Perhaps the most ubiquitous use of photonics technologies occurs in entertainment. Televisions have increasingly incorporated sophisticated displays into their designs, concerts feature large LED walls, and holographic gaming is becoming commonplace. The drive for more realistic experiences has driven the development of technologies such as OLED and Quantum Dots that use less power and have greater color ranges than their predecessors.

Displays are a critical enabling technology for the information age. Over the last two decades, liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) have become the dominant type of display, displacing the cathode-ray tube. During this period, LCD technology improved dramatically in several aspects, including resolution, quality, reliability, size, cost, and capability.

Small displays are used for cell phones and tablets, and large ones for desktop computers, table-based displays, TVs, and wall-mounted displays. However, there is always a drive toward bigger displays.

The use of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) is a growing trend in displays. The fact that the principal pixel component in an OLED display is an LED eliminates the need for external back-lighting technology. The next generation of displays will incorporate Quantum Dots, nanoparticle sized semiconductors that will emit light at specific frequencies.

An interesting technology that might have a major impact in the future but will require major investment and innovation is that of flexible displays. Flexible material (such as glass or a polymer) could be used for newspapers, magazines, and “pull down” screens, replacing the typical screen and projector.

Increasingly, at concert venues, LED lighting and panels are replacing incandescent light bulbs and projection displays. Their flexibility, brightness, variability of movement, and durability contribute to their widespread adoption in the entertainment industry.

Light is an essential element in art and culture. Pigments absorb or reflect light to produce the colors we see with our eyes. Lighting can be used in artistic ways using inexpensive tools that almost everyone has access to. Lights Painting is a new and creative way to incorporate light based technologies as artistic displays.

Related Courses found in the
B.S. in Photonic Science and Engineering Program at UCF:

Imaging and Display

This course introduces the basic principles of two- and three-dimensional imaging systems. It includes the mathematics of image formation as a linear system and introduces point spread function, transfer function, resolution, and restoration. Objects such as microscopes, telescopes, and copiers operating in the gazing and scanning configurations are modeled and their resolution assessed. Interferometric imaging systems and their applications in metrology are described.

Laser Engineering

Includes the concept of a photon, processes of interaction of light with matter (and its application to detectors), the generation of light via spontaneous and stimulated emission, atomic transitions leading to fluorescence. Properties of lasers are introduced as the basis of optical amplifiers. Optical resonators are described as a means for optical feedback. Lasers as an optical oscillator are compared to radio and microwave oscillators. Basic characteristics and types of lasers: continuous wave and pulsed lasers. Covers commercial, industrial and medical applications of lasers. Nonlinear optics and its use for wavelength conversion.


The course includes a description of the interaction of light with semiconductor materials in a p-n junction configuration, the phenomena of absorption, electroluminescence, and stimulated emission. The distinction between direct and indirect compound semiconductors materials is noted. Includes photodiodes, light emitting diodes (LEDs), semiconductor optical amplifiers, and laser diodes. Array detectors, including complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) and charge-coupled devices (CCD) arrays, and array LEDs are included. Basic specifications and applications of each of these devices are described, including solar cells, imaging with array detectors, and LED displays.