Having hosted a number of photonics research projects, Osaka University is among the key photonics research centers in the world, with many of its faculties and schools conducting research and education from basic to applied levels and thereby producing numerous talented engineers. From 2001 to 2006, its Graduate School of Engineering pursued the “Frontier Research Institute,” a program for “Fostering Strategic Centers of Excellence under the Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology,” in which a nanophotonics project was selected as one of the priority areas.
Under the framework of this program, aggressive efforts were made to establish photonics as an academic discipline and interconnect it with other disciplines, and also to promote industry-academia collaboration through, for example, joint research via matching funds with various businesses. It was in the spirit of such endeavors that in 2005 the Nano-Photonics Initiative was formed as an independent multidisciplinary research institution, gathering together researchers of electric and electronics engineering and applied physics. This research institution has since committed itself to the advancement of nanophotonics research, creation of new industries, and human resources development through a variety of initiatives, which include the startup of three venture businesses under the lead of the university, sponsorship of three rounds of the “International Nanophotonics Symposium Handai” convention, e-learning courses for working adults, and publication of an academic books (Handai Nanophotonics Book Series Vol. 1, 2, 3, Elsevier).
Originally a virtual organization within Osaka University, the Photonics Center is carrying on the mission of this Nano-Photonics Initiative, providing opportunities for researchers in this broad-based discipline to engage in education, research, and information sharing. With the completion of the Photonics Center Building in 2011, the Center has further consolidated its foundations. With the participation of over 20 laboratories from many different graduate schools and majors courses, as well as numerous businesses, the Photonics Center is currently promoting three projects. The details of these projects are as follows.