The Center for High Technology Materials led the University of New Mexico’s celebration of the Year of Light in the Student Union Building today.

Light and photonics are responsible for the creation of the Internet, weather and climate monitoring, the fabrication of computer chips, advances in medical technology and dentistry, airport screening technology, solar cells, and barcodes found on products for purchase, among many other technologies.

CHTM is considered a world leader in some areas of light and photonics according to Sanjay Krishna, director of the Center.

“Optics and photonics have had a huge impact on our lives every day,” said Majeed Hayatt, professor of Electrical and Computer engineering and associate director of CHTM. “It’s good for the public to understand why it’s important and the impact the industry has had on the state and the role the state has played in the development of the industry.”

According to statistics provided by New Mexico Optics, the photonics industry employs more than 6,000 entrepreneurs, manufacturers, technicians, and finance, marketing and salespeople across the state. Ninety-six companies produce $28 billion in revenue in the state, and 33 percent of the patents granted in the state since 2009 are photonics related.