P21 LogoPhotonics21 is the European Technology Platform (ETP) for photonics, a technology encompassing all of the products and processes around the emission, manipulation and detection of light. Photonics is integral to a wide range of industries, including the medical, healthcare, transport, manufacturing, and telecommunications sectors.


"Photonics21" was set up in December 2005 to bring the community of photonics researchers and industries together. The European Commission defined photonics as one of five European Key Enabling Technologies (KET's) in September 2009. Shortly after, the European Research & Innovation Program "Horizon 2020" invited Photonics21 to become a "Public Private Partnership". The "Photonics21 Association", a legal entity under Belgium law, became the private contract partner in November 2013 in a Public Private Partnership in conjunction with the EU Commission.

Today, Photonics21 represents more than 4,000 personal members from across Europe and abroad. Our members are experts in the photonics industry, research organisations and universities who actively engage with us to develop a joint photonics strategy for future research and innovation in Europe.

Several Nobel Prizes have been awarded to European scientists for photonics achievements in the past two decades. 5,000 European SMEs are so-called hidden champions and world market leaders in their specific photonics markets.

As of 2022, the global photonics market was worth € 786.5 billion. The European photonics industry has grown from € 103 billion in 2019 to € 124 billion in 2022. With a 6.5% CAGR, the European Photonics Growth exceeds the EU’s GDP. The European photonics industry has considerable global leadership positions and employs about 430,000 people directly.

With a positive growth forecast and a leading position in the development of photonics components and systems, Europe has a competitive advantage in many key markets and policy areas, such as quantum internet, quantum computing, next-generation microelectronics, autonomous vehicles, Industry 5.0, virtual worlds or fusion energy.

Learn more

Photonics21 News