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  • Photonics Gets Billing in New Law
Aug 2005
WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 -- The Optical Society of America (OSA) said the language in a bill signed by President Bush on Aug. 10 will keep photonics at the forefront of federal policy.

The new law, the "Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users" (HR 3, section 5310, subsection 3) authorizes funds for federal highways, highway safety programs and transit programs for fiscal years 2005-2009. It defines an intelligent transportation system as "electronics, photonics, communications or information processing used singly or in combination to improve the efficiency or safety of a surface transportation system."

Sens. Christopher Bond (R-MO) and James Inhofe (R-OK) and Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) were conferees on the bill and were largely responsible for the inclusion of the word "photonics," OSA said.

"Congress and the administration clearly recognize the importance of the contributions of optics and photonics to transportation needs," said Elizabeth A. Rogan, executive director of the OSA.

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The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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