The Netherlands has a head start in the development of photonics, a technology used for the latest generation of microchips. However, major public and private investments are required to maintain this position. The provinces of Gelderland, Overijssel, and Noord-Brabant want to support knowledge institutions and (SME) enterprises in this field as well as possible. That is why they will set off together in search of the required funding, promoting the importance of the development of photonics nationally and internationally. They will do so on the basis of commissioned market research, the results of which were announced during the conference.
The provinces have agreed to complement each other’s efforts as much as possible. Companies in Brabant and Eindhoven University of Technology mainly develop and produce chips for data centres. The University of Twente and companies in Overijssel, in the Enschede area, are primarily focused on applications for telecommunications and the medical industry. With its NXP factory, Gelderland has an important chip production facility for the automotive industry, among others. Together, the regions are looking to determine the standards for the latest generation of chips. This allows them to capture a substantial share in the rapidly growing market for integrated photonics.
Photonic chips use light to transport data rather instead of electricity. This makes them considerably faster, smaller, and more energy-efficient than the current generation of microchips. Companies in the fields of tele- and data communications, aeronautics, agriculture and healthcare expect to use photonic chips to make great technological progress. During the conference, companies will explain where they expect to be in 2030 (and beyond) and which products they will be working on in closed meetings. Academic specialists and representatives of the chip industry will indicate what research and investments will be necessary to get there. The conference will result in a roadmap, a representation of the route towards this shared vision of the future. PhotonDelta (Dutch joint venture) en AIM Photonics Academy (American joint venture) will organise the World Technology Mapping Forum.