Light in sight – the over two-billion-euro photonics industry has an impact on numerous solutions revolutionizing our everyday life
Photonics studies light, matter and their interaction. In addition to the wavelengths of light visible to humans, photonics covers the whole spectrum of light, i.e. also ultraviolet and infrared light. Like these, the essential importance of photonics in everyday life solutions is largely hidden from our eyes.
According to the recent Photonics Industry in Finland survey, the industry’s estimated turnover in Finland already exceeds two billion euros. Compared to the previous study conducted in 2020, the photonics industry has grown by more than 50 percent. In 2022, SPIE, the umbrella organization of the world’s photonics industry, estimated that the value of the fields and services enabled by photonics exceed two trillion euros globally.
“Photonics is above all an enabling technology and therefore it is related to almost everything. The strong growth and demand is explained by the fact that there is always a market even when the economic situation is changing. Among the market trends, for example, Europe’s strong effort towards security of supply self-sufficiency in terms of defense, telecommunications and cyber security will certainly be reflected in Finland’s role as a key supplier of photonics solutions “, says the Impact Manager of PREIN, Juha Purmonen , who also works as the executive director of Photonics Finland, the umbrella organization of the photonics industry.
In Finland, the indstry grows faster than in other countries: Where the global annual growth rate has been about six percent, Finnish photonics has grown at the rate of 14 % in recent years . According to the 2023 report, the turnover of companies limited to purely photonics was more than 2 billion euros. There were about 300 purely photonics companies which employ more than 6,000 experts in the field.
By global standards, Finland is especially good in optical imaging and sensors, micro- and nanophotonics, as well as lasers and XR technology – for example, photonics plays a key role in the usability of the metaverse that connects virtual worlds. The appreciation of Finnish photonics expertise is proven by several foreign acquisitions of Finnish companies and many foreign companies have located their branches in Finland. In addition, the industry’s growth is supported by high-quality photonics education and world-class research under the PREIN flagship, funded by the Academy of Finland.
Finnish photonics companies emphasize export and expect turnover to grow by as much as 31 percent. In the future, photonics will require more and more professionals of various levels, from research to practical skills, as companies are expecting an 18 percent increase in their number of personnel. No wonder, because there is plenty of demand and growth opportunities, especially in the international markets.
” Many companies are young and just gathering momentum. Photonics is used mainly in specialised equipment, so the domestic market is small for many companies. The global market, on the other hand, offers companies enormous growth potential. At the moment, only the availability of financing and the scalability of the business model hinder growth, because there is clearly demand,” says Toni Mattila , the director responsible for Business Finland’s Sustainable Manufacturing program .
Juha Purmonen, executive director, Photonics Finland
+358 50 354 3832
Kristiina Pispala (media, photos), communication expert, PREIN
+358 40 191 8882
Jyrki Saarinen, professor, deputy director, PREIN
+358 50 595 4348