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  • Toward Sustainability

Photonics Spectra
Mar 2013

Seven months after the release of the National Academy of Sciences report, Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation, efforts are ongoing to showcase just how the technologies can solve problems, enable innovation, facilitate economic growth and improve lives, according to a recent press release from OSA. At an event last month in Washington, industry leaders gathered once again to discuss the future needs of the industry.

One of the report’s recommendations was for a National Photonics Initiative (NPI) aimed at bringing together public and private partners to talk, in part, about the photonics industry’s economic impacts and activities.

An advisory committee comprising representatives from the American Physical Society, IEEE Photonics Society, Laser Institute of America, Optoelectronics Industry Development Association, OSA and SPIE will work to establish the NPI.

“The NPI will provide an opportunity to create the infrastructure for ongoing industry road mapping, economic impact analysis, and improved interface between industry, academia and government funding agencies,” said OSA past President Thomas Baer of Stanford Photonics Research Center, chair of the NPI advisory committee. “We believe an NPI is essential to advancing the field of optics.”

Attendees at the Washington event heard from leaders in energy, communications, advanced manufacturing, biomedical and defense, who discussed efforts and investments to support innovation and jobs creation. Among the participants was Doug Hall, portfolio manager, SunShot Initiative, a DOE collaborative national effort to bring the cost of solar energy in line with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.

Going solar for sustainability

In our cover story, science writer Valerie C. Coffey runs down a healthy list of how optoelectronics firms are going green, saving money and helping the planet. Spoiler alert: Reducing energy use and going solar are high on the list. Read the article, beginning on page 40.

Sticking with solar, contributing editor Hank Hogan catches some rays – sun and laser – and describes the leading role of lasers in important solar cell production functions including etching, scribing and isolating. The feature starts on page 44.

Leading off our technical features, Bert Geelen, Nicolaas Tack and Andy Lambrechts, all from imec, introduce multi- and hyperspectral imagers using integrated Fabry-Perot filters on top of an image sensor for low cost, compactness and high speed. Read the article beginning on page 48.

From the enormous, we move to the very small in an article about the ubiquitous LED’s finding new work in lighting up very small spaces. In “MicroLED Arrays Find Applications in the Very Small,” Dr. William Henry of InfiniLED writes, “This new field of LED-based miniature light sources and arrays has been driven by the development of microLED emitters in UV, blue and green wavelengths.” The article starts on page 52.

We return to the multispectral realm for an article by Michael Degel and Elvira Gittler, both of Jenoptik Optical Systems GmbH, describing the benefits of hybrid diamondlike carbon coatings for multispectral use. See “Multispectral Optical Coatings Are Tough, Versatile for IR Applications,” beginning on page 56.

Enjoy the issue!

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