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The term biophotonics denotes a combination of biology and photonics, with photonics being the science and technology of generation, manipulation, and detection of photons, quantum units of light. Photonics is related to electronics in that it is believed that photons will play a similar central role in future information technology as electrons do today.

Biophotonics has therefore become the established general term for all techniques that deal with the interaction between biological items and photons. This refers to emission, detection, absorption, reflection, modification, and creation of radiation from biomolecular, cells, tissues, organisms and biomaterials. Areas of application are life science, medicine, agriculture, and environmental science.


In microscopy, the development and refinement of the confocal microscope, the fluorescence microscope, and the total internal reflection fluorescence microscope all belong to the field of biophotonics.

The specimens that are imaged with microscopic techniques can also be manipulated by optical tweezers and laser micro-scalpels, which are further applications in the field of biophotonics.

For a controversial minority view of Biophotonics see: Biophoton

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