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European Union Funds Collaborative Research in Photonics

Jan 2009
Jörg Schwartz,

Public money is used at large scale to promote research and development by the European Union. The motivation for doing this is following the strategy agreed by EU leaders in Lisbon in 2000, striving to make Europe the “most dynamic, competitive, knowledge-based economy in the world.”

Photonics technologies are a key part of this – and are certainly seen as a huge untapped potential by Viviane Reading, European commissioner for Information Society and Media, who is responsible for information and communications technologies. But how much are photonics companies and institutions actually benefiting from this effort, and what are the topics funded?

Framework programmes are the key instruments the commission uses to fund R&D, each one running for a few years and numbered sequentially. The latest is No. 7, so FP7 represents the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, running from 2007 to 2013.

Budget increase

FP7 supports research in selected areas and boasts a 41 per cent higher budget than FP6. The bulk of its funds goes toward collaborative research in key areas; i.e., groups of companies and/or institutes that agree to tackle a problem together to receive their funding. The topical areas, including total FP7 budgets in parentheses, are: Health (6.1 billion euros); Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology (1.9 b); Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) (9.1 b); Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and New Production Technologies (3.5 b); Energy (2.3 b); Environment (including climate change) (1.8 b); Transport (including aeronautics) (4.2 b); Socioeconomic Sciences and Humanities (610 million); Space (1.4 b); and Security (1.4 b).

So where does photonics fit into this? Obviously, photonics technologies are relevant to almost all of the above areas. And browsing through the database of all granted projects ( quickly confirms this assumption. Want to know more? Below is an overview of FP7 projects with photonics relevance that started up between January and October 2008. Financial figures indicate the total project volume and funding, respectively, for a typical three-year project.

Photonics-Relevant Projects

ULTRAMAGNETRON – Ultrafast all-optical magnetization reversal for magnetic recording and laser-controlled spintronics (4.17/3.15 million euros).

NANOCHARM – Multifunctional nanomaterials characterization exploiting ellipsometry and polarimetry (1.59/1.2 million euros).

NANOPHOTO – Targeted nanosystems for improving photodynamic therapy and diagnosis of cancer (3.24/2.45 million euros).

FUN OCT – Functional optical coherence tomography (7.09/5.41 million euros).

CARS EXPLORER – Innovative contrast imaging by nonlinear optics (NLO) for the observation of biological tissues in vivo and in real time, at cellular and molecular levels (4.77/3.09 million euros).

IDETECT 4ALL – Intruder detection and authentication optical sensing technology (3.24/2.3 million euros).

AMASS – Autonomous maritime surveillance system (4.97/3.58 million euros).

IBPOWER – Intermediate band materials and solar cells for photovoltaics with high efficiency and reduced cost (4.61/3.95 million euros).

ROBUST DSC – Efficient and robust dye-sensitized solar cells and modules (5.32/3.98 million euros).

HIGH EF – Large-grained, low-stress multicrystalline silicon thin-film solar cells on glass by a combined diode laser and solid-phase crystallization process (4.46/2.86 million euros).

HETSI – Heterojunction solar cells based on a-Si/c-Si (5.05/3.4 million euros).

DANIELA – Demonstration of anemometry instrument based on laser (6.43/4.14 million euros).

Information and Communication Technologies
WADIMOS – Wavelength division multiplexed photonic layer on CMOS (3.18/2.3 million euros).

AMAZOLED – Active matrix of any shape with organic LED displays (6.7/4.8 million euros).

PHORCE21 – Photonics research coordination Europe/Photonics21 (1.37/1.35 million euros).

GOSPEL – Governing the speed of light (3.33/2.19 million euros).

MINOS – Micro- and nano-optomechanical systems for ICT and QIPC (Quantum Information Processing and Communication) (3.13/2.27 million euros).

HIDEAS – High-dimensional entangled systems (for QIPC) (4.58/2.0 million euros).

