Laser Focus World’s top 20 photonics technology picks for 2021

Dec. 1, 2021
In 2021, advances in optics and photonics encompass the fields of laser optics, integrated photonics, quantum optical systems, and much more.

Many, if not most, current advances in high technology owe their existence to sophisticated software; our 20 selections from this past year’s advances in optics and photonics are no exception. This is obvious for areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), but applies almost universally elsewhere, too. For example, the development of meta-optics could only happen via the use of sophisticated design and modeling software; the same is true for new hollow-core optical fibers, quantum optical systems, and coherent beam combining. And of course, 3D laser printing doesn’t work without guiding software.

So although the grounding provided by computer software is unheralded in at least some of the photonics applications we chose this year, we wanted to give a shout-out to the algorithms, scripts, programs—and who knows, maybe even Excel spreadsheets—that provide the design power and other forms of guidance to the ever-advancing fields of optics and photonics. Our 20 picks all stand on their own as important achievements, and thus we haven’t tried to rank them further (the numbers do not correspond to ranking).

About the Author

John Wallace | Senior Technical Editor (1998-2022)

John Wallace was with Laser Focus World for nearly 25 years, retiring in late June 2022. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Rutgers University and a master's in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Before becoming an editor, John worked as an engineer at RCA, Exxon, Eastman Kodak, and GCA Corporation.

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