Photonics is a research area that has developed in the last decades after the invention of the laser. With respect to its more modern and contemporary aspects, Photonics is intimately related to Nonlinear Optics. Research in Nonlinear Optics has made it possible for a wide variety of interdisciplinary activities that stimulate, for instance, Photonics and their applications. Examples of Photonics applications can be found in several branches of activities. Concrete applications are related to the development of new materials which present adequate optical response to be used as sensors or light emitters; the development of new lasers, optical limiting systems, all-optical switches, optical memories, devices for optical communications and biophotonics applications.
The associations among the laboratories that form the National Institute of Photonics - INFo, are making it possible to face challenging problems that demand higher investment in human resources. Another advantage of the articulations in the Institute is the availability of more equipments and the infrastructure that can be shared by the participant groups.
The formation of a multidisciplinary team, involving physicists, chemists, engineers and biologists have important consequences in the quality of the research as well as in the approach and solutions of the problems under investigation.
The research being made present wide and up-to-date interest not only for the evolution of basic science, but also for applied areas such as Materials Sciences, Materials Chemistry, Communications Engineering, Biology and Health Sciences.
The most relevant social contribution of the INFo has been the formation of human resources. This is an inherent activity to the Institute, due to the fact that most of the laboratories are located at Universities. Even the associate laboratories at CLA/IPEN/CNEN, CBPF/MCT and CETENE/MCT, located at Research Institutes, have strong participation or contribute to graduate programs at USP-SP, CBPF and UFPE, respectively.