Photonics industry booming in Finland
What is photonics?
Photonics explores the generation, emission, transmission, modulation,
signal processing, switching, amplification and detection of light. It
covers all the technical applications of light across the entire
The potential applications of photonics are virtually unlimited and have
a profound impact on our daily lives and various fields of science.
Photonics underpins areas as diverse as telecommunications, information
processing, lighting, solar energy, metrology, spectroscopy, holography,
healthcare (surgery, eye operations, endoscopy, health monitoring),
military technology, materials processing, biophotonics, agriculture and
In all these areas, photonics offers new and unique solutions compared
to conventional technologies and pushes the boundaries of speed,
performance and accuracy.
The Optoelectronics Research Centre at Tampere University of Technology is leading national efforts to establish a Finnish photonics cluster with a strong international presence.
Photonics has been identified as a one of five key enabling technologies (KET) by the European Commission. With the great potential to enable a wealth of innovative new technologies, the role and influence of photonics in strengthening the EU’s industrial and innovation capacity is growing stronger.
Photonics Finland is an undertaking that aims to bring together stakeholders in the field and establish a national platform for photonics-related education, research, technology development and businesses.
“We’re building an industry-driven ecosystem for innovation to promote the global reach and visibility of Finnish photonics industry. The network will open up new avenues for research and spur the creation of new companies and business ventures”, says Pekka Savolainen from Tampere University of Technology.
Savolainen is the director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre that coordinates the Photonics Finland network project. The project is carried out in cooperation with the Nanotechnology Centre of Expertise at Joensuu Science Park, Finnish photonics research groups and teams made up of industry stakeholders.
Photonics Finland will build networks and engage in joint projects with national stakeholders and other European photonics clusters.
“Sometimes we have to look elsewhere to find specialized expertise. An added advantage of international collaboration is that it helps draw foreign investments to Finland”.
Massive potential for growth
Over the past few years, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation Tekes and the Academy of Finland have invested strongly in photonics research. The sector has massive potential for growth in Finland. According to Savolainen, Photonics Finland offers an excellent opportunity to collectively harness the talent of a diverse group of stakeholders and thereby benefit society as a whole.
“We need to support high-growth companies and encourage small businesses to expand and seek international markets. We must accelerate technology transfer from research organizations into the hands of Finnish industry and businesses and promote the development of applications through cross-disciplinary collaboration. Education and research activities relating to photonics must be increased and designed from the outset to respond to the needs of society.”
The chief coordinating officer of the Photonics Finland project is MSc (Tech) Juha Laiho. He has previously worked as Technology Manager at Phillips-Medisize’s European unit, where he was responsible for innovation management and the development of new technologies and business concepts.
Contact information: Photonics Finland, Chief Coordinating Officer Juha Laiho