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Plus ça change …

May 2011
“The future has never looked brighter for photonics technologies. The industry at once has become truly global and vigorously regional, with photonics producers and consumers in Europe playing an increasingly pivotal role in its rapid expansion.” With those words Laurin Publishing launched EuroPhotonics 15 years ago.

As the industry has grown and thrived, EuroPhotonics has published the region’s top stories, delivering news and features in more than a decade of stand-alone print issues and, recently, issues-within-issues inside Photonics Spectra, as well as online at Despite changing times and formats, our interest in and commitment to covering photonics research, manufacturing and applications in Europe, as well as acknowledgment of the region’s importance to the global photonics industry, remain constant.

Today, as European nations fight their way back from the trauma of widespread recession, the “truly global and vigorously regional” photonics industry finds itself at the center of high-level European Commission discussions focused on growing innovation and industry across Europe. In an article in this issue, Thomas P. Pearsall of the European Photonics Industry Consortium explains where photonics fits in with the other designated key enabling technologies thought to be indispensable for the delivery of smart, sustainable and inclusive European growth. Those technologies are photonics, nanotechnology, micro- and nanoelectronics, advanced materials, industrial biotechnology and advanced manufacturing systems.

“Sustainable and profitable manufacturing in Europe is a condition for continued investment in education, research and development,” Pearsall says in the article “Key Enabling Technologies for Growth,” beginning on page 18. “There also is strategic importance based on innovation. Without strong support for discovery and innovation, there can be no strong added-value production, only low-cost mass manufacturing.”

Also in this issue, we feature an article on the multidisciplinary efforts combining physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, informatics and medicine for the development and application of optical techniques and tools for biomedical imaging, diagnostics and therapy. Find details in “ECBO Promotes Advances in Biomedical Optics,” by Christoph K. Hitzenberger of the Medical University of Vienna, beginning on page 26.

New concepts in the design and construction of structural elements in automobiles can save weight, time, cost and installation space, according to an article by Dr. Rüdiger Brockmann and Peter Kaupp of Trumpf Laser-und-Systemtechnik. Read how the use of profiles, single-sided laser joining and interlocking connectors leads to simpler construction techniques in “From Flange to Butt Joint: Lasers in Auto Production,” beginning on page 22.

From Israel and France, we bring you a report called “Could ‘floatovoltaics’ solve the land space debate?,” in which UK-based contributing editor Marie Freebody describes the work of Yossi Fisher, CEO of Solaris Synergy. He believes in the potential for leveraging untapped water surfaces to deploy the first floating solar power plants. Read the article beginning on page 16.

The world today is different even from the one we all shared just 15 years ago, but an indisputable constant is the regular and important contributions to the global photonics industry that first came to light on the European continent. As the pace of change continues to accelerate, and new information bombards us from every direction, it is vitally important to have a resource for and about this dynamic region.

It gives us great pleasure to deliver this issue to you, and we look forward to a second stand-alone issue in October. Please send your comments to me at

automobile manufacturingBasic SciencebiologychemistryChristoph K. HitzenburgerECBOEditorialenergyengineeringEPICEuropeEuropean CommissionEuropean Photonics Industry ConsortiumEuroPhotonicsimagingindustrialInformaticsJeffrey E. BesseKaren NewmanmanufacturingMarie FreebodyMedical University of ViennamedicinemicroelectronicsnanonanoelectronicsopticsPeter KauppPhotonics Spectraphotonics.comphysicsrecessionRudiger BrockmannSolaris SynergyThomas P. PearsallTrumpfYossi Fisherlasers

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