Open forum at Photonics West will revisit Harnessing Light study

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The organisers of the SPIE Photonics West event, which will take place in San Francisco later this month, hope to give members of the photonics R&D community the opportunity to strengthen the industry via an open forum to be organised at the event. Erik Svedberg, senior programme officer with the US National Academies, and Eugene Arthurs, SPIE CEO, will moderate the 'Future of Photonics' panel to gather industry input for an updated version of the 1998 report Harnessing Light, produced by the National Academies and its operating arm, the National Research Council.

'Much has happened since the original Harnessing Light study was published in 1998,' Svedberg said. 'Revisiting the technology and policy issues today would be quite timely. The new report has the possibility to address the role photonics plays in national competitiveness and innovation.'

Among the issues, Svedberg said, the study committee will need to consider the infusion of photonics-related technologies into mass-market applications, and how to economically and appropriately harness the necessary multifunctional manufacturing capabilities. 'The new study can also identify national strengths and weaknesses in relation to current and future needs including economic impact, workforce needs, and future research directions,' he said. 'It would consider the technology areas where optics is an enabler that can dramatically impact the economy of the country.'

The finished study would be used to inform industry plans and government policy by providing a unique community view of the future directions for photonics science and technology and for market trends.

Along with SPIE, a new Harnessing Light study is being supported by the IEEE Photonics Society and the Optical Society (OSA).

The Future of Photonics forum will be held 27 January, 8:45 to 9:30am at the Moscone Centre.