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Photonics is the technology of light, a key technology of the 21st century and one of the key enabling technologies (KET) of the European Commission. Just like electrons in electronics, the photons are of great importance for numerous applications in photonics.

According to the "Photonics - Industry Report" published by German industry associations and the German Research Ministry in 2013, the worldwide photonics market was estimated around 350 billion euros. By 2020, significant growth is expected and the market will be around 615 billion euros. 

Since 2005 (228 billion euros), the global photonics market grew at an annual average of 7.5 percent twice as much as the global economic output. By 2020 a further annual growth of 6.5 percent is expected.  

Austria produces a rich number of different success stories in the field of photonics. These range from small start-up companies to large projects such as the Laser Ignition System for European Space Vehicles or Laser Hybrid welding by Fronius.

A potential study on photonics and optical technologies at the city of Vienna, commissioned by the city in 2012, has identified 218 companies active in these areas in Vienna, employing a total of around 56,000 people and generating sales of around EUR 17.8 billion.