Key Recommendation: Small U.S. companies should be encouraged and supported by the government to address market opportunities for applying research advances to niche markets while exploiting high-volume consumer components. These markets can lead to significant expansion of U.S.-based jobs while capitalizing on U.S.-based research.
Recommendation: U.S. funding agencies should continue to support fundamental research in optics and photonics. Important subjects for future research include nanophotonics, extreme nonlinear optics, and number-resolving photon counters for a truly linear-mode single-photon detector. Support should be provided for applying advances to devices for market application.
The fifth grand challenge question is partially supported by the discussion in this chapter and is thus repeated here with some supporting information.
How can the U.S. optics and photonics community develop optical sources and imaging tools to support an order of magnitude or more of increased resolution in manufacturing?
Meeting this grand challenge could facilitate a decrease in design rules for lithography, as well as providing the ability to do closed-loop, automated manufacturing of optical elements in three dimensions. Extreme ultraviolet is a challenging technology to develop, but it is needed in order to meet future lithography needs. The next step beyond EUV is to move to soft x rays. Also, the limitations in three-dimensional resolution on laser sintering for three-dimensional manufacturing are based on the wavelength of the lasers used. Shorter wavelengths will move the state of the art to allow more precise additive manufacturing that could eventually lead to three-dimensional printing of optical elements.