Career Compass: Optoelectronics

‘Light’ up your career prospects

‘Light’ up your career prospects

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Sanjay Arora

Ever wondered the technology used behind the very popular Eye Surgeries better known as LASIK treatment? It is possible because of the extensive research in the last few decades in the field of Optoelectronics

Optoelectronics is essentially a sub discipline of physics and is also a study of generating, detecting and controlling Photons, the particles which produce light and the study and application of electronic devices that use light.

Such devices include those that emit light (LEDs and light bulbs), channel light (fiber optic cables), detect light (photodiodes and photoresistors), or are controlled by light (optoisolators and phototransistors).

Laser is one of the primary components.

Origin

 The word ‘photonics’ is derived from the Greek word "photos" meaning light and Electronics and is thus the technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is a photon. 

Applications

The study finds its application in a variety of fields including medicine, telecommunications, information processing, metrology, military technology, visual arts, robotics and agriculture among many others. The major mechanism through which the transmission takes place is photons that carry information through optical cable fibre and then retrieve them through laser radar. Photonics furthermore includes light emission, deflection, amplification and detection by various optical components and instruments.

Usage

As mentioned above, Photonics play a very important role in almost all domains of life be it manufacturing sector to life sciences, healthcare, safety and security and to imaging, lighting and engravings. Its usage basically depends on the ability of light to detect everything in a fast, sensitive and accurate way. Several of its applications are explained below,

1. The branch of Bio photonics stems from this idea and it involves the use of light based technologies in the medicinal field.

2. In several of the advanced lighting technologies such as solid state lighting, photonics are used.

3. The idea of Photonics is also employed for ensuring safety and security to people, goods and the environment. It makes it possible to build contactless sensors and other visual applications.

4. Lasers, which have now become quite versatile tools, also employ the idea of Photonics behind them.

Thus, the applications of photonics are quite ubiquitous and they continue to evolve gradually.

Eligibility

A candidate having Bachelor’s degree with Physics and Mathematics can pursue MSc. in Photonics or optoelectronics and with this, one can further pursue MTech /MPhil /PhD in the field.

Top Colleges

India

There are some top notch institutions which offer courses in Photonics and optoelectronics in India. Such as,

1.    Cochin University of Science and Technology

2.    National University of Technology, Calicut

3.    International School of Photonics, Kochi.

 Global Destinations

The United States of America has the largest intake of students where it is also the largest employer of the individuals with this career degree.

1. University of Arizona (College of optical sciences)

2. University of Rochester (New York)

Scotland is the second most famous destination for students as the accommodation can be pretty easily compensated by scholarships and the tuition fees is much less than that in the US.


Prospects

This is one field where there’s no shortage of jobs due to the lesser number of students. Candidates having the degree in optics and photonics are often absorbed into various national research laboratories and industries. Also, due to the technical skills, programming and mathematical skills that the graduates from this field have, a lot of other career options can be explored, too, in the job market.

The top notch recruiters in this field include Advanced Photonics, J2 Optronics private limited, Eagle Photonics, Optiwave Photonics limited etc. The Photonics experts are at times also hired as engineers, technicians and scientists and apart from this, they also get into various government and private universities as lecturers.

Salary

The salary of Photonics researchers and scientists in India is in the range of Rs 20,000 – to Rs 30,000 plus other perks and benefits that they are often ascribed to. When you work in a reputed private industry like Suresh Indu Laser (SILASER), you earn far more. Seeing the demand in the western countries the average salary offered to the individual is around $80,000 .

Why should you join this field?

This is the just the perfect option for an individual who has a high curiosity to understand and learn the varied uses of light in different fields and explore new sources for the innovative uses of light.

No doubt, there will be some challenges in the beginning but once an individual overcomes the initial hurdles, he can find it extremely challenging.

Thus, a career in the field of photonics is extremely promising at the moment.

The writer is CEO, mavencareercoaching.com and is based at Panchkula.

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