Opening new frontiers

July 1, 2008
Semiconductor and microelectronics processing is big business for capital equipment makers—equipment sales reached $41.7 billion.

Semiconductor and microelectronics processing is big business for capital equipment makers—equipment sales reached $41.7 billion in 2007 according to SEMI, the industry’s trade association ( “Microprocessing” is also big business for makers of lasers and photonics equipmentit accounts for more than a quarter of all lasers sold for materials processing. So you’ll find many photonics firms this month at SEMICON West in San Francisco, CA (, from the established and well-known firms to those with novel products and unfamiliar names—Actinix, for example, offers a solid-state alternative to the excimer UV laser (see Doubtless there will also be several fiber-laser makers on hand. Ultrafast fiber lasers are finding applications in microprocessing, including, for instance, silicon micromachining and scribing (see p. 57). And in the area of inspection and yield enhancement, the need for high-resolution mask inspection is driving imaging objectives into the deep ultraviolet with high numerical apertures (see p. 72).

The intersection of the Internet and traditional print media has wrought significant changes to the world of publishing. Hence, the Laser Focus World brand is no longer “just” a magazine but now embodies a host of different photonics-information outlets that are being continuously updated. Recent visitors to may have noticed the latest updatewe’ve added a video player. As we build out our video library, watch for conference reports, interviews, product discussions, and more. And if you have video to contribute, please e-mail me at [email protected]. In a related vein, we are pleased to announce a new series of Webcasts from author and contributing editor, Jeff Hecht. Based on his popular Back-to-Basics features, these “Fundamentals of Photonics” Webcasts offer a unique opportunity to delve into photonics technologies and applications while interacting directly with the presenter. The first eventlive via the Internetwill take place in August and cover photovoltaics … a current hot topic and, by the way, one that claims more than 100 exhibitors showcasing PV materials and manufacturing technologies at SEMICON West.

About the Author

Stephen G. Anderson | Director, Industry Development - SPIE

 Stephen Anderson is a photonics industry expert with an international background and has been actively involved with lasers and photonics for more than 30 years. As Director, Industry Development at SPIE – The international society for optics and photonics – he is responsible for tracking the photonics industry markets and technology to help define long-term strategy, while also facilitating development of SPIE’s industry activities. Before joining SPIE, Anderson was Associate Publisher and Editor in Chief of Laser Focus World and chaired the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar. Anderson also co-founded the BioOptics World brand. Anderson holds a chemistry degree from the University of York and an Executive MBA from Golden Gate University.    

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