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An annual milestone celebrating the importance of optics and photonics worldwide.

The International Day of Light is observed on 16 May annually. This  global initiative provides a focal point for the continued appreciation of light and the role it plays in science, culture and art, education, and sustainable development, and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications, and energy.

Lasers for Sustainability
Forget the Death Star, lasers are for sustainability.

16 May was chosen for the Interntional Day of Light because, on 16 May 1960, the laser was first demonstrated by Theodore Maiman. Optics and photonics-- and lasers specifically-- play a critical role in sustainability.  Read Optica President-Elect Jim Kafka's perspectives on the key areas where lasers are having a an impact. 

Seeing the Unseen
Finding transparent particles in the air, water and human body.

From transparent cells in the human body to micro- and nanoplastics in the ocean, there is a global need to detect clear particles efficiently and regularly. Read early-career researcher Guangwei Hu's article on his and others work to meet this need.

Possible through light
Meet the people who work with light.

The "Possible through light" campaign, created jointly by Optica and SPIE, provides an opportunity to meet professionals working and studying in optics and photonics from across the field. Content includes two new professionals featured for 2024.

Find stories of impact for optical science and members of the community.

This collection of articles on the importance of light science and technology from OPN magazine is curated specifically around the themes of the International Day of Light.

International Day of Light
Visit the official site for the International Day of Light.

Explore the content, register an event, stay connected to the celebrations taking place worldwide.

Image for keeping the session alive