A recent market report shows that the industry is thriving. Spectaris, the German industry association for optical, medical and mechatronical technologies, has recently put together an extensive market report on - among other things - the state of the industry of lasers and optical components in Germany. The world market, which ../includes more than lasers and optical components, is estimated to be worth about e100bn. According to the world market index Optical Technologies, the world market of photonics increased 25 per cent in 2004.
The fact is most people outside of the optics industry have only an inkling about what optical engineers do and remain unaware that optical technologies are all around them - from the headlights and dashboard illumination in their cars to the charging lights in their electric toothbrushes.
Optima has made a business out of teaching people to use Zemax products.
Optima began life in 1994 as an optical components shop, trading out of the bedroom of its founders Denise Evans and Mark Nicholson, in Bishop's Stortford. Evans had previously worked for several optical companies and was general manager of Spindler and Hoyer. Her idea was to compete with the likes of Melles Griot and Thorlabs, but she wanted to specialise in the more upmarket and higher margin product lines.
For an update on predictions for future applications of the laser from the likes of SPIE's Eugene Arthurs and four other spokespeople, have a look at: Guiding light - predictions for the future of photonics.