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PhOREMOST maps out future of nanophotonics

07 Oct 2008

An EU roadmap identifies how emerging nanophotonics technologies could develop over the next 5 to 15 years.

The EU Network of Excellence on nanophotonics (PhOREMOST) has just published its findings on the way the field is likely to develop in the future, in a roadmap called Emerging Nanophotonics. The network is composed of 34 partners and over 300 researchers.

"The goal is to identify scientific and technological challenges, rather than market projections," Goncal Badenes, chairman of the roadmap taskforce, told optics.org. "Our focus is on emerging concepts, technologies and devices within the framework of the Photonics21 strategic research agenda, and this is a first attempt to map out this area."

One challenge was the choice of topics, given the rapidly increasing activity in the field. "We believe that all the topics included in the roadmap have a high potential impact, albeit at different timescales and with different effort levels," said Badenes. "It would be very difficult (and risky) to single out the most significant ones, but I believe that plasmonics is gaining momentum and has many potential applications in the mid- and long term."

Badenes also expects to see emerging nanophotonic devices playing significant roles in the energy, sensing and lighting domains.

Europe is currently at the forefront in many of the emerging nanophotonics fields covered in the roadmap, and has a dominant position in some of them, according to Badenes. "The roadmap should help to maintain this strong European position," he commented. "It should enhance the collaborations between academia and industry, as well as the uptake of emerging concepts and technologies."

The PhOREMOST document is intended to complement other roadmaps, such as the recent MONA report on Photonics and Nanotechnologies (see the Photon08 blog on optics.org.)

The 100-page report is divided into three sections, covering Concepts, Technologies, and Emerging Devices. Concepts described include plasmonics, non-linear nano-optics, optical trapping and sorting, and metamaterials in the visible.

Future editions are expected to include a broader selection of topics, and also to involve a larger and broader group of stakeholders. "I believe that the main challenge is to make sure that this becomes a living document that gets updated and revised regularly," said Badenes. "To that end, we are creating a not-for-profit association that will expand the range of stakeholders to a larger community, one that will have updating and enhancing the roadmap at its core."

Emerging Nanophotonics is available from the PhOREMOST web site.

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