Photonics involves the study or "photons" or light particles. These particles can carry far more information than electrons, their conventional counterpart. That makes photonics ideal for use in communications and signal processing, be it a simple radar system or a complex "star wars" military defense network.
Martin Marietta Corp., whose area laboratories are working closely with the University or Maryland Baltimore County on photonics research, uses the technology in several products.
*Special goggles for Army helicopter pilots to use at night.
*Targeting systems used in "smart" weapons.
Other areas with wide-ranging potential for photonics technologies include computing, broadcasting and telecommunications.