Photonics was the focal point at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando when Rep. John L. Mica paid a visit to the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL). Among the technologies on display were a laser used to break apart cancer particles and a cellphone that analyzes blood, allowing Mica to witness the inroads light-based technologies have made in the medical field, among others. CREOL Professor Peter Delfyett (left) speaks with Rep. John Mica about the University of Central Florida’s work on optical communications. Courtesy of ©Karen Norum. “They are performing phenomenal research in our backyard,” Mica said. “The work going on at UCF holds tremendous potential for our workforce, and will impact and touch nearly every aspect of our lives.” The National Photonics Initiative (NPI), launched this spring by a cadre of photonics organizations, seeks to unite experts from industry, academia and the government to advance photonics R&D, to grow the US economy and to improve national security. A key part of the effort is to educate members of Congress on the vital role that photonics plays in homeland security and the US economy.