Precision in coatings, material purity and surface shape will be even greater priorities for optical manufacturers.
Photonics Spectra editors
Changes in the optics market are coming, and fast.
The Internet and overnight courier services have changed customer expectations for service and immediate delivery. Improved PCs and easy-to-use optical design software are enabling customers without formal optics training to do more of their own engineering work.
Applications are also changing. Semiconductor and electronics manufacturers are pushing for improvements in their own products, which in turn makes higher demands on precision from raw material and finished optics, especially in the UV.
These applications are demanding more of traditional machining lasers, leading to a need for more nonlinear optics that convert light from IR to other wavelengths.
The quest for more communications bandwidth is pushing not only fiber optics manufacturers, but also those who supply optical coatings for components in wavelength division multiplexers and microlenses to improve laser diode efficiency.