Optics / Photonics

It was not a random decision to set up our business here in Provence. There is an excellent 'concentration' of technologies at the TECHNOPÔLE MARSEILLE-PROVENCE.

AKA OPTICS - Optics Manufacturing - Russia

High-End, Value-Added Technology For Multiple Markets

The optics-photonics sector has found particularly fertile ground in Provence with a great variety of businesses and entrepreneurs invested in the field and a great many more benefiting from their work. Optics and photonics are multi-purpose technologies that can be applied to multiple industries and having a vibrant ecosystem on site is an enormous benefit for the entire economy of Aix-Marseille-Provence.

Companies in this sector have a traditional focus on high-tech markets such as aeronautics, space, security, defense, or telecommunications, but broader applications of the technology means businesses can branch out into more general areas such as automotive, lighting, electronics, or medical devices... What's more, with an extensive network of internationally renowned research laboratories, Provence also provides the skills and innovations required to ensure this sector continues to flourish.

Success Founded in Synergy and Science

At the forefront of scientific, technological, and industrial development in the region, the optics and photonics sector is characterized by its highly qualified workforce (engineers make up 80% of the employees in the sector) and its strategy of permanent innovation that requires a strong synergy between companies and science.

The science-industry dynamic is underpinned by global companies such as Airbus Helicopters, Dassault Aviation, Thales Alenia Space, and DCNS with further support from the OPTITEC competitiveness cluster, and it serves as a trigger for growth across the optics and photonics sector. Notably, OPTITEC's Opti'Pass program promotes the transfer of research technologies to the private industry to trigger growth and ensure area companies remain international leaders.

Key Figures From The Optics and Photonics Sector

  • France’s 2nd largest regional concentration of optics companies;
  • 25% of national R&D into optics and photonics;
  • A purpose-built research/business pole, the OPTITEC competitiveness cluster;
  • Highly innovative SMEs, with 20% of their turnover dedicated to R&D, and 50% of their turnover derived from exports;
  • 80 start-ups created in the past 10 years with an 85% survival rate after five years (Hôtel Technoptic).

Provence's Optics and Photonics Advantage

• The presence of major research organizations: CEA, CNRS, INRIA, IRSTEA, IFREMER, ONERA...;

• Laboratories involved in major international programs: ITER, E-ELT, Virgo, Antares;

The Hôtel Techoptic of Château Gombert in Marseille: a business incubator and accelerator dedicated to tech start-ups in optics, photonics, and connected objects that provides technology platforms for collaboration and innovation;

• The OPTITEC competitiveness cluster: a community of nearly 200 members, including more than 130 companies and 10 000 employees in South-Eastern France. The cluster has awarded more than 300 collaborative projects worth €550 million and provided €130 million in subsidies to companies and research laboratories;

• Extremely well-equipped technological platforms with more than 150 high-end optical tools that, beyond laser spectrometers, lasers, diagnostics material, and radioactive surface decontamination machines, also include:

- A space AIT/AIV Center along with a POLARIS mirror manufacturing facility at the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (Astrophysics Laboratory of Marseille);

- A micromachining platform using femtosecond lasers (PMU) hosted by the Lasers, Plasmas and Photonic Processes Laboratory (LP3);  

- The PACA2M project for cathodic sputtering for two-meter optics carried out by the company Cilas;

- The European Platform of Shared Resources in Adaptive Optics (PEMOA), located at the Hôtel Technoptic (Marseille Innovation) that offers new ways to advance research into adaptive optics applications in medical imaging, biotechnology, and defense.