertise in the field of photonics to continue these processes. They have to create prototypes of the ideas and make sure that the equipments are innovated to do their jobs.

The laser is used for cutting and welding and therefore has a very important role to play when it comes to manufacturing in an industry. Photonic graduates play crucial roles, in such areas of engineering where photonics is used.

Also Read: What is Instrumentation Engineering? Scope and Career Opportunities

How to kick-start your career in Photonics?

Just like any other career in engineering, Photonics requires the aspirants to know their calculus, physics, chemistry and mathematics like the back of their hand. Knowledge in computer science as an addition would certainly increase one's chances in building a bright future.

As the course is very rare, one will have to get a B. Tech or BE and continue for specialization in Photonics in their masters.

Following the completion of the undergraduate program, one must take up their Masters or Post-graduate program and specialize in the field of Photonics.

Most of the institutes and colleges require the aspirant to have passed with a 50 per cent marks in their undergraduate degree. Several institutes offer a Bachelor of Science program in Photonics, after which one can follow the Master of Science in Photonics course.

Interested aspirants can continue their studies to achieve a Doctorate in the same field.

Job Opportunities in Photonics

  • Optical design Engineer
  • Doctoral Research Associate
  • Senior Staff Engineer
  • RF Photonics Scientist

Remuneration in Photonics

A photonics researcher or scientist is usually provided with a monthly salary ranging from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 35,000, apart from additional perks and benefits. The pay increases as experience and knowledge of the person grow. The annual pay package in foreign countries is extremely high and attractive compared to what is offered in India. The average salary of a photonics engineer is $95,000 per year in the US. The initial salary starts from $52,010 and go up to $150,830

Top Institutes offering courses in Photonics in India

Top Institutes offering courses in Photonics around the world

  • Imperial College London
  • The Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences (IPAQS) , Heriot-Watt University
  • College of Engineering, University of Arizona
  • Princeton University, NJ
  • Boston University

So are you ready to spread some light?

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