Optics plays a major role in our society. Seeing a distant star. Harvesting the energy of the sun. Transmitting information across oceans. Detecting and treating cancers. These are among the many feats that have been enabled by research into optics and photonics. At the University of Victoria, the comprehensive research program in optics and photonics spans Faculties of Engineering and Science, with internationally-recognized and world-leading researchers. Some of the professors use optics as a powerful yet precise tool, whereas others are exploring new and fundamental ways of interacting light with matter.

Engineers at UVic are involved in optical systems that can make telescope images sharper, probe the properties of matter using holograms, transmit data with greater speed and accuracy, trap and manipulate living cells and viruses and create more advanced microscopes. In Chemistry and Engineering, researchers are creating new optical materials at the nanoscale, ranging from single atom emitters and quantum dots to exotic semiconductor crystals. These new materials hold promise for brighter lasers, more sensitive light detectors and less expensive technologies overall. Chemistry and Engineering researchers are also developing optical methods of sensing down to the ultimate single-molecule level, enabling earlier detection of cancers and the development of new drugs. Chemists are also interested in light-matter interactions at surfaces and at the nanoscale. In Physics and Chemistry, many researchers are exploring the interaction of light with magnetic materials. They are interested in using light to manipulate and sense the spin of electrons, as a new type of information carrier. Finally, interesting hybrids of light-matter waves are being explored including magnons, polaritons and plasmons, both for fundamental interest and for potential applications.