The academic education and research continuously supplies the Swedish industry with well-educated work force and competence in the photonics area. A brief account of photonics research and education at the larger universities is given below, ordered geographically from north to south.
Luleå Technical University (LTU)
LTU runs optics and photonics research keeping a strong focus on industrial applications: process diagnostics/automation, laser manufacturing, environmental remote sensing, and process industry (mining, pulp&paper, bioenergy). Recent implementations in medicine and environment (winter related problems) are also increasing in importance. Including PhD students, about 40 researchers are active in the field. For diagnostic/automation, various imaging methods like speckle methods/holography, hyper-spectral imaging,
micro-tomography, opto-acoustic imaging, and time-of-flight radar are in main focus. For manufacturing, laser welding processes are of great interest. Remote sensing optics has a strong profile at Institute of Space Physics (IRF) in Kiruna dealing with atmospheric diagnostics based on radiative transfer spectroscopy. Education in optics/photonics at the MSc level is a major part of the specialisation in “sensors and signals” in the Engineering Physics and Electronics programs, and “remote sensing” – for Space Engineering MSc students. Students in Machine Technique are trained on laser manufacturing. Optics and photonics oriented PhD’s from LTU have throughout the last two decades brought their knowledge to local and Swedish industry: LKAB, Boliden, Assi, SmurfitKappa, Saab Combitech, Ericsson, Volvo Technology, Volvo Aero (GKN), and also in smaller niche companies, start-ups, and academia.
Umeå University (UmU)
The research within the field of photonics at UmU, which primarily takes place within the strong research environment “Light in Science and Technology”, is performed along several directions, from fundamental studies of light and light-matter interactions, via the use of light for basic and applied investigations, to the development of various types of applications. Including PhD students and post-docs, about 40 researchers are active in the field. Examples of fundamental research include studies of extreme electromagnetic fields and plasmas, non-linear interactions, the quantum vacuum, and dynamics of atomic gases in traps, optical lattices and Bose-Einstein condensates. Application-oriented research take place in fields e.g. laser-based spectroscopic techniques for quantitative spectrometry; development of functional organic photonic and electronic devices in the form of flexible and large area light-emitting electrochemical cells and novel photo-chemical patterning techniques; development and use of non-invasive optical micromanipulation and force-measuring techniques, mainly optical tweezers, for biophysical applications; and studies of non-linear optical properties of new materials, e.g. graphene and nanowires, with application to frequency conversion. Examples of industrial collaboration partners are Siemens AB, FOI, SP, Optronics, and Airoptic. Education in the field is provided by the Engineering Physics program withing the profile ”Photonics and Nanotechnology”. The student can chose from the branches ”Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) Sciences” and ”Advance Material and Nanotechnology”.
Uppsala University (UU)
Optics and photonics are connected to several scientific disciplines across Uppsala University, for instance in connection to biomedicine research at the BMC facility (now also including new premises for SciLifeLab Sweden) and clinical tools (such as a state-of-the-art PET-MRI camera) at the University Hospital. The core of research and education in optics and photonics is found at the Ångström Laboratory, where materials science, microsystems technology, nanotechnology, sustainable energy, solid state physics, solid state electronics, astronomy, particle physics, molecular biophysics, and several other divisions include optics/photonics in their research projects and give educational courses in optics/photonics-related topics. A large number of spin-off companies have been created by UU students with support from the university’s holding company, several of them having also won VINN NU grants, e.g. Adamantis AB, Rolling Optics AB and Molecular Fingerprint AB. In addition, the industrial infrastructure in Uppsala, including large companies such as GE Healthcare, is a solid base for take-up of highly skilled students and PhDs.
