The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in Bonn recently published technology reports based on information gathered through its Networks of Competence initiative. The networks, which are designed to pool the resources of experts in industry and science, cover 21 fields, ranging from aerospace to traffic and transportation, across 32 regions of Germany. Focusing on current research projects, the publications highlight innovative applications and provide a global perspective on each field.A 44-page document on optical technologies encompasses information from 10 associations in the program, presenting profiles of their research activities. It covers innovative products that are either under development or ready for market, and it includes contact information for each network. Among the members, PhotonicNet GmbH of Hannover lists its core competencies, including coatings, biophotonics, optical components, light sources and concepts, and test and measurement. It also lists its international activities. A group at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, based in Göttingen, coordinates one of the projects. Called Spotlite, its aim is to use conventional light sources to overcome the diffraction of the light microscope and increase its resolution to a few nanometers. A section on conducting research highlights Germany’s strengths in optics and engineering and details how to apply for research funding. The final chapter includes links to Web sites that involve optical technologies in that country. The optical technologies report and others published by the ministry can be found on the program’s Web site, www.kompetenznetze.de.