Photonics is a modern technology in which light and photons take over the carrier role for data and information in optical media, just as electricity and electrons do in electronics. Photonics stands for optical signal generation, for the processing, conditioning and storage of optical pulses and for optical transmission. The main difference in the transmission of light lies in the quantum physical effects that play into optical processing and transmission.
Photonics and optoelectronics
Unlike optoelectronics, photonics does not require electronic components. Photonic devices are controlled by light pulses or wavelengths, whereas opto-electronic devices are controlled by electronic signals and perform optical functions. The difference can be seen in the example of optical amplifiers. A photonic amplifier is stimulated by optical signals, example: Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifier( EDFA). An opto-electrical amplifier, on the other hand, works with an O/E converter, amplifies the electrical signals and outputs them again as light signals at the output via an E/O converter.
Components of photonics
In certain areas of communication, photonics has already displaced conventional transmission. In long-distance transmission, for example, optical fibers have long since replaced copper cables. And optical amplifiers or other components operate purely optically, without the supply of electrical energy. One example of an optical network that operates without an electrical power supply is the all-optical network. Optical amplifiers, optical switches, optical splitters, optical filters, and wavelength division multiplexing components are other examples of photonic components.
Many optical components are discrete and should be combined into optical integrated circuits( OIC) in the medium term so that they can also be manufactured monolithically. In addition to analog photonic components such as laser diodes, which act as transmitters, photodiodes, which act as optical receivers, the focus is on wavelength converters andmultiplexers, and last but not least on digital optical logic circuits such as the All Optical Flip Flops( AOFF), from which opto-RAMs and optical computers can be developed.