CSIR Photonics Prototyping Facility (PPF)
Photonics is revolutionising the 21st century with its novel and influential technologies. Even though it is a driving force in accelerating economic growth, South Africa and the rest of Africa has a minuscule market share of this growing economy. One of the major contributing factors to this lack of impact is that frequently, many invented Photonics technologies are not commercialised, let alone prototyped in Africa. The barriers to cross this ‘innovation chasm’ are a lack of skilled manpower (scientific and business expertise needed to industrialise technologies) and a lack of funding (to develop the necessary infrastructure and facilities).
The PPF is aiming to address this problem by providing world-class facilities, technical support, equipment and scarce skills, to assist in industrialising these un-tapped technologies.
The PPF supports the development of photonics-based products, specifically the prototype development phase to test the market for acceptance of the planned product. Through the PPF programme, the CSIR makes available a range of expertise and skills including laser design, optical design, opto-mechanical design, electronic, mechanical and industrial engineering design expertise and first class optical laboratories to support the development of these prototypes.