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Photonics Spectra
Since 1967, Photonics Spectra magazine has defined the science and industry of photonics, providing both technical and practical information for every aspect of the global industry and promoting an international dialogue among the engineers, scientists and end users who develop, commercialize and buy photonics products. Stay current with a FREE subscription to the digital or print edition.

Latest Issue
Sep 2016

Measuring Up: From Aspheres to Education

Mike WheelerThe first lenses shown to have aspheric surfaces were discovered in several Viking graves on the island of Gotland in Sweden. Known as the Visby lenses, the rock crystal lenses date to the 11th or 12th century, according to “The Eye in History” by Frank Joseph Goes. It’s not entirely clear what the origin or purpose of these lenses were. What is clear, a thousand years later, is the special role aspheres play in a growing number of systems. With their unique ability to reduce spherical aberrations and focus light, a single asphere can often replace a much more complex multi-lens system. That’s a boon to manufacturers where smaller and lighter often mean better.

As with all optics, aspheres must conform to certain standards of performance — and for that, engineers turn to metrology. As we learn in this month’s cover story by Edmund Optics’ Amy Frantz, manufacturers must look beyond conventional interferometry, and weigh inspection constraints and the nature of the part before choosing a method. See “The Long and the Short of It: Techniques for Measuring Aspheres” (read article).

We shift our focus to two features that explore innovations in Raman spectroscopy, a technique prized for analyzing chemical structures without damaging the sample. In “Innovation in Surface Tracking Opens Doors to Raman Imaging Applications,” (read article), Renishaw’s Tim Batten examines improvements in focusing technology that have eliminated some of the limitations posed by rapid Raman imaging. On the subject of improvement, in cases where rugged and low-cost Raman systems are called for, linear variable filters pose an attractive alternative to gratings. See “For Compactness and Ruggedness, Linear Variable Filters Fit the Bill,” (read article).

Economic realities played a role in the discontinuation of commercial display technologies based on MEMS interferometric modulators and shutters. What is new, as we learn in contributing editor Hank Hogan’s “For MEMS Displays, Projections of Success,” (read article), is the growing role of digital micromirror devices (DMDs) in today’s projectors used in MEMS displays.

When it comes to manufacturing high-resolution displays, no ordinary laser will do. Coherent’s Rainer Paetzel and Ralph Delmdahl give us an “under the hood” look at the multiple lasers used in a multi-oscillator design required for laser annealing in “Testing the Limits of Excimer Lasers: Annealing for Advanced Displays,” (read article). Just in time for back to school, this month’s special section includes a listing of community colleges with programs in photonics and optics, (read article). Senior Editor Justine Murphy spoke with professors at several of these institutions for their take on the role of these programs in preparing tomorrow’s workforce. See “Community Colleges: Preparing the Future Photonics Workforce” (read article).

As always, thank you for reading. We hope you enjoy the issue.
Karen Newman Group Publisher Karen Newman has had a career in business-to-business and association publishing, much of it spent covering technical, scientific and life sciences subjects.
Mike Wheeler Michael D. Wheeler is managing editor of Photonics Spectra and EuroPhotonics. In addition, he is responsible for the editorial direction of BioPhotonics and Industrial Photonics.
Justine Murphy Senior Editor Justine Murphy is a multiple award-winning journalist who brings more than 15 years of experience to her role at Photonics Media.
James Schlett James Schlett is the editor of BioPhotonics and Industrial Photonics. He is also an author and award-winning business reporter.
Hank Hogan Contributing editor Hank Hogan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. Hogan worked in the semiconductor industry and now writes about science and technology.
Marie Freebody Contributing editor Marie Freebody is a free-lance science and technology journalist with a master’s degree in physics and a concentration in nuclear astrophysics from the University of Surrey in England.
Valerie Coffey Science writer Valerie C. Coffey holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s in astronomy. She has covered optics, photonics, physics and astronomy for a variety of industry and academic publications since 2000.
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