Photonics for the future: New components, new opportunities

March 24, 2020
Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. has shown a remarkable growth story since its inception in 1953 and today, it proudly wears the name of this Japanese high-tech region on global markets.

AKIRA HIRUMA, Hamamatsu Photonics

Hamamatsu is a well-known brand and Akira Hiruma, President and CEO of Hamamatsu Photonics, answered one of the frequent questions on the company name right at the beginning: It is not the city named after the company, it is the other way around. Nevertheless, Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. has shown a remarkable growth story since its inception in 1953 and today it proudly wears the name of this Japanese high-tech region on global markets.

Hamamatsu started as a manufacturer of photo-electron tubes. Today, the company still sells photomultiplier tubesthey are used at such famous research projects as the Super-Kamiokande underground neutrino detector. But the major part of the company’s 145.9 billion Yen ($1.3 billion) revenue in 2019 was earned with sales of medical instruments (39.6%) and industrial instruments (26.4%). Some 28% of the total revenue was created with nuclear medical instruments such as x-ray devices, CT and PET scanners, as well as dental scanners.

Hiruma identified innovation as a major challenge for further growth (see figure). Although Hamamatsu has a strong salesforce with excellent contacts with their customers to find out about their needs, he believes that further growth requires small structures to come up with new applications. It needs small structures such as startups that are utilizing photonics and point to new markets.

Consequently, Hamamatsu Photonics started a corporate venture capital function within the company. It may provide seed funding or complement other investments. In particular, Hamamatsu can offer technical support to the innovators. However, it is hard to find such startups in Japan, as Hiruma pointed out.

The city of Hamamatsu is home to several famous car manufacturers: Toyota Motors started there, and so did Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha. Today most of the manufacturing has moved out of town, and Hamamatsu Photonics is very engaged in establishing the area as the preeminent photonics city.

One measure to achieve this was the foundation of the Graduate School for the Creation of New Photonics Industries (GPI), which was started by Hamamatsu Photonics and other companies in 2005. It offers a doctoral program with the clear intention of cultivating human resources “capable of launching new industries that will focus on light and its infinite possibilities.” Already, 31 startups are located there.

Hamamatsu Photonics will continue to work on future applications of photonics technologies. Mainly, they are focused on medical applications because about 40% of their revenue is generated by that field. Their future core technologies range from photon-counting image sensors to new supercontinuum light sources and sophisticated x-ray simulation techniques.

CONTINUE READING >>>

DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT

About the Author

Andreas Thoss | Contributing Editor, Germany

Andreas Thoss is the Managing Director of THOSS Media (Berlin) and has many years of experience in photonics-related research, publishing, marketing, and public relations. He worked with John Wiley & Sons until 2010, when he founded THOSS Media. In 2012, he founded the scientific journal Advanced Optical Technologies. His university research focused on ultrashort and ultra-intense laser pulses, and he holds several patents.

Sponsored Recommendations

Optical Power Meters for Diverse Applications

April 30, 2024
Bench-top single channel to multichannel power meters, Santec has the power measurement platforms to meet your requirements.

Request a quote: Micro 3D Printed Part or microArch micro-precision 3D printers

April 11, 2024
See the results for yourself! We'll print a benchmark part so that you can assess our quality. Just send us your file and we'll get to work.

Request a Micro 3D Printed Benchmark Part: Send us your file.

April 11, 2024
See the results for yourself! We'll print a benchmark part so that you can assess our quality. Just send us your file and we'll get to work.

Request a free Micro 3D Printed sample part

April 11, 2024
The best way to understand the part quality we can achieve is by seeing it first-hand. Request a free 3D printed high-precision sample part.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Laser Focus World, create an account today!