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Photonics Spectra Preview - August 2022

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Here is your first look at the editorial content for the upcoming August issue of Photonics Spectra.





Quantum Workforce Recruitment

Photonics may soon be the victim of its own success at providing every increasing control, and leverage over quantum effects. With potential applications in timekeeping, sensors, communications, encryption, and computing, quantum technology is threatening to bloom into an entirely new, disruptive, and massively profitable industry almost overnight. The one potential damper to Quantum's explosive growth isn't just the lack of a qualified workforce, it is a clear definition of a qualified skillset. Associate editor Joel Williams interviews photonic experts on the quantum frontier to try and define what combination of skills future quantum workers will need to compete, where those workers might come from, and how photonics will fit into their job description.

Key Technologies: quantum

The State of STEM Programs

The skills gap and lack of qualified workers is a familiar challenge for the optics fabrication sector, as well as other corners of the photonics industry. The gap will only become more acute as incumbent industry sectors must compete for workers with emerging sectors like photonic integrated circuits and quantum technologies. Amidst this competition, one thing the industry can agree on is the need for a fatter pipeline of STEM students at the secondary education level. Contributing editor James Schlett explores federal, state, and private initiatives to help academia attract talent to STEM disciplines earlier and more often.

Key Technologies: optics, photonic integrated circuits, quantum

Femtosecond Lasers

Advancements in femtosecond (fs) fiber lasers have led to increasing efficacy in two-photon direct laser writing, which permits the creation of three-dimensional structures with feature sizes on the order of 100 nm. One exciting breakthrough this technique has introduced is photonic wire bonding - the optical analog to the metal wire bonding familiar to the electronics industry. This development has particular relevance to the challenge of photonic chip packaging as it allows in situ fabrication of single-mode freeform waveguides able to couple optical chips with high efficiency. Since photonic wire bonds can be adapted to the exact positions of the chips, complex active alignment techniques are no longer imperative. The implications of this are highly attractive for the automatization and mass production of on-chip integrated photonic circuits. Menlo Systems and Vanguard Automation discuss the basic principles of fabricating these waveguides and their tremendous potential for photonic integrated circuits.

Key Technologies: Femtosecond lasers, silicon photonics, photonic integrated chips

Photonic Techniques for Art Analysis

For hundreds of years, the analysis of irreplaceable cultural artifacts and artworks came at some expense to their care and preservation. Photonics has helped conservators balance both evaluation and preservation by enabling non-destructive analytical techniques similar to those used in revealing forged documents or currency. Marie Freebody talks to art conservators to get their perspectives, preferences, and best practices when applying photonic techniques to their work.

Key Technologies: Hyperspectral cameras, IR and SWIR cameras, laser-based pump-probe microscopy, Nd:YAG and ER:YAGs for cleaning, laser speckle interferometers

Choosing an Imager For Your Microscope

This article outlines some basic rules of thumb and best practices for choosing the right camera sensor to optimize digital imaging quality for microscopy applications.

Key Technologies: cameras, microscopy, sensors

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