Credit crunch countered by Canadian photonics industry

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The Canadians gathered at Photonics West 2009 in San Jose to build on what a new industry report says is a shining success.

In its survey, entitled Illuminating a World of Opportunity, the Canadian Photonics Consortium states Canada has 370 photonics companies employing some 20,000 people who collectively generate close to $4.5bn annually, with approximately 85 per cent from exports including 50 per cent to the US.

Some 41 Canadian companies exhibited products at Photonics West along with representatives from the Ottawa-based Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (CPFC). CPFC is a $150m technology commercialisation partnership between the National Research Council Canada (NRC) and the Province of Ontario located at the NRC's Ottawa campus.

‘The CPFC gave our company vital access to labs, equipment and expertise that a start-up photonics company could otherwise never afford,’ said Dr. Simon Fafard, founder and chief technology officer of Cyrium Technologies. Founded in Ottawa in 2002, Cyrium closed a $15m series of funding that allows the company to continue developing high efficiency solar cells for the concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) industry.