Photonics is a technology that focuses on detecting, generating, transporting and processing light. The technology resembles electronics. There is one major difference though: instead of electrons, photons are used to transmit information. This process is both more energy-efficient and faster. Photonics is typically used for displays, lighting, lasers, solar cells, sensors and fibre optic networks.

Value for the Dutch high tech industry

Photonics is used for laser instruments and in microchips, among other applications. Photonic microchips, for example, consume much less energy than their electronic predecessors, so they are a potential solution to the exploding energy consumption we see in data centres. But they can also be used for extremely high-precision applications, such as monitoring aircraft wings, or for bridge and skyscraper construction.

The same applies to precision agriculture; photonic chips allow farmers to sow, fertilise or irrigate at exactly the right time. The photonics ecosystem of the Netherlands includes more than 300 companies and institutions where thousands of people are already working directly or indirectly with photonics, both in large companies and in small and medium-sized enterprises and startups.

What we do as Holland High Tech

Holland High Tech supports the sector by funding research and innovation and by helping identify the right partners within business, government and education.

Photonics Road Map

The Holland High Tech 2020-2023 road map sets out how the photonics sector will develop over the next ten years. This road map is complementary to the National Photonics Agenda and lists the most important application areas of photonics and relevant areas of research and technology development for the Netherlands.

Photonics Road Map 

HTSM Photonics Road Map 2023-2030, version September 2023.
By PhotonicsNL, Optics Netherlands, PhotonDelta, the Dutch Research Council (NWO), the Netherlands Investment Agency (RVO) and partners.

Download here


Questions for the road map team?

Send an email


For the Netherlands, innovation is essential. We are working on smart technologies to address major societal challenges: Dutch solutions to global issues. Through technological innovation and with our unique knowledge, we as a country are acting to ensure security of work and income in the future. Holland High Tech increases the impact of innovation. Find out more about our themes and our (key) technologies.

Our themes       Technologies

Dit is een alt-tag


What is going on in the ecosystem? Stay up-to-date with the latest developments in our top sector and discover the latest high tech applications and ongoing research.

To the current dossiers