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Government of South Australia - Department of State Development


    South Australia is a world leader in photonics

    Photonics harnesses the power of light to create new products and solutions for applications in agriculture, communications, healthcare, mining and defence, among many others.

    It is intrinsic to our society. The networks that bring people and data together, the tools used to fabricate microchips and automobiles, the screens on our phones, computers and televisions, the sensors in everything from advanced aircraft to public bathrooms – all rely on photonic technologies.

    Photonics is a key enabling technology and a strategic sector for our state. South Australia is a world leader in photonics, boasting cutting-edge research institutions and a thriving commercial photonics ecosystem.

    The Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS), located at the University of Adelaide, delivers world-class photonics research across a range of industry sectors, including defence and space, health and biotech, energy and mining, advanced manufacturing, and agriculture. The Institute has worked with industry partners on more than 90 research collaborations.

    South Australia excels in five areas of photonics:


    Imaging and diagnostics for biomedicine, agriculture and environment


    Customised for military, space, biomedical, industrial and mining applications

    Optical sensors

    Environment, space, energy, military, infrastructure and industry markets

    Specialty glass and optical fibres

    For use in all the above technologies and markets

    Quantum photonics

    Ultrasensitive measurements for military, space and geophysics

    $614 millionSouth Australia's photonics output
    30photonics entities in SA
    $1.34 trillionexpected global photonics market by 2030
    I Stock 1217883612 1

    Lighting a New Path

    The South Australian Government commissioned international experts to develop a roadmap for the photonics industry in 2016: Lighting the Way.

    The intervening years have seen new technological developments, changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the rise of critical technologies, resulting in the sector growing from 800 to approximately 1,500 jobs.

    This updated roadmap – Lighting a New Path: global opportunities for the photonics industry in South Australia – outlines new opportunities for the industry to grow, accelerate South Australia’s leadership in this important area, and contribute to positive economic growth.