Among the new sciences springing from the advances now being made in the study of the very small is nanophotonics, or the study of light phenomena on the nanometre scale. The interest in nanophotonics is driven by the conviction that it could potentially revolutionise the telecoms industry by providing rates of data transmission that are far higher than the best current capabilities.
The US, UK, Italy and Spain are known to be working in this area. And now Denmark can be added to that list, thanks in part to a DKK 25m (USD 5.2m) donation to the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) from the Willum Kann Rasmussen* Fund to establish a nanophotonics research centre, writes professional journal Ingeniøren (The Engineer).
In line with the ubiquitous fashion for acronymic names, the new centre will be known as Natec, which it must be admitted is easier to say than "Nanophotonics for Terabit Communications". For those unacquainted with the word terabit, it means a thousand billion bits. In other words a colossal amount of data, that new age communications systems will aim to transmit within the space of a mere second, using nanophotonics.
Natec will gather together what are currently five separate institutes under one collective roof: the Institute of Photonics, the Institute of Micro- and Nanotechnology, the Institute of Mechanical Technology, Danchip and the Centre for Electronanoscopy.
*to add a historical note, Willum Kann Rasmussen was the Danish engineer who in the 1940s invented the ingenious pivoting roof window now known worldwide by its brand name, the Velux window – Ed.