The IOSAT was formed in October 2002 to promote research excellence in all areas of advanced photonic science and technology as well as industrial application.

It comprises the following two major research centres:

The CARP's mission is to promote research excellence in all areas of advanced photonics technology and their engineering applications. Areas of interest include optoelectronic devices, components, subsystem modules, optical communication systems, optical networks as well as photonic sensors for biomedical applications.

Affiliated with the centre are several laboratories such as the Lightwave Communications Laboratory, the Optoelectronics Laboratory, the Solid State Electronics Laboratory, the Photonic Packaging Laboratory, the MOVPE Laboratory and the Centre for Micro and Nano Systems.

The centre, supported by the University, has a mission to promote research and teaching excellence in all areas of optical sciences. Due to the wide range of technological applications of optical sciences, much of the research is interdisciplinary, involving participation and collaboration of researchers from different speciality areas, namely, physics, chemistry, biology, electronic and information engineering. Student training with a focus on optical sciences is provided in the form of postgraduate studentships. The centre has laser light sources that operate from the VUV to mid-IR, with corresponding radiometric and spectroscopic detection systems. Additional hardware includes materials characterization instrumentation such as SEM and TEM for a comprehensive investigation of novel optical materials.