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Feedback for US government call needed to support photonics-based manufacturing

The US government is calling for the public to give feedback on a scheme to boost the country’s manufacturing capability. The ‘Request for Information (RFI)’ seeks feedback from the general public regarding the development of two new Innovative Manufacturing Institutes (IMIs), whereby Photonics is one of six technologies competing for inclusion. The Optical Society (OSA) is holding an overview meeting at this week's CLEO: 2014 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics to encourage the optics and photonics community to participate in the RFI response in order to support photonics-based manufacturing.

According to the US Department of Defence (DOD), the IMIs will be ‘regionally centred Public Private Partnerships enabling the scale-up of advanced manufacturing technologies and processes with the goal of successful transition of existing science and technology into the marketplace for both defence and commercial applications. The Department is requesting responses which will assist the selection of a technology focus area from those currently under consideration. This will be based upon evidence of national security requirement, economic benefit, technical opportunity, relevance to industry, business case for sustainability and workforce challenge.’

Each RFI response will include answers to some general questions as well as more specific questions relating to technology focus area. For the photonics focus area, the questions cover topics from packaging and reliability to the creation of a photonics foundry, in addition to biophotonics, defence, photonic integrated circuits, optical materials and others.

‘Today’s announcement is a critical opportunity for the optics and photonics community,’ explained OSA CEO Elizabeth Rogan. ‘This is our chance to make the case for photonics-based manufacturing in the US. We know how beneficial our industry is to advanced manufacturing technology and it’s up to us to demonstrate that through participation in this RFI.’

The OSA is working with other photonics societies as part of the National Photonics Initiative (NPI), to conduct outreach activities to encourage participation in the RFI scheme. The group will also conduct an overview session at next week’s Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO: 2014) in San Jose, California. The deadline to complete a response for the RFI is on the 14 July.


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