The 20th century was the century of the electron. But that’s old news. The 21st century is the century of the photon, and photonics technology is revolutionizing every industry from Pro AV to IoT to AEC, powering fiber-optics, improved homeland security and topographical scanning. The evolution of the products themselves has also been tremendous. Where as previously, photonics were used more for inspection of products, photonics are now the core components powering those products, creating a chain reaction that goes all the way up to internet services, cloud storage, e-commerce, and even deep space exploration. How and why exactly has the technology grown so much, and how do manufacturers stay ahead of the diverse and expanding markets photonics serve?

Here to give us his insight is Glenn Jackling, President of Applied Image. “The diversity of photonics technology is what’s staggering to me,” Jackling said. He breaks down the latest and greatest in photonics, from 3D imaging to augmented reality. With these innovations, however, have come challenges in production; projects reaching into microscopic and monstrous sizes are pushing the envelope of Applied Image’s and other photonics companies’ capabilities. “Light is being used in instrumentation and devices in so many different ways, and what we find is a lot of those devices need to be calibrated, and standardized to the point where they can be compared lab to lab,” Jackling said.

Fresh off a meeting with the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster, Jackling clues us in to the dramatic local growth of the New York photonics industry as well, and how it’s a positive representation of where the global industry is headed down the road.

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