realization of how vulnerable the United States is to the need for certain critical materials. At this time, some of those materials are available only from China.

Recommendation: The U.S. R&D community should increase its leadership role in the development of nanostructured materials with designable and tailorable optical material properties, as well as process control for uniformity of production of these materials.

Chapter 10: Displays

Chapter 10 addresses display technology. The major current display industry is based on technologies invented primarily in the United States, but this industry’s manufacturing operations are located mostly overseas. Labor costs were a consideration, but other factors such as the availability of capital were significant in creating this situation. However, the United States is still dominant in many of the newer display technologies, and it still has an opportunity to maintain a presence in those newer markets as they develop.

Recommendation: U.S. private companies and the Department of Defense should ensure a leadership role by funding R&D related to new materials for flexible, low-power, holographic and three-dimensional display technologies.


In reviewing the technologies considered here, a number of potential future opportunities have come to light that allow one to imagine changes to daily life: for example, electronic imaging devices implantable in the eye which can restore sight to the blind; cost-effective, laser-based, three-dimensional desktop printing of many different types of objects; the generation, detection, and manipulation of single photons in the same way as is done with single electrons, and doing it all on a photonic integrated circuit; the use of optics as interconnects between integrated circuit chips, with dramatic increases in power efficiency and speed; the unfurling of a flexible display on a smartphone or the watching of holographic images at home; and the ability of mobile lasers to neutralize threats from afar with high accuracy and speed. These are just a few interesting examples of potential changes that can occur as a result of the enabling technologies considered in this study.

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