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  • To a Great Future

Photonics Spectra
Oct 2014
Karen A. Newman, Group Publisher,

There’s a Great Future in Photonics. Let’s do something about it.

Of course, it was plastics that had a great future and gave us such a memorable line from the 1967 film “The Graduate.” But before we know it, the word photonics will be on everyone’s lips. I call your attention to the open letter from John Dudley, opposite this Editorial Comment, about the important opportunity presented by the International Year of Light 2015. Many of you are wondering how you can participate and what kind of impact you can have. The wonderful thing about IYL2015 is that you can do what you would like to do to make an impact where you want to make it. The sky’s the limit.

There is plenty to celebrate from the industry perspective. As SPIE reported earlier this year, the core photonics components industry today is made up of 2750 companies in 46 countries, and together all those companies generate $156 billion in revenues. It also means 700,000 jobs.

As Dudley writes in his letter, “Industry has an absolutely vital role in working with us to inspire the STEM workforce of the future and to explain to politicians and decision makers that photonics is an essential economic driver requiring continued support and R&D investment.”

In this issue

In our cover story, contributing editor Hank Hogan reports that change is coming to optical fiber, as manufacturers work to meet the bandwidth demands from data centers and other applications. Ever-increasing amounts of data moving around require higher data rates, and a transition to 400 Gb/s is under way. Meeting speed and distance requirements will mean changes to the fiber itself, including increasing core diameter, according to experts. Read the article, “Bandwidth Demands Drive Fiber Optics Advances,” beginning on page 34.

Also in this issue, Dick Rieley, of Ophir-Spiricon, outlines the importance of measuring and controlling beam power, spot size and focal point to produce parts through laser-based 3-D printing in “Additive Manufacturing: The Laser Source Is Critical,” found on page 38. In “Applications Expand for Photon Counting,” beginning on page 43, authors Gabrielle Crétot-Richert and Myriam Francoeur of Nüvü Cameras suggest diverse and promising prospects for photon-counting imaging. “Keeping Optical Tables Steady,” by Vyacheslav M. Ryaboy of Newport Corp. and Jerome Eichenberger of Polytec Inc., delivers experimental results from a scanning laser Doppler vibrometer study of the effects of active vibration damping. The article starts on page 47.

Photochemical deposition of organic films is a significant cause of performance loss in ultraviolet systems, according to the authors of “Gas Purging Keeps UV Systems Healthy,” Dr. Adam Wise and David Riley of McPherson Inc. Inert gas purging can be a solution, as outlined in the article beginning on page 51. And, finally, Dr. Austin Richards of Flir Commercial Systems writes in “Micro Thermal Camera Opens Applications to Consumers” that a new thermal IR camera is small, low-power and inexpensive enough to be practical in a cellphone or other mobile device. Read the article beginning on page 56.

Enjoy the issue.

optical fiber
A thin filament of drawn or extruded glass or plastic having a central core and a cladding of lower index material to promote total internal reflection (TIR). It may be used singly to transmit pulsed optical signals (communications fiber) or in bundles to transmit light or images.  
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