Photonics industry counters credit crunch

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Despite recent turmoil in the economy, the photonics industry has reason to expect growth, SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs said in a recent visit to Taiwan.

Dr Arthurs visited Taipei in part to give a plenary talk at the Optics and Photonics Taiwan (OPT) conference on 5 December 2008. He made his remarks on the industry in a conversation with Peter Shih, founder of the Photonics Industry and Technology Development Association (PIDA).

'For some years we have seen the major themes in the US National Research Council's report, "Harnessing Light", develop into solid markets,' Arthurs said. While there was 'irrational exuberance about the optical communication market around 2000 that quickly led to irrational pessimism, the optically-powered internet has grown strongly and will continue to do so.'

'Photonics in medicine, in genomics, and in entertainment and imaging, and the use of photonics in manufacturing and security and defense are all expanding steadily. Photonics in energy is growing strongly and will contribute to the sustainability of humanity,' according to Arthurs. 

During their talk, Dr Shih offered his perspective on the recent progress and future trends in both the Taiwanese and the international photonics industry. SPIE and PIDA have collaborated for several years on enhancing industrial connections between Taiwan and other countries.

Arthurs also met with Taiwan Deputy Minister Lih J Chen and discussed Taiwan's significant successes in photonics and its plans to increase the already relatively high R&D funding for the area by 10 per cent per annum. 

OPT was held concurrently with three other international conferences, Laser Applications in Life Sciences (LALS), Solar Cell Technology, and Flexible Electronics and Displays, on 5 and 6 December at the Taipei International Convention Center. The SPIE Student Chapter at the National Central University was among sponsors of OPT. Dr Chiou was Organising Chair of LALS.