The physicist Niels Bohr once famously said ‘those who are not shocked when they first come across quantum theory cannot possibly have understood it’. Quantum mechanics today remains a bit of a mystery even among those who study it. The theory had its opponents from its conception, most notably Albert Einstein – Bohr and Einstein held a series of discussions debating quantum physics.
The European Commission is careful where it puts its money when it comes to science and technology funding, but €17m was put aside in October 2009 to fund the LIFT project. The four-year
programme aims to keep European industry at the forefront of both fibre laser development and usage, and covers the whole fibre laser value chain from diodes, to gain fibres, to MOPAs, transmission fibres, and scanners.
Rules, regulations, and standards seem to have a huge influence over the LED lighting market; international and EU standards cover many aspects of how to quantify the output of an LED, which can vary hugely in terms of colour and brightness, and even regulations covering the safety of LED light sources have been introduced. LEDs offer much greater efficiency than their incandescent predecessors, and more than the current generation of compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) high-efficiency bulbs.
Hamamatsu Photonics is certainly one of the photonics industry’s big hitters. With an €800m turnover, more than 4,000 employees worldwide and numerous offices and subsidiaries around the globe, it’s a serious player – with products across the photonics spectrum, from detectors and diodes, to sensors and light sources and beyond.