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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
Sep 2018

Innovation Collision

MICHAEL D. WHEELER, MANAGING EDITOR, michael.wheeler@photonics.com
Mike WheelerThe freeform optic. It has captured the imagination of optical designers, given its excellent performance and the ease with which it can be integrated into today’s optical systems. But manufacturing freeform optics is a tricky proposition and has required innovations in design, measurement, and characterization.

“Like the introduction of aspheres and the various techniques needed for producing them decades before, the cart arrived somewhat before the horse,” said QED Optics’ Mike DeMarco, one of several optics experts interviewed for this month’s optics-themed special section. He notes that not long ago, freeforms were at front of mind for many, but the need for manufacturing to bring them to fruition became an afterthought.

That’s beginning to change as a result of recent contributions from research consortia standardizing how freeform optics are defined, machined, and polished. Helping advance the cause is the speed with which this information can be accessed by the global optics community, according to Jessica DeGroote Nelson, director of technology and strategy for Rochester, N.Y.-based Optimax Systems Inc.

“The ability to easily communicate and collaborate on a global network is allowing more opportunities for these innovation collisions to occur,” DeGroote Nelson said.

Additional insights from the optics community can be found in this month’s special section from Senior Editor Justine Murphy (read article).

Turning to our lead feature this month, white light interferometry has long been an important tool for medical imaging, surface profiling, and thickness measurement. Recent innovations now allow for the nondestructive measurement of multilayer materials, such as touchscreens and compound lenses, and for very thin optics, such as soft contact lenses. Don’t miss “White Light Interferometry for Highly Accurate Thickness Measurements,” by Sam Margolis and Michael Houk, of Bristol Instruments Inc. (read article).

Elsewhere in the magazine:

• Authors from Ophir Optics Solutions Ltd. examine the strict requirements of large, high-performance mirrors in “Manufacturing High-Performance Mirrors” (read article).

• Contributing Editor Hank Hogan explores recent advances in 3D laser printing in “With Lasers, 3D Printing on a Miniature Scale” (read article).

• Timbercon’s Jonathon Goldstein, Ian Hass, and Jason Furtner examine the extreme conditions that fiber optic communication designs must consider in “Harsh-Environment Fiber Optics for Aerospace” (read article).

• Aerotech Inc.’s RJ Hardt takes a close look at the processes behind mass production of optical devices in “Nanometer-Scale Industrial Automation for Optical Device Manufacturing” (read article).

Enjoy the Issue!
Mike Wheeler
An award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, Managing Editor Michael D. Wheeler oversees editorial content for Photonics Spectra, EuroPhotonics, BioPhotonics and Industrial Photonics magazines.
Justine Murphy
Senior Editor Justine Murphy is an award-winning journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. She is editor of EuroPhotonics and BioPhotonics, and also produces industry-focused podcasts.
Autum Pylant
News Editor Autum C. Pylant is an Air Force Veteran with 10+ years of award-winning broadcast journalism experience. She is responsible for the steady flow of news and new product announcements to web and print and is the producer of the Light Matters video newscast.
 
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.
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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