The Quantum Electronics Group was founded in 1972 to provide a forum for burgeoning interests in lasers and their applications, coupled with related areas such as nonlinear optics, photon statistics and coherent/quantum optical phenomena.
In 1999 its name was changed to include the increasingly important area of photonics. The membership of the Group is drawn equally from education, government and industry. As well as running its own programme of meetings and conferences, the Group maintains close contact with the Institution of Electrical Engineers' Optical Technology and Applications Group, The Royal Society of Chemistry and the Quantum Electronics Division of the European Physical Society.
Lasers and related devices are now being used widely in many different fields; for example materials working, communications, medical surgery and therapy, printing, semiconductor processing, chemical processing, remote sensing, etc. They also provide a unique research tool that has had a considerable impact on many scientific disciplines while, at the other extreme, they have a significant entertainment value through the development of laser light shows and holographic displays. The remaining major division of the field of quantum electronics deals with the interactions of coherent light with matter and again leads to a wide range of all-optical and opto-electronic devices. The devices too are rapidly becoming important commercially in areas such as communications, military technology and computing.
One of the most important activities of the Group is organising the series of Quantum Electronics and Photonics (QEP) Conferences that now form part of the biennial Photon series. In addition the Group runs half- and one-day meetings on specific topics in the field, sometimes replacing the specialist approach with one of a more tutorial nature.