Royal institute of Technology (KTH )/Stockholm University (SU)
Photonics and optics research at KTH is centred around the Linné Center of Excellence in Advanced Optics and Photonics (ADOPT) which, including PhD students, has about 100 researchers. Strong research programs within ADOPT are nano-optics, optical nano-devices, functional materials, near-field optics, quantum optics and quantum information, and optical fiber communication/photonics. Many projects involve tight collaboration at Acreo Swedish ICT AB/Swedish ICT, and in particular with the Acreo Fiber Optics Center (AFOC). Strong international collaborations exist in all the above mentioned areas, but the cooperation with Zheijang University (China) and Lund University through the Joint Research Center in Photonics (JORCEP) is worth a special mention. Spin-off companies were formed in several areas, e.g., frequency converted lasers (Cobolt AB), tunable telecom lasers (Syntune, now part of Finisar), x-ray scintillation detectors (ScintX), and semiconductor growth (Epilog). KTH has also a strong position in bioimaging with almost 50 people active at various levels, particularly in microscopy based fluorescent techniques, and in X-ray physics. These fields have contributed to spin-off companies where Sectra Mamea who has developed low dose mammography is the best example with more than 100 employees. It was recently integrated in Philips Digital Mammography Sweden AB. Excillum AB is developing compact X-ray sources for imaging. Optics/photonics activities at KTH/SU have over decades provided the industry in Mälardalen with PhDs and engineers of strong research experience in this field, and nowadays there exists a strong bound between industry and academia. Over time employers have included larger companies like Ericsson, ABB, FLIR Systems, Celsius Tech, and Spectragon, institutes such as Acreo Swedish ICT AB and FOI, government agencies like Vinnova and Tillväxtverket,
consulting companies such as Optronic and ÅF Konsult, as well as smaller companies like Tobii and Proximion, etc.
Chalmers University of Technology (CTH )
Two departments, “Applied Physics” and “Microtechnology and Nanoscience”, about 50 people in total (senior researchers and PhD students) drive photonics/optics research at Chalmers University of Technology. Covered topics include bio nano photonics, laser-matter interactions, liquid crystals, optoelectronic devices, and fiber optic communications. The fiber optic communications research center (FORCE) is the strongest national center on the subject, and comprises two departments with 30 researchers. The Chalmers research in photonics have spun off companies such as EXFO Sweden AB, and supplies highly qualified professionals to larger institutions with offices in Gothenburg (e.g. Saab Dynamics, AB Volvo, Ericsson AB, SP and Acreo Swedish ICT AB), and also a number of local SMEs, e.g. Optoskand, SiTek, Micronic, and Thorlabs. Chalmers’ education in optics and photonics is found in the BSc programs in ”Engineering physics” and ”Electrical engineering”, but more pronounced in the MSc on ”Wireless, photonic and space engineering” and ”Applied physics”.
Linköping University (LiU)
Organic material based optoelectronics is pursued in the Linköping University environment. Courses in soft condensed matter and organic electronics are part of some education programs. Some ≈70 students and scientists are active in research in this field, at the campuses of Linköping and Norrköping, with accompanying activity
in the technology transfer company Acreo Swedish ICT AB in Norrköping. Printed organic displays and electronics for flexible paper displays are developed in the Norrköping campus. A major field in optoelectronics is that of organic photovoltaics for energy conversion, pursued at IFM, LiU, and now in the phase of scaling up at a prototype reel-to-reel printer in the Printed Electronics Arena in Norrköping. Organic based light emitting devices is another
activity, with spin-off companies Eco Spark and Lumisigns.
Lund University (LU/LTH)
Photonics and optics research at LU/LTH is centred around Lund Laser Centre (LLC) which has >150 researchers (including PhD students). At LLC, there is a major focus on spectroscopic applications and methods. In addition, optics/photonics research is also carried out within the nanometer structure consortium (nmC). The activities in Lund in attosecond physics and laser combustion diagnostics are among the leading ones in the world. Internationally strong or very strong activities e.g. also include research in photosynthesis and solar cells, biophotonics, quantum information, nano photonics, and activities integrating lasers and synchrotron radiation (connected to MAXlab). Spin-off companies have been formed in many areas, e.g. spectroscopic environmental and/or product monitoring (e.g. Opsis AB, Gasoptics, Gasporox), laser medicine (e.g. Spectraphos, Spectracure), spectroscopy-based process monitoring and process steering (e.g. Semtech Metallurgy AB), nanowire diodes, and solar cells (GLO, Sol Voltaics). A two-year program with courses in advanced optics is offered. The photonics and optics activities at LU/LTH have over many years provided the local industry with experienced PhDs. Over
time, employers have included larger companies like Sony-Ericsson, and profiled in optics/photonics companies like
Anoto, Flatfrog, Opsis etc., as well as smaller startup companies.