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South Africa Unveils Photonics Prototyping Facility

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PRETORIA, South Africa, March 8, 2021 — South Africa unveiled its Photonics Prototyping Facility (PPF) on March 5 at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The facility, funded by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), seeks to enhance the development of photonics-based products, particularly in the prototype-development phase, and to test market acceptance of planned products within the country. It is equipped with Class 1000 cleanrooms and technical and optical equipment, including electronic, mechanical, and diagnostic equipment for a variety of wavelengths.
Director General of South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation Phil Mjwara speaks at the unveiling of the Photonics Prototyping Facility. Courtesy of the Council for Scientific Research.
Phil Mjwara, director-general of South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation, speaks at the unveiling of the Photonics Prototyping Facility. Courtesy of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

The PPF specifically intends to fast-track product development of photonics technologies and devices in line with market needs. The initiative to stimulate the growth and competitiveness of the South African photonics industry is part of broader efforts by the DSI in line with the South African Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. It further aims to address the current lack of commercialized photonics products in South Africa by providing technical support and scarce skills, such as optics and photonics, and networks needed to facilitate the development of prototypes, as well as dedicated photonics facilities.

A DSI press release highlighted an ongoing project at the facility, which is focused on optical coherence tomography (OCT) for the 3D extraction of fingerprints. 


Photonics.com
Mar 2021
GLOSSARY
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
BusinessFacilitygovernmentinitiativeeconomic developmentSouth AfricaAfricaSouth African Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Planprototype developmentproduct developmentphotonicsOCTeconomy

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