April/May 2010


Missing out the middle man

Now that we are well into 2010, the optics and photonics industry understands that economic recovery from the 2009 crash will be slow and hopefully steady. Consumers are savvier than ever and will make shrewd decisions on who will supply their optics and photonics products. Developing a relationship directly with an optics and photonic products manufacturer can be beneficial not only to your bottom line, but also save your organisation valuable time, resources, and headaches.

Custom solutions


Efficient growth for fibre

First introduced in the late 90s, fibre lasers have come to have dominance over other technologies in 1μm lasers. The combination of low maintenance, high electrical efficiency, and very high beam quality has allowed fibre lasers to become a highly disruptive technology in markets from high power lasers for cutting, cladding, and welding, to low power lasers suitable for medical and marking applications.


The search for new blood

During the Executive Panel discussion at Photonics West in January, there was a lively debate about recruitment, and more specifically, about from where the next batch of optical engineers would emerge. There are a number of interesting initiatives around the world, each of which aims to bring industry and academia together to generate interest in photonics, and present it as a genuine career opportunity for budding scientists.

The Photonics Academy, Wales, UK


Scaling up

Astronomy is all about the big questions: How was our planet formed? Are we alone in the Universe? These are the sorts of things that go through a star-gazer’s mind on a cloudless night. To look up at the night sky is to look back in time, as the light reaching us originated millions of years ago – the Andromeda Galaxy, one of the most distant celestial bodies visible to the naked eye, is 2.5 million light-years away. Therefore, clues to the formation of planets like ours can be seen in distant galaxies.


Organic growth

Most of the features printed in Electro Optics over the course of the last year have touched on the challenges of the recession. Biophotonics, however, is an application area that has weathered the storm particularly well – in part, because of good levels of public sector funding. Many applications, old and new, look set to come up swinging as the markets recover.


The fibre provider

The explosion in interest in fibre lasers in the past few years has served IPG Photonics very well. In spite of increased competition as other suppliers developed their own products, it has increased awareness of fibre laser technology to bring it very firmly into the mainstream.