PHASORS – Phase-sensitive amplifier systems and optical regenerators and their applications (3.91/2.7 million euros).

INTOPSENS – A highly integrated optical sensor for point-of-care label-free identification of pathogenic bacteria strains and their antibiotic resistance (3.36/2.6 million euros).

FLAME – Flexible organic active matrix organic LED displays for nomadic applications (3.93/3.0 million euros).

FAST2LIGHT – High-throughput, large-area, cost-effective organic LED production technologies (15.48/10.0 million euros).

PHOME – Photonic metamaterials (1.9/1.43 million euros).

MIRSURG – Mid-infrared solid-state laser systems for minimally invasive surgery (3.92/2.8 million euros).

MARISE – Materials for avalanche receiver for ultimate sensitivity (3.24/2.1 million euros).

MINIGAS – Miniaturized photoacoustic gas sensor based on patented interferometric readout and novel photonic integration technologies (2.77/1.85 million euros).

MUSIS – Multispectral terahertz, infrared, visible imaging and spectroscopy (4.64/3.2 million euros).

PYTHIA – Monolithically integrated interferometric biochips for label-free early detection of human diseases (3.48/2.65 million euros).

OPTHER – Optically driven terahertz amplifiers (4.1/2.45 million euros).

EURO-FOS – Pan-European photonics task force: integrating Europe’s expertise on photonics subsystems (5.06/4.1 million euros).

MEMPIS – Ultrasmall MEMS FTIR spectrometer (4.43/2.85 million euros).

PHOTONFAB – Silicon photonic IC fabless access broker (973,000/745,000 euros).

GIGAWAM – Gigabit access passive optical network using wavelength division multiplexing (9.12/3.0 million euros).

HELIOS – Photonics electronics functional integration on CMOS (12.05/8.5 million euros).

BOOM – Terabit on chip: micro- and nanoscale silicon photonic integrated components and subsystems enabling terabit-per-second capacity, scalable and fully integrated photonic routers (4.24/3.1 million euros).

POF-PLUS – Plastic optical fibre for pervasive low-cost, ultrahigh-capacity systems (3.66/2.6 million euros).

PHOSFOS – Photonic skins for optical sensing (2.48/1.9 million euros).

DELIGHT – Development of low-cost technologies for the fabrication of high-performance telecommunication lasers (4.78/3.3 million euros).

APACHE – Agile photonic integrated systems on chip enabling WDM terabit networks (3.98/2.9 million euros).

SENSHY – Photonic sensing of hydrocarbons based on innovative mid-infrared lasers (3.19/2.35 million euros).

SUBTUNE – Widely tunable VCSEL using subwavelength gratings (3.74/2.75 million euros).

AEVIOM – Advanced experimentally validated integrated organic LED model for a breakthrough in high-performance organic LED technology (3.88/2.55 million euros).

HYPOLED – High-performance organic LED-microdisplays for mobile multimedia HMD and microprojection applications (4.13/3.05 million euros).

COMPAS – Computing with mesoscopic photonic and atomic states (2.09/1.55 million euros).

CHIMONO – Nano-optics for molecules on chips (3.34/2.52 million euros).

HELIUM3D – High-efficiency laser-based multiuser multimodal 3-D display (4.2/2.8 million euros).

FUTON – Fibre optic networks for distributed and extendable heterogeneous radio architectures (9.85/6.58 million euros).

MAXIMUS – Maximum fidelity interactive multiuser display systems (3.18/2.2 million euros).

OLED100.EU – Organic LED lighting in European dimensions (19.96/12.5 million euros).

LASER-ARPES – Laser-based photoemission: revolutionizing the spectroscopy of correlated electrons (1.45/1.45 million euros).

Further information on any of these projects may be found at en.html – using the unique sounding project names. However, this is only the beginning. Do you have your own idea and want a piece of the pie? Further calls for new FP7 projects are being published; details may be found under If you are more interested in what others do, however, we will keep you posted …

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