Photonics &

What is Photonics & Optronics?

Science and technology related to the generation, detection and manipulation of light is known as ‘photonics’. Optronics is a sub-branch of photonics concerned with electronic devices and systems that detect and control light.

Photonics technologies range from basic optical lenses and optical fibre, to lasers, displays and cameras of all types, incorporated in products and high-productivity manufacturing processes. Photonics is a key enabling technology of the 21st century. Although largely unseen, it is extensively involved in our everyday lives – from smart phones and the internet to car production and even DNA testing.

In the future photonics will enable transformative solutions to some of the major challenges of our time – from public health, climate change and energy production to future mobility.

Photonics & Optronics Market

Global photonics market valued at $722 bn in 2021
(Source: SkyQuest Technology Consulting)

Scotland’s photonics industry is worth £1.2 bn and employs 40,000 people
(Source: Photonics Scotland)

The European photonics industry directly employs 300,000 workers.
(Source: Photonics Scotland)

Why Glasgow?

UK’s first

Glasgow is home to the first UK Fraunhofer research centre, the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics

Award Winning

Companies within the region have won 12 of 27 awards, from the latest round of the Innovate UK Quantum Technologies Fund

Home of Innovation

Glasgow is also home to CENSIS – the national innovation centre for sensing and imaging systems

National Networks

The University of Strathclyde in Glasgow is a centre of excellence in photonics and is the only academic institution to be a partner in all four of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme hubs. The university is also home to the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics in Glasgow is the first such institute established in the UK.

Commercial Opportunities

In April 2022, Alter Technology TUV Nord opened a Photonics Design Centre in Glasgow, at the University of Strathclyde, to specifically accelerate the commercialisation of photonic products into quantum technology and space markets.

The University of Strathclyde

Glasgow City Region has always enjoyed pre-eminent recognition in photonics and optics. Our modern optical industry was founded by Glasgow-based optical engineering firm Barr & Stroud in the late 19th century (now Thales UK)

Throughout the 20th century, our universities became renowned for their ability to produce highly skilled optical and photonic engineers and scientists, providing the foundation for a new generation of photonics businesses. This has created a cluster of both young and established innovative companies and internationally recognised academic centres that are developing and manufacturing cutting-edge technologies and products which are exported around the world in a rapidly expanding global market.

Glasgow has a strong cluster in dedicated technology operations for the photonics and optronics sector and has become an ideal place for starting and developing a photonics business.