The photonics 'wow' factor

The great thing about both the business and technology sides of photonics is that you get a lot of "wows."

Conardmug 2011c

Upon hearing about the recent acquisition of one small photonics company by a significantly larger one (Hamamatsu acquired Energetiq), several colleagues remarked, "wow," reflecting both the surprise and clear logic of the move. And that's a great thing about both the business and technology sides of photonics—you get a lot of "wows."

The business "wows" range from exciting new startups and funding rounds, to hot markets and applications like additive manufacturing, lidar, and augmented reality. Any given month (for example, September) can also produce notable photonics-related science news, from the plunge of the Cassini spacecraft and its optical payload into Saturn, to the newly achieved creation of terahertz light from a liquid.

This issue contains features that explore some exciting new technologies at a less breathless pace, including VCSEL arrays for 3D sensing (see article), time-stretch spectroscopy (see article), developments in laser-assisted cataract surgery (see article), and terahertz imaging for solar and semiconductor wafer analysis (see article).

For more "wows" about business and technology, I invite you to join your colleagues at our 29th Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar, held on January 29th during SPIE Photonics West. The full agenda is now available on the website (, and includes speakers on topics ranging from the global laser markets and the future of high-power laser diodes, to company valuations, Chinese laser policy, and the growing market for photobiomodulation.

I'll interview Chuck Mattera, CEO of II-VI Incorporated, about the markets for optics, lasers, and advanced materials; and Martin Seifert from Booz Allen Hamilton will lead a panel of senior executives including Sri Venkat from Coherent and Peter Leibinger from Trumpf. A biophotonics panel led by BioOptics World chief editor Barbara Gefvert will include leaders from Alcon, Carl Zeiss Meditec, and Illumina.

It's probably obvious that I'm afflicted with a feeling of "wow" myself.

Conardmug 2011cConard Holton
Associate Publisher/
Editor in Chief

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