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Photonic technology is central to the Information Society of today and tomorrow. Optical fibers underlie high-speed communication in access, metro, and long-haul networks, making the use of the Internet possible over intercontinental distances. Light is also at the heart of integrated optoelectronic devices for data modulation and routing, CDs and optical data storage, and all types of displays.

ICFO conducts research in classical communications, covering areas such as integrated optics, optoelectronics, and optical fiber devices. We also investigate disruptive approaches based on nanophotonics and quantum technologies. Nanophotonics offers an unprecedented miniaturization potential. Quantum information systems represent a qualitative leap forward in the design of specialized communication systems for applications like high-security transactions of commercial or strategic interest.

Ongoing research thrusts focus on areas as diverse as advanced displays, plasmonic-based devices, light emission and detection by nanoantennas, wide-scope transparent ultrathin-film electrodes, novel micro and nanofabrication technologies, compact quantum cryptography, quantum satellite communications (sponsored by the European Space Agency), quantum memories, quantum computation, and advanced quantum information protocols. ICFO collaborates with research centers, Universities, and corporations worldwide.


The multi-disciplinary nature of photonics makes collaboration between specializations essential. Groups are comprised of scientists from a mix of backgrounds including Physics, Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, and Clinicians.