Photonics is by definition the branch of science that deals with the generation, transmission, modulation, and detection of light. The huge potential of photonics that has been disclosed over the last 60 years of intense research activities has enabled a wide range of innovations across several fields, that include, for example, laser manufacturing and display technology, biological and chemical sensing, and medical diagnostics.
As a result, photonics has been legitimately listed as one of Europe’s key enabling technologies of the 21st century.
It therefore came as no surprise that the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS) dedicated an entire symposium to photonics; “Advanced Materials and Architectures for Organic, Printable, and Bio‐Inspired Photonics”, at their 2018 Spring Meeting.
Advanced Functional Materials now collects in a special issue a selection of papers that were presented at the E-MRS meeting, as well as additional invited contributions by leading scientists active in the field.
Guest-edited by Prof. Franco Cacialli, the issue includes 14 articles (nine full papers, four review-type articles, and a progress report).
Focus of the issue is on “organic semiconductors”, as they are soft, solution processable, and printable materials. Of particular (industrial) relevance are biological/biomimetic materials—e.g., cellulose—that are intrinsically “photonic” in nature due to a highly self-organized structure.
This article selection does not only aim at providing an overview of the latest approaches and achievements in the field, but also at encouraging the research community to explore novel, supramolecular, bio-inspired materials for photonics, thus making its way to an open question—will our era ultimately be the century of photonics?