White Paper Photonics Switzerland - now also in French

The White Paper Photonics Switzerland (co-authored by Prof. Ursula Keller) was distributed to policy-makers and industry representatives, starting 19th June, 2018 at the 12th Swissmem "Industry Day" in Zürich.

Industry and science jointly recommend a funding focus "TECHNOLOGY CLUSTER PHOTONICS " for Switzerland's national research programs.

From the Executive Summary (original version in German):

"The rapidly developing markets require significantly faster, more powerful, miniaturized and low-consumption systems and components. Current electronic technologies can no longer achieve this by themselves. With photonics, completely new technologies and technology combinations are available that enable entry into lucrative growth markets. Photonics is a cross-sectional technology and a fundamental driver of technologies, processes, applications and business models. Photonics is recognized worldwide as the key technology of the 21st century. Together with the existing location strengths, Swiss industry photonics can enable a strong position in global markets. This is especially true for highly integrated microsystems with photonic and other functions such as sensors, lasers, data science, and many others. But this needs appropriate support and promotion.

Some relevant characteristics of photonic technologies:
- they have numerous applications, and thus enable significant cross-sectional technologies
- they show an annual growth rate of 6 - 8%
- today, they have the same significance for society as electronics in the past century
- Swiss industry and science are very well positioned in terms of research and market
- major initiatives based on photonics open up new fields of application.

However, if novel technologies develop rapidly and disruptively – opening up completely new product opportunities and at the same time massively influencing other areas of technology – then a broadly based, jointly implemented, national foundation program is essential to compete in the relevant markets. The targeted and coordinated collaboration between industry and science – supported by federal funding agencies – should empower Switzerland in the lucrative field of photonic technologies to achieve powerful innovation and competitive market performance in order to secure prosperity and high-quality jobs.

NCCR MUST and it's role in Photonics in Switzerland
The current and future impact of ultrafast lasers was recently recognised with the 2018 European Inventor Lifetime Achievement Award for Prof. Ursula Keller.

Ultrafast - or ultra-short pulse - laser technology is dramatically impacting many areas of photonics, from basic science to industrial manufacturing and biomedicine. These ultrafast lasers are a key enabler within the NCCR MUST. The next generation laser research requires better infrastructure and the creation of new shared technology platforms at ETH, EPFL and the University of Bern has been initiated. These are needed because they ...
- enable experiments that go beyond the possibilities of a single professorship in terms of complexity, know-how, and resources
- allow to tackle truly interdisciplinary problems that go beyond the boundaries of individual departments
- allow groups to collaborate on science and technology developments, sharing the burden of operating their key enabling technology and acquiring the relevant know-how
- facilitate entry of young researchers (e.g., ERC grantees, young fellows, assistant professors) into “equipment-heavy” science
- enable education of students from different departments
A well-accepted example at ETH Zurich is the FIRST Lab with its cleanroom facilities.
The NCCR MUST is creating a similar technology platform for ultrafast lasers at ETH Zurich: the FastLab.

Download White Paper Photonics französisch (5.67 MB)
NCCR MUST Office : ETHZ IQE/ULP-HPT H3 | Auguste-Piccard-Hof 1 | 8093 Zurich | E-Mail | +41 44 633 36 02
The National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR) are a research instrument of the Swiss National Science Foundation