Electronics & Photonics


A booming field

Established within the ESTER Science Park, in the space of just a few years the Electronics & Photonics field has gained prominence for its regional excellence. Organized around a research institute, transfer center, the competitiveness cluster Alpha-RLH and specialist businesses, this ecosystem harnesses significant expertise in electronics, photonics and laser processes.

Going to great lengths

The Electronics & Photonics field came about in 1995.
As an authority in electronics, extremely high frequencies (EHF), optics and photonics, the research institute XLIM was the first to make a move, while the technology transfer center CISTEME, an expert in wireless systems and EHF, spearheaded the development of electronics.
A decade later, in 2005, the competitiveness cluster ELOPSYS was founded and set up base at ESTER Science Park. Fast-forward to 2017, and its merger with the Bordeaux-based competitiveness cluster Route des lasers & des Hyperfréquences (RLH) gave rise to the ALPHA-Route des Lasers & des Hyperfréquences ® (ALPHA-RLH) cluster. Today, this is an acclaimed leader in France in the fields of Photonics and EHF, and behind an unprecedented regional drive.

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Major-league players

ESTER Science Park therefore forms the bedrock of a regional ecosystem at the forefront of innovation. Research labs, technology transfer centers and engineering school ENSIL-ENSCI all share collaborative projects there, pooling their respective areas of expertise and know-how to develop tomorrow’s innovations and advance research and the competitiveness of businesses.

The ALPHA-RLH cluster’s activities on-site are creating a springboard for startups to emerge, some out of the XLIM research institute. Such young innovative companies as AMCAD Engineering or KAMAX have thus been able to boost their growth thanks to the support mechanisms for project leaders, connections with financing structures and networking with potential tech partners.

Since the construction in 2012 of the three public buildings of the CIRE (Center for Innovation and Research in Electronics), the ALPHA-RLH Cluster’s networking has been optimized with the different stakeholders in the field.

Energizing the field today and instrumental in its expansion are such key training, research and industrial stakeholders as:

What’s more, Safran and Oerlikon, the CNRS and University of Limoges have opened a joint research laboratory, PROTHEIS, as well as a tech platform, SAFIR, dedicated to the manufacturers in the Surface Treatments sector, in a bid to facilitate the transfer of research findings to the aeronautical industry. These complementary tools wields unrivalled clout on the European stage.

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Major innovations

In the context of the SAFIR platform, in 2019 the aeronautical industry hailed the photonics and EHF research conducted on the aircraft of tomorrow.

Transfer center CISTEME, meanwhile, has worked on developing the first aircraft windshield design incorporating antennas and fiber-optics flight electronics for a lightweight solution that is easy to install.

Last but not least, the Faculty of Science and researchers from the research lab XLIM have teamed up on the prototype for an opto-electronic generator designed to detect mines for defense purposes.

This extensive range of renowned expertise is fuelling the sector’s growth and raising its profile well beyond national borders.