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History and photonics innovation
Photonics technology is the successor to electronics, which supported the 20th century, and is now moving into the spotlight as the technology to lead science, industry, and society in the 21st century. Photons differ from electrons, which are charged particles, and are gentle messengers—gentle probes—for humans transmitted freely through the air, water and living organisms. In order to explore the latest photon science, open the way for next-generation science and industries that utilize photons, and nurture human resources to lead the future of phonics, Osaka University has been pursuing its own project entitled the “Nanophotonics Research Initiative”, and in July 2007, established the Photonics Advanced Research Center (PARC) as a program for establishing bases for the generation of innovation in cutting-edge transdisciplinary fields sing special coordination funds for promoting science and technology.
Optics is the foundation of physics, and the historical development of astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, and biology would also have been unthinkable without optical research. As the curtain rises on the 21st century, optics has spawned nanotechnology, biotechnology, life science, and IT, and historically Osaka University has been known as a mecca for optical science, bringing together the largest number of optical science researchers in Japan and blazing a path for such fields as optics, spectroscopy, photochemistry, and photobiology. Now, under the key word of “photonics”, we are constructing a framework for accelerating innovation by organically consolidating three enterprises: the Photonics Advanced Research Center (PARC), which aims to generate industrial innovation through industry-academia collaboration; the Photonics Eco-life Technology Development Center, which promotes the development of environmental, energy, and health technology; and the Advanced Nano Photonics Research and Education Center in Asia, which promotes photonics research and education in the Asian region and throughout world. Going forward, the Photonics Center aims to create new photonics industries, transforming the hills of Senri into a “Photonics Hills” where photonics industries accumulate. In priority fields such as the environment and energy, photonics is expected to contribute even more widely and deeply in the future. When this happens, “optical science” is sure to fulfill its role as an innovator for a new era as “photonics”, the science of cross-interaction between photons and nanomaterials. Photonics can be said to be a basic technology that both leads and combines 21st century science, industry, and society and generates innovation. Breaking down the walls of previous academic systems, photonics is sure to realize the new mode of research described by Michael Gibbons as “transdisciplinarity”
INOUYE Yasushi, Executive Director/Professor