Welcome to the annual Photonics Spectra trends issue. In years past, we have explored industry direction by looking at developments in specific technologies, and by delving into societal impacts on the photonics industry and its technologies.
For this issue, managing editor Laura Marshall envisioned a report on prevailing directions in photonics in the context of innovation – the technological trends that are driving advancements.
These inclinations include sustainability, miniaturization, new materials and modularity. Each feature will look at lasers, optics and imaging, plus other technological areas where these drivers are at work. We follow up those features with a Q&A with industry leaders on the impact of the economy on the photonics industry, and of the industry on the economy.
We begin our look at current trends with the article, “Sustainability,” by contributing editor Marie Freebody, beginning on page 45. Freebody, who has written for Photonics Media since 2009, starts off our issue on strong footing: “From individual citizens and businesses right up to entire industries and governments, efforts to improve sustainability, reduce carbon footprints and increase energy efficiency are driving new – and sometimes surprising – innovations across the field of photonics.” The remaining features are:
“Miniaturization,” by contributing editor Hank Hogan, page 53;
“New Materials,” by science writer Valerie C. Coffey, page 59;
“Modularity,” by contributing editor Gary Boas, page 65; and,
“The Economy,” by Photonics Spectra editor Justine Murphy, page 71.
Also in this issue, we take a look at the developing area of silicon photonics. Author Giacomo Losio, head of technology for ProLabs, writes, “From the business point of view, silicon photonics is on a quest to leverage investment, infrastructure, tools and manufacturing processes of the complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) industry. This will put optics on a trajectory similar to that of integrated circuits (ICs) in terms of integration, manufacturability, scalability, power and cost.” Read the article, “Silicon Photonics: A Field that Is Constantly Changing,” beginning on page 78.
Not to be missed, we give you a look at the finalists in the 2015 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation. The annual awards are presented by Photonics Media and SPIE. The winners will be announced in February at a ceremony during SPIE Photonics West.
And, finally, with the long-awaited start of the International Year of Light 2015, we launch our own monthly review of dates throughout history that have figured in ways large and small in the history of light-based technologies. The calendar can be found on page 20. I encourage you to follow Photonics Media’s weekly newscast, Light Matters, for coverage of worldwide events celebrating IYL2015. Light Matters can be found at Photonics.com/LightMatters.
Enjoy the issue.