(TheHill) Elizabeth A. Rogan, CEO of The Optical Society (OSA), penned this editorial concerning President-elect Biden’s plans for scientific R&D and urges greater investments for key industries such as quantum technology that are made possible by optics and photonics.
Rogan: As President-elect Joseph Biden fills key positions to address global challenges from COVID-19 to climate change, the scientific community is optimistic he will prioritize research and development.
Quantum science, 5G, and artificial intelligence (AI) have received substantial support in recent years with more than $1 billion in awards for new research institutes. The National Quantum Initiative (NQI) Act, signed in 2018, is a coordinated federal approach to support the development of new technologies, such as the next-generation of quantum computers and quantum sensors.
The U.S. National Research Academy also called for greater public investments in high-intensity lasers to enable applications notably in energy, biology and security. We request that President-elect Biden continue to expand government support for these key industries made possible by optics and photonics, the science of light. An encouraging sign is his proposal for a $300 billion investment over four years in 5G, AI and other technologies to spur the creation of high-quality jobs.
Biden’s support is well documented. In 2015, he hailed civilian and defense applications of photonics at the launch of the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics) in Rochester, N.Y. The institute, he remarked, will “generate the next great breakthrough.”

Background info: Quantum Optics & Quantum Technologies
Quantum optics has practical applications, e.g. quantum cryptography, which is the use of quantum effects for secure transmission of information, and quantum metrology. The applied fields are also called quantum photonics as a field within quantum technology. The following types of products are specific for those fields:
single-photon emitters
photon pair sources
low-noise photodetectors, e.g. for photon counting
optical traps
systems for quantum cryptography including quantum key distribution
parts for scientific research on quantum computing