Kevin Robinson, Senior News Editor; Robert Pini and Dan McCarthy, News Editors; and Michael Wheeler, Associate News Editor; and Richard Gaughan, Contributing Editor
Photonics and medicine have been companions at least as long as doctors have used light to kill bacteria or treat psoriasis. Only recently has technology begun to catch up with physician's wish lists, however. Photonics technology now has eased into medical treatments in many ways from light-activated cancer therapy to dental lasers.
Increased demand for laser procedures by the public and increased acceptance by physicians has led to growth in medical laser sales in the past. Now, however, a maturing medical laser market is facing cost cutting measures promoted by managed care but will continue to grow albeit at a modest pace.
The result of a mature market is that the technology is becoming subject to the same cost-cutting initiatives that more traditional medical equipment has been seeing. Doctors want reliable photonic devices, but they want them cheap, and they want them easy to use.