By David Nugent
Posting more papers to the Optical Society of America since 1999 than either Germany, Japan or the United Kingdom, India is a major contributor to the international photonics community. Reflecting its status as a truly international conference, CLEO/QELS 2010 welcomes no fewer than six papers contributed solely or jointly by researchers from the Indian subcontinent.
Photo credit: Wili Hybrid
The country that “invented” the number zero, India has attracted sizeable investments from optoelectronic innovators including Agilent, Infinera and Xerox. In 2006, Agilent alone committed over $30 million to the region, with the Agilent Life Sciences Center in Bangalore created to host multi-disciplinary teams developing advanced chemical analysis and bio-analytical instrumentation, whilst its R&D centers in Bangalore and Gurgaon provide technical solutions for telecom and network operators.
India also boasts a considerable indigenous photonic research and manufacturing capability. The Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT) develops a variety of laser systems for applications in industry, medicine and research. The laser systems developed include high power CO2 lasers, flash lamp and diode laser pumped Nd lasers, semiconductor lasers, chemical lasers, excimer lasers and high energy/intensity pulsed lasers. Crystals of a variety of materials of interest to laser technology have been grown. The industrial applications being pursued include cutting, drilling, welding, surface modifications and rapid manufacturing. Various laser based instruments such as uranium analyzer, land leveler, compact N2 laser, photo-coagulator, fibre based temperature sensor, surgical CO2 laser system have been developed
In 2006, the Department of Information Technology launched a series of programs to create a national network of optoelectronic R&D centres. These include:
a national facility for packaging and auto-aligning photonic devices at the Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER-Mumbai);
a national institute to manufacture and package laser diode chips at the Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute (CEERI-Pilani);
an optical amplifier (EFDA) manufacturing plant at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Delhi) using indigenously developed Erbium-doped fiber from the Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute (CGCRI) and laser diode sources from CEERI-Pilani;
an investigation of nitrogen doping to tailor bang gap reduction in liquid phase epitaxial growth of GaSb at Calcutta University;
an investigation into polymer based photonic devices and polymer FETs at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR-Bangalore); and
a specialist Biophotonics and Photonics for Healthcare innovation center at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR-Mumbai).
Regards high-power laser applications, the U.S. and India share many common interests in the development of airborne laser defences. These and other laser-based armaments are developed at the Laser and Science Technology Centre in Delhi.
At the other end of the conviviality spectrum, India is also an aspiring developer of high-brightness LEDs. As reported recently by EFY Times, the CEERI is leading the creation of India’s first attempt in the country to fabricate organic and inorganic LED chips for solid state lighting applications. The first version of the chip is expected to come out by March 2012.
India’s booming optics community provides a welcome sales opportunity for recession weary equipment vendors. Earlier this year, Riber S.A. of Bezons, France, which manufactures molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) systems as well as evaporation sources and effusion cells, announced it has received an order for its Compact21 GaN research system from a major research institute located in India.
CLEO delegates can find out more about the photonic research activities in India via the Optical Society of India, the Photonics Society of India and the Indian Laser Association.
Dr David Nugent is Founder and CEO of Elucidare Limited, a boutique technology development and investment advisory business.
Posted: 2 May 2010 by
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