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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.

EDITORIAL COMMENT
Latest Issue
Jul 2017

As Ubiquitous as LEDs?

MICHAEL D. WHEELER, MANAGING EDITOR, michael.wheeler@photonics.com
There’s little doubt that when it comes to autonomous vehicles, the question isn’t if … but when. The high-profile legal battle between this generation’s version of the yellow cab, Uber, and Waymo, the autonomous car unit from Google, only re-affirms this presumption. The dispute centers on lidar, arguably the enabling technology behind autonomous vehicles.

Exactly how lidar systems will be configured in the cars of tomorrow — from the light source to the detectors — remains unanswered. But as Contributing Editor Hank Hogan chronicles in “Semiconductor Lasers Power Up” (read article), such systems will, in all likelihood, incorporate inexpensive and rugged semiconductor lasers, prized for their peak powers, which are critical in determining distance and accurate range information. The prospect of these lasers finding their way into tens of millions of autonomous cars one day, coupled with increased uses in optical communications, could make them as widespread as LEDs.

Speaking of ubiquity, color displays are everywhere — and have been since the cathode ray tube was developed in the mid ’50s. Liquid crystal displays (LCDs) supplanted them a decade ago, relying on LEDs instead of fluorescent tubes as energy-saving and efficient backlighting components. LCD displays remain the most robust technology on the market, but new technologies have emerged as “down-converters.” One is cadmium-based quantum dots, which boast excellent luminescence spanning the entire visible range. But an unconventional alternative — fluorescent proteins — promises a more “eco-friendly approach.” Rubén Costa’s “Quantum Dots, Fluorescent Proteins Vie for Supremacy” (read article).

Elsewhere in the issue:


• CCD time delay integration (TDI) offers the twin advantages of a high dynamic range and lower noise. A novel hybrid sensor design that incorporates both a CCD pixel array and a CMOS structure permits higher readouts, without complex external circuitry — and is ideal for inspecting wafers and printed circuit boards. Don’t miss “Hybrid TDI Sensors Feature Faster Line Rates, Higher Sensitivity,” (read article), by Vieworks’ Junghyun Nam and Wojciech Majewski.

• Marcel Friedrichs and Holger Kreilkamp of the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT present an approach that extends the lifetime of molds used with chalcogenide glass, an advance that could prove highly beneficial for the future of high-precision IR optics (read article).

• Finally, the uniformity and consistency of a laser beam are critical to industrial R&D in universities around the world. Ophir’s Dick Rieley presents the case for diagnostic cameras and specialized software in ensuring hot spots and other anomalies aren’t present. Rieley’s “Laser Beam Diagnostics Is a Critical Step in University Research,”(read article).

Enjoy the issue!
Karen Newman Group Publisher Karen Newman has had a career in business-to-business and association publishing, much of it spent covering technical, scientific and life sciences subjects.
Mike Wheeler Michael D. Wheeler is managing editor of Photonics Spectra and EuroPhotonics. In addition, he is responsible for the editorial direction of BioPhotonics and Industrial Photonics.
Justine Murphy Senior Editor Justine Murphy is a multiple award-winning journalist who brings more than 15 years of experience to her role at Photonics Media.
Marcia Stamell Associate Managing Editor Marcia Stamell has worked for general interest newspapers, the business press and national magazines as a writer and editor.
 
Hank Hogan Contributing editor Hank Hogan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. Hogan worked in the semiconductor industry and now writes about science and technology.
Marie Freebody Contributing editor Marie Freebody is a free-lance science and technology journalist with a master’s degree in physics and a concentration in nuclear astrophysics from the University of Surrey in England.
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.
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