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Now is the time for the United States to make photonics a national priority. In 2012, the National Research Council released a sequel to “Harnessing Light” that called for a National Photonics Initiative (NPI) to increase collaboration and coordination among US industry, government and academia to identify and further advance areas of photonics critical to regaining US competitiveness and maintaining national security.
New opportunities in these fields — including solar power, high-efficiency lighting, genome mapping, high-tech manufacturing, nuclear threat identification, cancer detection and new optical capabilities vital to supporting the Internet’s growth — offer the potential for even greater societal impact in the next few decades. US investment in photonics will grow our economy, protect and improve the lives of our people, and position the United States as a global technology leader.

The NPI brings together experts from industry, academia and government to assemble recommendations that will help guide US funding and investment in five key photonics-driven fields: advanced manufacturing, communications & IT, defense & national security, energy and health & medicine.