Ottawa is well established as a global leader in photonics. Ottawa’s robust photonics sector is supported by a solid base of industry, government and educational initiatives. A magnet for new people and ideas, Ottawa boasts the highest concentration of research scientists and engineers in Canada. The photonics industry in Ottawa has experienced many changes over the last few years. Previously the sector was dominated by a few key players such as JDSU, Ciena, Alcatel-Lucent, but today Ottawa is home to almost one hundred small to medium size companies with a focus on niche and vertical market segments with considerable global reach. Some of the local companies include: Neptec Design, Mobile Detect, Picarro, Lumenera, XYZ RGB, Montrose Technologies, BTI Photonics, OZ Optics and Optiwave.
The Ottawa region’s photonics industry encompasses an array of technologies related to the commercial application of light, including fibre optics, lasers, and optoelectronics, imaging, optical processing of information, and related applications. These technologies are central to the growth and evolution of life sciences industries.
Optical technology is evolving quickly and investment is exploding to meet a seemingly insatiable demand for advanced communications technology. The Ottawa Photonics Cluster (OPC), is the voice of Ottawa’s photonics community. By providing opportunities for networking, guest speaker presentations, and trade missions, OPC is committed to helping our members attract investment, employees and business opportunities locally and internationally.
The Ontario Center for Excellence for Photonics is partly funded by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. It is committed to creating new photonics knowledge and technology, fostering the supply of highly qualified people at all levels, enhancing applications and commercialization and to establishing regional and international collaborations.
Ottawa’s telecommunication equipment companies have been involved in photonics for several years and many of the region’s photonics firms have spun out of local firms. More recently, however, new photonics-specific companies have spun out of government incubators or have been formed in the region as both local suppliers and producers for markets outside the region. As the sector moves forward our traditional strengths in telecommunications and defence are moving into the emerging fields of life sciences, the environment and energy. Technological synergy between telecommunications, microelectronics and photonics is strong and is one key reason why Ottawa leads the country in growth of this industry.
Ottawa companies have established a foothold in several key areas including:
- Image/Video Analysis&Processing
- Vision Control/Monitoring Systems
- Opto-electronics/Optical Communications
- Optical sensing&monitoring
- Laser Technology
- Discrete Optical Elements
- Display Lighting & LEDs
- Fiber Optics
- Imaging & Scanning Systems
- Test and Measurement
Stemming from decades of research performed in university and government laboratories, Ottawa is home to key photonics research and innovation infrastructure including:
NRC – Institute for Microstructural Sciences
The National Research Council Institute for Microstructural Sciences (NRC-IMS) is one of Canada’s most important research facilities devoted to discovering the quantum, electronic, and photonic properties of leading edge materials. NRC-IMS develops devices and integrates them into complex IT-enabled systems
NRC – Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (CPFC)
NRC-CPFC is supporting the growth of the Canadian photonics sector by offering their clients and partners access to cutting-edge photonics fabrication services. They provide simulation, design, fabrication, testing and prototyping services to help move innovative photonics devices to market.
Communication Research Centre (CRC)
Communications Research Centre Canada (CRC) is the federal government’s primary laboratory for research and development in advanced telecommunications, and a centre of excellence in information and communications technologies. It is the only national laboratory with critical mass and expertise in the four major platforms that form the basic transport mechanism for information delivery across Canada: wireless, broadcasting, satellite and fibre optics
Carleton University’s Advanced Photonics Component Group
Their area of expertise deals with novel devices and systems based on photonic waveguides made of glass, in fibre or planar configurations. More specifically, they have unique expertise and capabilities for the development of devices based on periodic structures, fabricated in our laboratories. Finally, their main fields of application focus on optical sensing, as well as active devices in glass for lasers and modulators.
University of Ottawa’s Centre for Research in Photonics
The University of Ottawa has built a world-class Centre for Research in Photonics (CRPuO) founded on existing strengths of Science, Engineering and Medicine. The CRPuO will fully explore the scientific foundations of photonics to develop a rigorous understanding of how photons may be manipulated and controlled as they interact with matter, apply theoretical and experimental knowledge to develop new classes of photonic materials and devices, and develop new systems concepts based on photonics technology.
Company Case Studies and Testimonials – Ottawa Photonics Industry
- Enablence Technologies Inc.
- Group IV Semiconductor Inc.
- Iridian Spectral Technologies
- Neptec Design Group Ltd.
- OZ Optics Limited