The Genesis says that the very first thing created by God is “light” at the beginning of the world. This symbolizes the fact that all beings realize their existence through light. Also, according to Greek myths, the true civilization of mankind started to thrive since Prometheus stole “fire” from Zeus for mankind. In the true history, light has brought the situation where the geographical distances are substantially shortened. Beacons have been utilized all around the world in history since Aristotle used it for the first time around 300 B.C.
In essence, this primitive communication is not different from the ultra high-speed optical communication network in the modern age. It is not too much to say that light governs everything around us rather than just assists us in our lives.
Photonics is the field of engineering that applies the theories and knowledge of light to the real life. Among several valuable inventions during the last three decades, lasers, low-loss optical fibers, and semiconductor optical devices are the three most important inventions that still fertilize our modern technology. Since the first demonstration in early 60’s, lasers have been extensively applied to various areas: optical experiments in laboratory, CD player, printer, medical operations, holography, and optical storage devices. Low-loss optical fibers play the most important role of achieving the ultra high-speed Internet network we are living in. And semiconductor optical devices resulted in the miniaturization of the preceding optical devices and therefore are lively used in the military applications. Photonics is the combined science between electronics and optics, where the former controls the electric charge flow and the latter controls the photons. Concerning the recent trends of researches and developments, three areas of photonics are actively investigated. They are optical fiber amplifiers (optical communication system), optical storage devices (CD, DVD), and displays (TFT-LCD, PDP).