Photonics – Finding a Career in the Power of Light

Photonics is the branch of technology concerned with the properties and transmission of photons, for example in fibre optics. Photonics is the physical science of light (photons) generation, detection and manipulation through emission, transmission, modulation, signal processing, switching, amplification and sensing.

Photonics is related to emerging science of quantum information and quantum optics. Other emerging fields include:

  • Optoacoustics or photoacoustic imaging.
  • Optomechanics
  • Opto-atomics
  • Polaritonics
  • Programmable photonics

Areas where photonics is expanding:

  • Consumer equipment: barcode scanner, printer, CD/DVD/Blu-ray devices, remote control devices.
  • Construction: laser leveling, laser rangefinding, smart structures.
  • Military: IR sensors, command and control, navigation, search and rescue, mine laying and detection.
  • Metrology: time and frequency measurements, rangefinding.
  • Telecommunications: optical fibre communications, optical down converter to microwave.
  • Entertainment: laser shows, beam effects, holographic art.
  • Photonic computing: printed circuit boards, dock distribution and communication between computers, or within optoelectronic integrated circuits, in the future: quantum computing.
  • Medicine: Correction of poor eyesight, laser surgery, surgical endoscopy, tattoo removal.
  • Aviation: photonics gyroscopes lacking mobile parts.
  • Information processing
  • Industrial manufacturing: the use of lasers for welding, drilling, cutting and various methods of surface modification.

Eligibility Criteria:

There are many institutions in India and abroad that offers courses in photonics. Students who have passed plus two in the science stream (physics, chemistry and Math) with a minimum mark of 50% are eligible for graduation course in Photonics and Optoelectronics. 

A Bachelor’s degree in Engineering or science (4 year program) or Master’s degree in science (Electronics specialization) with valid GATE score is eligible for in Photonics. In some Universities, a minimum score of 55% in Bachelor’s degree is mandatory. With a Masters degree in Physics or Photonics, one can obtain M.Tech, Mphil and PhD in the field of Photonics.

Indian Institutes offering Photonics:

  1. Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.
  2. Manipal Institute of Technology, Karnataka.\
  3. Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai.
  4. The International School of Photonics, CUSAT (Cochin University of Science & Technology) Kerala.
  5. Rajashri Shahu Mahavidyalaya, Department of Photonics, Latur, Maharashtra.
  6. Periyar EVR College (Affiliated to Bharthidasan University), Tamil Nadu.

Foreign Institutes offering Photonics:

  1. Ohio State University, U.S.A.
  2. Sonoma State University, U.S.A.
  3. The University of New South Wales.
  4. Institute of Physics, University of Strathclyde, U.K.
  5. St. Andrew’s University, Scotland.
  6. The Department of Physics, Australian National University.
  7. Washington State University, U.S.A.
  8. University of Rochester, U.S.A.
  9. University of Leeds, U.K.
  10. University of Essex.

Job Prospects: 

A Photonics specialist can work as technicians or technologists, Engineers, research officers in government and industry laboratories and as professional officers in Universities and Government offices. Design, manufacturing, research, development, systems and applications are some of the fields they work in.

The nature of work differs with the post held. The range of application of Photonics extends from energy generation and detection to communication and information processing. Photonics engineers often start their career as assistants to experienced engineers. Based on qualifications, they can either become research directors or principal engineers.

Some of the major companies in the field in India:  

  • Eagle Photonics (Bangalore & Chennai)
  • Kwality Photonics Pvt. Ltd
  • SphereOptics
  • J2 Optronics
  • Sahajanand Technologies Pvt.Ltd
  • Optiwave Photonics Limited (Hyderabad)
  • John .F.Welch Technology Centre (Bangalore)
  • Advanced Photonics
  • Sterlite optical technologies Ltd etc.


In countries like US, Canada and UK the annual pay-package of Photonics researchers/scientists varies from $36,000 to $116,000. This is one of the highly paid fields among the science-oriented careers. Remuneration varies on the basis of experience and education. One can earn Rs. 20,000 – Rs. 35,000 per month at the beginning of the career.  Photonics, is the technology of the future. Let the light guide you to a brighter direction!

(Edvantage Point is India’s go-to platform for education-related products and services. We facilitate online admissions and recruitment services for schools, offer career advice and counselling services for students.)

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