Manipal University offers a two-year M.Sc. course, and job prospects are good
A lot of emphasis is now being given to energy conservation, telecommunications, microelectronics and biomedical instrumentation. It is here that the field of photonics plays a vital role.
Photonics is used in a variety of fields ranging from barcode reading in shops and markets to data interfacing in space stations. Photonics is also used for energy conservation and energy harvesting.
It is used in communication, networking and microelectronics, thanks to the advent of optical sensors, LEDs, LASERS and other optoelectronic components. It is also essential in sectors such as industry, defence, healthcare and entertainment.
The increasing and widespread application of photonics has naturally created a demand for skilled photonics professionals.
Taking into account this demand, besides other institutions in the country, the Department of Atomic and Molecular Physics at Manipal University in Manipal offers a two-year (four-semester) course in M.Sc. Photonics. In the last semester, the students have to do internship or work on a project.
According to the Head of the Department of Atomic and Molecular Physics at Manipal University, Santhosh Chidangil, “Photonics is booming in the United States, Europe and China. India is lagging a little behind. But the Union Government has taken steps to make up for this gap.”
The minimum qualification for admission to the course is a Bachelor’s degree in Physics / Electronics / Applied Physics or M.Sc. in Physics / Applied Physics or B.E. in Electronics and Communication / Material Science / Electrical and Electronics with a minimum of 50 per cent of marks.
The syllabus for the first three semesters deals with topics such as basic and advanced photonics, light matter interaction, laser physics, mathematical physics, optical communication and devices, optical materials, optical measurement, nonlinear optics, biophotonics, and entrepreneurship development. It also includes laboratory courses in basic and advanced photonics wherein the students gain knowledge and skill in handling the various equipment and techniques.
The Department is equipped with state-of-the-art technology such as Raman Spectroscopy Laboratory, High Performance, Liquid Chromatography – Laser Induced Flourescence Laboratory, Raman Tweezer Lab, Femtosecond Laser Laboratory, Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy Laboratory, and Laser Induced Flourescence Laboratory.
Another plus point is that the Department has collaboration with reputed institutions such as Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai; Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai; Raman Research Institute, Bangalore; and Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore, where the students can do their projects. “After working in our high-end labs, students find it quiet easy to work in these reputed institutions,” said Surya Harikrishnan, Professor.
Students can look forward to a career in industry, research and development, and academics after completing their postgraduation or doing Ph.D. “Our Department has produced eight Ph.D.s in the field of biomedical optics,” Dr. Chidangil said.
The students are all praise for the facilities and faculty at the Department. Vanessa Rodrigues, who did her postgraduation here and is now pursuing her Ph.D., said that though she had done her B.E. in Electronics and Communications, she was interested in optical fibre communication. “The curriculum here provided for a smooth transition. The tie-up that our Department has with reputed institutions is another positive aspect,” she added.
Archana Hegde, who is doing her postgraduation, said: “The labs here have the latest equipment. Working in the labs here helped a lot in my summer project at BARC, Mumbai.”
Uday B.M., another postgraduate student, said that though he had done B.E. in Electronics and Communications, he thought photonics was an emerging field. “Besides, I am interested in research. So I decided to opt for photonics. I enjoy working in our high-end labs,” he said.
Madhura R. Somayaji, another student, said: “My interest in physics propelled me to take to photonics.”
The Department also conducts a certificate course in Laser Applications in Biology and Medicine. It has 80 hours of interactive sessions and 26 hours of laboratory sessions. The minimum qualification for admission to the certificate course is a Bachelor’s degree in Science/Medicine/Nursing/Pharmacy /Allied Health/ Engineering.