A bright future: The Netherlands shines at Photonics West 2024 - United States

A bright future: The Netherlands shines at Photonics West 2024

News item | 29-01-2024 | 12:46

From the sensors in your smartphone to lasers for medical procedures, photonics -- technical innovations using light -- impact many parts of our daily lives. The Netherlands is a leader in the global photonics industry, aiming to generate 4,000 full-time jobs and more than 1 billion Euros of revenue by 2026.

In the heart of San Francisco, the forthcoming Photonics West 2024 exhibition will welcome a vibrant Holland High Tech Pavilion, consisting of 19 Dutch companies and organizations that develop cutting-edge technology.  Delegation leader Petra Wicherink of PhotonicsNL brings a wealth of expertise and insight into the thriving Dutch photonics ecosystem.

Q: What is the significance of the Dutch delegation attending Photonics West 2024?
Petra Wicherink: The Dutch delegation at Photonics West 2024 is a diverse and dynamic representation of our thriving photonics ecosystem. Comprising leading companies and institutes, the delegation reflects the Netherlands' position at the forefront of high-tech innovation.

 Q: What does PhotonicsNL do?
PW: PhotonicsNL serves as the paramount hub and trade association for photonics within the Netherlands. Our core mission revolves around catalyzing photonics innovation by fostering collaborative partnerships and knowledge sharing among businesses, industries, and knowledge institutes. We are dedicated to elevating the awareness of photonics' pivotal role in bolstering our economy and enhancing photonics education at all educational tiers.

Q: Integrated photonics is a key focus at Photonics West. How does the Netherlands contribute to this fast-growing market?
PW: The Netherlands has been a driving force in the integrated photonics market, known as photonics integrated circuits. Our ecosystem has evolved over decades, building a robust end-to-end value chain—from design and fabrication to packaging, testing, and application development. This allows us to create smaller, faster, and more energy-efficient devices, making Dutch integrated photonics stand out globally.

Q: The Netherlands has a rich history in high-tech innovation. How has the country's expertise in waveguide technologies and semiconductor fields contributed to the prominence of Dutch photonics?
PW: Our proven track record in high-tech and semiconductor industries, with giants like ASML and NXP, has laid the foundation for the prominence of Dutch photonics. The expertise in waveguide technologies, coupled with a dynamic environment for innovation, has propelled us forward. Today, we offer a comprehensive value chain, attracting global interest and collaborations.

Q: How does collaboration at international conferences like Photonics West accelerate photonics innovation to solve global challenges, such as digitalization and healthcare?
PW: International collaboration is paramount in accelerating innovation. Conferences like Photonics West provide a platform for companies, knowledge institutes, and governments to come together, share insights, and foster collaborations. As we tackle global challenges, the exchange of ideas and expertise at such events becomes a catalyst for advancing photonics-based solutions.

The Holland High Tech Pavilion is a focal point for showcasing the strength of our high-tech sector and photonics ecosystem. Collaboration with PhotonDelta and PhotonicsNL amplifies our impact, presenting a united front to attract visitors and participants from across the entire value chain.

Q: Can you highlight a few companies or institutes and their contributions to the photonics landscape?
PW: Each participant brings unique strengths, collectively enriching the Dutch photonics landscape. Some examples are NTS, which provides mechanical solutions for large, high-tech machine manufacturers; QuiX Quantum, the European market leader for quantum computing based on photonics; and organizations like TNO, which is at the forefront of R&D in optical instruments.

Q: With the rapid pace of technological developments, what role do you see the Netherlands playing in shaping the future of photonics?
PW: The Netherlands is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of photonics. With a dynamic ecosystem, a rich history in high-tech innovation, and a collaborative spirit, we are well-positioned to lead in addressing global challenges. If the 21st century is indeed the century of the photon, this is our chance to realize new opportunities together.

Petra Wicherink of PhotonicsNL