Ringing in the New Year

A honored tradition each new year, that of making a New Year`s Resolution, results in part from the opportunity for us all to take stock of our personal and professional lives and presumably make a few improvements. Here at Laser Focus World, we have taken this same opportunity to review our editorial content in the context of the rapidly changing technologies we cover. We too plan to make improvements--in our case to better serve our readership. Hence several new feature series are introduced t

Ringing in the New Year

Stephen G. Anderson

Executive Editor

stevega@pennwell.com

A honored tradition each new year, that of making a New Year`s Resolution, results in part from the opportunity for us all to take stock of our personal and professional lives and presumably make a few improvements. Here at Laser Focus World, we have taken this same opportunity to review our editorial content in the context of the rapidly changing technologies we cover. We too plan to make improvements--in our case to better serve our readership. Hence several new feature series are introduced this month that, we believe, will significantly enhance our ongoing coverage of the laser and optoelectronics industry.

Before going into the details, however, I should comment on another longstanding New Year`s tradition--our Annual Review and Forecast of Laser Markets (see p. 80). Given the global economic upheavals last year, the revelation that the laser and optoelectronics industry remains bullish about its prospects for 1999 may come as a surprise to many. In fact this year`s review and forecast projects industry growth of 20% year-to-year for 1999, with overall sales revenues reaching a grand total of $4.6 billion. This figure is all the more impressive in view of the essentially stagnant revenues reported by the industry throughout most of the early 1990s. And it is the highest year-to-year percentage change reported by Laser Focus World this decade.

Although there are countless interrelated factors underlying this healthy outlook, the maturation of various optoelectronics-based applications would rate near the top of any list. A veritable explosion in demand for bandwidth, for example, is the driving force behind rapid development of new telecommunications devices and systems. Optical fiber is a key component of these developments, so this month we begin a new Back to Basics series, written by contributing editor Jeff Hecht, that looks at all current aspects of fiberoptics (see p. 143). Optical amplifiers also are a key component for telecommunications, and new developments include improved gain profiles (see p. 127). Another major application of growing importance is imaging--which we define as the capture, processing, and display of images--so the Image Engineering series, written by contributing editor Jeff Dixon, starts this month with a look at visible imaging and will continue throughout 1999 with detailed discussion of all aspects of imaging (see p. 117). And on a broader basis, contributing editor Eric Lerner authors another new series, Advanced Applications, which will provide a close look at many other key applications (see p. 153). This month`s issue will also be distributed at Photonics West in San Jose, CA--a preview of that conference begins on p. 103. Happy New Year!

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