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Photonics Spectra
Since 1967, Photonics Spectra magazine has defined the science and industry of photonics, providing both technical and practical information for every aspect of the global industry and promoting an international dialogue among the engineers, scientists and end users who develop, commercialize and buy photonics products. Stay current with a FREE subscription to the digital or print edition.

Latest Issue
Feb 2019

Connectivity - as above, so below

My Instagram account recently reminded me how big the year 2018 was for space exploration and connectivity. December marked the 50th anniversary of Earthrise, the iconic photo of our planet. NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe, which is headed toward the sun. Elon Musk rocket-launched a Tesla Roadster, with its quaint passenger, Starman. Loon, Alphabet Inc.’s balloon-powered internet access venture, made progress on connecting the world’s 5 billion remote and rural users. And SPACETY, a Chinese aerospace company, launched four new satellites as part of its visionary laser communication network.

But while millions of people were gazing up, I was gazing down, wondering about our oceans.

The Ocean Cleanup launched in 2018 and brought my attention a little closer to home. While the cleanup is working to eliminate swirling vortices of garbage from the surface of the ocean, I learned from this month’s feature writers that most global connectivity is happening below, moving through subsea fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor.

Communication has been moving across ocean floors since the 1850s, when the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cables were laid. The industry received a huge boost in 1988, when TAT-8, the first trans-Atlantic fiber optic system, was laid. Today, about 90 percent of the world’s international digital data moves via subsea fiber optics. And according to a source in the fiber optics business, over a million kilometers of submarine cable are in service globally.

So, while space images and technologies may capture imaginations via Instagram accounts, the hard work of staying connected on Earth is being performed by fiber optics, a true workhorse industry. Hank Hogan’s article shows how subsea cables are managing the data deluge (read), Andrei Stolov of OFS offers a granular look at how fibers perform in harsh environments (read), and Pierre Laperle of OZ Optics details how components help strengthen fiber’s capabilities (read).

Also this month, Farooq Ahmed looks at ultrafast lasers (read) and John Blyler gives an update on Li-Fi (read). Finally, Robert Smythe, of Äpre Instruments, and Zachary Hobbs, of Sydor Optics, write about how optics are benefitting from a new type of measurement — spectrally controlled interferometry (read).

Mike Wheeler
An accomplished journalist and editor, Michael Wheeler oversees Photonic Media's editorial operations, spanning print, online, and video. He also serves as editor of Vision Spectra, chronicling advances in the rapidly expanding machine vision/inspection sector.
Chris Bergonzi
Managing Editor Chris Bergonzi has more than 35 years of experience editing, managing, and writing for consumer publications and peer-reviewed journals covering business, management, technology, and science.
Susan Petrie
Susan Petrie is Senior Editor of Photonics Spectra and has two decades of experience with print and digital publications. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Bennington College.
Justine Murphy
Senior Editor Justine Murphy is an award-winning journalist with 20 years of experience in newspaper and magazine publishing, marketing, and public relations. She is editor of EuroPhotonics and BioPhotonics and produces industry-focused podcasts.
Robin Riley
Multimedia/Web Editor Robin Riley has 30+ years of experience in communications and marketing for a range of technical industries. She is a regular contributor to web content and social media, and organizes and produces custom and editorial webinars.
Valerie Coffey
Science writer Valerie C. Coffey holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s in astronomy. She has covered optics, photonics, physics, and astronomy for a variety of industry and academic publications since 2000.
Hank Hogan
Contributing Editor Hank Hogan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. He worked in the semiconductor industry and now writes about science and technology.
Marie Freebody
Contributing Editor Marie Freebody is a freelance science and technology journalist with a master’s degree in physics and a concentration in nuclear astrophysics from the University of Surrey in England.
Farooq Ahmed
Farooq Ahmed has covered the physical and biological sciences for over a decade. He has a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Brown University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Columbia University.
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