Photonics, the science behind how light transmits data, is already in use here in fibre optic cables that provide people with an Internet connection, but its potential is huge, said American firm Palomar Technologies in launching a new research facility here.
By 2025, over 75 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be connected to networks with data transferred at 100 times the speed capable with today's bandwidth, said Palomar.
"The rise of IoT in our homes and cities requires the need for higher data transfer speeds, increased computing power and more efficient capacity handling, while photonic devices must be smaller in size and more sustainable - thereby transforming the core of technology development," the firm said.
On Tuesday, it launched an Innovation Centre - located at Tradehub 21 in Jurong - to give manufacturing firms access to, among other things, research and low-volume prototyping for the assembly of devices that enable IoT and 5G wireless networks.
"With Singapore's focus on Smart Nation, Internet of Things, and supporting next-generation innovation such as driverless cars and 5G wireless, our Innovation Centre ensures more regional companies have access to technologies that can support the speed, bandwidth and clean power required by these applications," said the firm's vice-president of global sales Rich Hueners.
The centre, the first in South-east Asia, was launched in partnership with the LUX Photonics Consortium, an initiative supported by the National Research Foundation Singapore and established in partnership with the Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, Agency for Science, Technology and Research and industry partners. The consortium seeks to translate photonics research into applications.
Professor Tjin Swee Chuan, chairman of LUX Photonics Consortium, said photonics has "revolutionised the way we communicate and will continue to do so with the ever-increasing demand for more data and faster data rates".
"Toolsets that integrate photonics into current technology platforms will allow us to achieve our vision of a Smart Nation," he added.
The centre, Prof Tjin said, will enable Singapore manufacturers to translate cutting-edge research in photonics into diverse applications.
The Innovation Centre also involves DenseLight Semiconductors, a division of Canadian POET Technologies that develops and manufactures optical light source products.