College of Photonics, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University

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Introduction to College of Photonics

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College of Photonics at Tainan campus

Challenging the high-tech industry

The College of Photonics was established at Tainan campus of the National Chiao Tung Unviersity in 2009. This is the very first college of photonics in Taiwan. The college was established based on the solid foundation of outstanding research in the area of photonics, semiconductors and information technology in conjunction with the strong demand of research and development of the high-tech industry in Southern Taiwan Science Park (STSP), as well as the education of engineers and scientists needed for these industries. There are several research institutes in the college. These include Institute of Photonic Systems, Institute of Lighting and Energy Photonics, Institute of Imaging and Biomedical Photonics,Interdisciplinary Photonic Technology Research Center, and Biomedical Engineering Research Center.

Optoelectronic industry has been the fastest growing sector among high-technology industries in Taiwan during the last decade. According to a recent report by the Photonics Industry & Technology Development Association (PIDA), the output value of Taiwan optoelectronic industries has reached over two thousand billion NT dollars in 2007 (while the output value of semiconductor industries is estimated to be one thousand and five hundred billion NT dollars). In other words, optoelectronic industry has become the largest high-technology industry in Taiwan. It is estimated that optoelectronic industry can still maintain 17% annual growth rate and its output value will reach five thousand billion NT dollars in 2011. The achievement is a result of the government’s policies on high education and high technology industry.

Output value of high technology industries (unit: billion NT dollars)
Industry 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Semiconductor 6,529 8,188 10,990 11,179 13,933 15,011
Display 3,006 4,162 7,150 9,720 12,784 15,764
Digital content 1,537 1,892 2,300 2,902 3,412 3,609
Biotechnology 1,109 1,316 1,449 1,604 1,791 2,000
Information source: ITRI IEK、TSIA、Ministry of Economic Affairs, March 2007

Providing the human resources needed 
There are over fifty thousand employees working in STSP, while the revenue has already exceeded five hundred and fifty billion NT dollars last year. Up to 95% of the companies in STSP belong to optoelectronic and/or semiconductor industries. This is the largest optoelectronic industry cluster in the world. It is estimated that total employment in Southern Taiwan will reach one hundred thousand people and the total revenue in Southern Taiwan will reach one thousand billion NT dollars in few years. As a result, the demand of human resources will become even more severe compared with Hsinchu and Taichung Science Parks. The establishment of the College of Photonics at Tainan campus can provide the education of engineers and scientists needed for these industries. 

Talent requirement for high-tech industries in 2007-2009 (unit: person)
Industry 2007 2008 2009 Total
Semiconductor 13,600 16,700 5,500 35,800
Display 5,600 6,000 5,400 17,000
Biotechnology 1,155 1,010 940 3,105
Communication 2,300 1,900 2,000 6,200
Information Service 7,890 8,460 9,070 25,420
Digital content 6,000 6,400 7,100 19,500
Information source: Science and Technology Advisory Group of Executive Yuan, March 2007

To increase the ability to compete in the global arena, the industry must depend on its R&D capability. Highly skilled engineers are badly needed for this purpose. In order to accommodate the vigorous development of optoelectronic industries and to provide the engineers and scientists for the 21 century, NCTU establishes the very first College of Photonics in Taiwan at Tainan campus. The college will provide outstanding research and teaching environment for the training and learning of photonics technology. The engineers and scientists graduated from the college will provide the human resources needed in the local industries, leading to the elevation of their global competition capability. 

Development framework

College of Photonics of NCTU established three research institutes in the initial phase of development with a low student/faculty ratio. These are Institute of Photonics System, Institute of Lighting and Energy Photonics, and Institute of Imaging and Biomedical Photonics. Each year 25 master students will be recruited for each of the three institutes. From the beginning of 4th year, three new institutes, including Institute of Optoelectronic Materials, Institute of Imaging Photonics, and Institute of Biomedical Photonics will be established with 15 master students recruited per year for each institute. 

We expect to reach 500 graduate students and 50 full-time professors in five years. To maintain excellent teaching and research qualities, we plan to keep the teacher/student ratio below 1:10. Furthermore, the chair professors are expected to be at least 20% of the total faculty members. 

Development Goal

The Department of Photonics of NCTU has built up strong research and teaching basis on photonic sciences, optical communication, optical storage, optical design and measurement, and display technology. On the basis of these achievements, the College of Photonics of NCTU at Tainan shall develop further teaching and research in these areas of photonics and optoelectronics. 

The development goal of College of Photonics is to evolve into a college that integrates important research areas of College of Science (mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology), College of Engineering (Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering), and College of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The vertical and horizontal integration of core courses and professional programs are likely to make our graduated students even more competitive to face future science and technologies. 

Strategies and Approaches

We plan to develop the college based on the solid foundation build up by the Department of Photonics and Tin Ka Ping Photonics Center as well as the research capability in the area of Electrical Engineering, Computer Information, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Physics, Applied Chemistry, and Biology-related departments. We also plan to establish further university-industry research collaboration programs as well as international collaborations for the healthy development of our research institutes within the college in basic and applied photonics as well as core industrial technologies, leading to a world-class college of photonics. Specific strategies are listed as follows: 

  • Establishment of comprehensive education and research program (master-Ph.D.-post doctoral research);
  • Construction of open laboratories providing world-class hard and software for pioneering research;
  • Recruitment of internationally recognized scholars as chair professors and post-doctoral researchers to do innovative research and to increase NCTU’s reputation in the field of optoelectronics.
  • Promotion of international collaboration via holding conferences, visiting, and dual-degree program;
  • Formation of close collaboration with domestic and international research institutes and industries.

Primary goals for future research and teaching plans:

  • Training and education of R&D engineers for optoelectronic industries.
  • Training and education of talented engineers and scientists for innovative research and problem solving.
  • Training and education of leaders with communication and management abilities.
  • Providing excellent educational and research environment for the dissemination of optoelectronic technologies and knowledge.

Course Content

The course design emphasizes the following core abilities for all graduate students in three institutes in College of Photonics: 

Core ability 1 – possess basic knowledge of geometric optics, physical optics, photoelectronics, 
        electronics and computer
Core ability 2 – familiar with characteristics and applications of optical materials
Core ability 3 – understand operating principles and applications of common optical devices
Core ability 4 – Able to use software of optical design and measurement, and understand their 
        mathematical and optical basis
Core ability 5 – possess professional abilities in design and analysis of optoelectronic systems
Core ability 6 – present research results in thesis/presentation, and master at least two different languages
Core ability 7 – possess basic managing ability to coordinate team work and exert personal creativity 

Each student is required to select 9 credit points from those core courses. The elective courses can be selected each year or every two years.