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Celebration of light – The Finnish photonics technology cluster Photonics Finland turns ten!

In 2024, the Finnish photonics cluster Photonics Finland will celebrate its 10th anniversary. The association has grown into a community of more than 250 individual members, as well as more than 120 corporate and organizational members. Photonics Finland is a unique and the only photonics technology cluster in Finland connecting both industry and academia, working in close cooperation with companies, universities, organizations and PREIN – Photonics Research and Innovation Flagship, funded by the Research Council of Finland | Suomen Akatemia.

Finnish photonics is going strong. According to the 2023 report, the turnover of companies in the photonics sector  grows at an annual rate of 18%, and the sector already employs 6,000 people. The largest markets are in industrial and health technology devices and applications, which make up 43% of the entire industry’s turnover.

European union Union has named Photonics a key enabling technology,  which enhances the safety and security of people, goods, and the environment. Photonics literally extends everywhere making the industries grow bigger, better, and smarter. At the same time the term “photonics” is not  well-known since it is the enabling technology behind  numerous   familiar applications known for their own right   virtual glasses, industrial automation, solar panels, displays, sensors etc. Common to all these examples  is that they are enabled by photonics, which is the all-encompassing umbrella term for all technologies related to light

Photonics – The technology and science of light.

Nowadays there is an abundance photonics-related news in the media, although they seldomly explicitly mention photonics. A good example is the news story on hyperspectral camera satellites used to monitor e.g. gas pipeline damage or movements at state borders featured in the national news (YLE) on November 29, 2023. Both applications are extremely relevant for the defense and security  industry and are entirely based on photonics. Similarly,  several other applications in the defense and security sector also rely on photonics, from armored vehicles to fighter jets, and all solutions in observation and surveillance.

There is a genuine need to use the voice of the whole photonics community to increase public knowledge on photonics. The consistent use of the term “photonics”, helps media, decision-makers, financiers, but also those who would benefit from photonics applications to better recognize the scientific and industrial know-how of the field and the opportunities available.  In January 2023, Photonics Finland and PREIN visited the MTV Oy News studios to discuss the relevance of photonics. Based on the feedback from MTV, audience want more science related news, so photonics has a lot to offer!

Photonics Finland and PREIN visit to MTV News studios.

Photonics Finland – Ten years of development towards excellence

Photonics Finland has published its action plan and budget for the year 2024. The goal is to secure and continue already established services. As a result of long-term work with the Finnish photonics community, Photonics Finland has succeeded in building a functional cooperation network, a project portfolio, as well as events and services that attract operators from Finland and all over the world. In the coming year, we will not reinvent the wheel, but pedal forward at the speed of light!

The action plan includes four key objectives:

  • Organize Photonics Finland events in Finland and abroad.
  • Take care of the tasks and operations of existing projects in an exemplary manner.
  • Search for new photonics-related projects to ensure continuity.
  • Develop the role of the Academic Advisory Board.

For the first time the budget exceeded half a million, but membership fees remain the same. This sets a solid foundation for the coming year. The plan will be further refined with the entire Photonics Finland office for 2024. For the Photonics Finland Team the upcoming year looks busy but also incredibly interesting.

What is photonics

Photonics is the science and technology of light. It encompasses generating, guiding, manipulating, amplifying, and detecting light. It enables many of the innovations which have transformed the way we live over the last few years.

Lasers, optical fibers, virtual glasses, fast internet, the cameras and screens in phones, optical tweezers, and lighting in cars, homes, computer screens and TVs are just a few examples of photonics. Given the current landscape and the potential that photonics has to enhance innovation in several industries such as healthcare, security and defense, energy, agriculture, manufacturing industry, and communication, it has been recognized as one of Europe’s key enabling technologies (KETs) of the 21st Century.

Photonics Finland Pavilion at Photonics West 2023

Photonics Finland

Photonics Finland is the single point of contact for the whole photonics ecosystem in Finland. Photonics Finland supports the development of new business and research opportunities and helps realize the full potential of photonics in industry and society in areas such as life science, health care, ICT, energy efficiency, safety, industrial manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, and sustainability. Photonics Finland also coordinates national collaboration by working closely with the international photonics clusters and in European projects such as PIMAP4Sustainability , PhotonHub Europe , Photonics4Industry , BestPhorm21, Carla 360, DeepSupport, and Phorwards21. Also collaboration between Business Finland is essential for creating new opportunities and funding for Photonics Finland companies.

Photonics Finland supports its members by creating new networking and matchmaking opportunities through Photonics technology and solution related events and webinars. The annual main event is Optics and Photonics Days (OPD) which gathers over 350 photonics experts from industry and academy from Finland and abroad. More information:

PREIN – Photonics Research and Innovation Flagship

The Flagship for Photonics Research and Innovation PREIN was selected as one of the six first flagships which started their eight-year funding period in 2019. PREIN is an initiative that brings together the main actors of the Finnish photonics research scene to develop the new generation of light-based technologies. PREIN is a joint venture of the coordinator, Tampere University and three partners, University of Eastern Finland, Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.  The mission of PREIN is to generate future research in photonics and promote the Finnish know-how by expanding frontier research into business opportunities, educating photonics professionals, and raising awareness of the critical role of light-based technologies for our society. More information: