Photonics or optoelectronics is a scientific and technical discipline that deals with the interaction between light (photons) and electrons (electronics). It is therefore about elements that convert electrical current into light (light source) and elements that convert light into electrical current (light detector).
The light sources do not include the traditional incandescent lamp and fluorescent lamp, but rather the LED (light-emitting diodes, in short light-emitting diodes) and the lasers, especially semiconductor lasers. Also included are plasma screen, CRT cathode ray tube, TFT (thin film technology) screens and LCD (liquid crystal displays). The detectors include traditional thermal sensors and video consoles, and in particular CCD (charge-coupled devices) cameras and the photodiode.
Typical for photonics is the frequent use of 3-5 and 2-6 semiconductors instead of the traditional silicon (and germanium). Silicon and germanium belong to group 4 of the periodic table of the elements. The photonics uses compounds such as gallium arsenide (GaAs) and aluminum gallium arsenide (AlGaAs). These are connections of elements from group 3 and group 5 of the Mendeleev table (the periodic table). Indium telluride (InTe) and zinc sulfide (ZnS) also find applications. These are connections of elements from groups 2 and 6 of the Mendeleev table.
Practical applications of photonics can be found in many sectors. There are screens for computers, webcams, lasers for reading and writing CD and DVD discs, LEDs for indication, semiconductor lasers or LEDs and diodes for communication on optical fibers, cameras for surveillance, night vision devices, optical systems for targeting weapons, optical temperature measurement, infrared viewer and so on. This also includes a solar cell to convert the energy from sunlight into electricity.
The cluster Photonics combines science and industry in the Netherlands.
We focus photonics4society & international standards. Through..
We are a cluster group comprised by sciences and industry.