New and always-improving photonics

May 10, 2017
When editing the final proofs of this issue, I found myself striking out the word "new" in the headlines of several stories.  
Conard Holton2 5f3c10d0c72df

When editing the final proofs of this issue, I found myself striking out the word "new" in the headlines of several stories. "Not really new," I thought, as the red ink flew. And yet, the stories in question are all exciting and new in the sense that they are opening new application areas.

Biophotonics is a welcoming field for this interpretation of "new." In her article "Beyond the brain: Non-neural optogenetics," BioOptics World editor-in-chief Barbara Gefvert tells a fascinating tale of how a once radically new technology for neuroscience is making its way into even-newer applications, with research by cell and developmental biologists (see page 41). And a technology that has been impacting ophthalmology for two decades may be made new yet again if a novel design succeeds in making optical coherence tomography (OCT) more accessible to optometry practices at a much more affordable price (see page 14).

Our cover story by distinguished Colorado State University professor Jorge Rocca and his colleagues describes a path to creating ultrahigh-energy density (UHED) plasma using compact ultrashort-pulse lasers and—the new part—nanowire arrays (see page 21). It's a classic Laser Focus World story, I think, beginning with an already-advanced technology (creating UHED plasmas) and then showing how researchers have advanced it further.

Even very traditional products such as molded optics are continually being made new. As senior editor John Wallace writes in his Photonics Products feature, new materials, coatings, and processes are leading to new, unusual shapes and functions (see page 31).

Finally, the tradition of making advances based on existing wisdom is seconded by our long-time contributor to the back page of this magazine, Milton Chang. With this issue, he shifts to a new contribution schedule for the Business Forum column, now quarterly, and provides us with some advice on managing our own careers—practice "intrapreneurship" and always strive to improve yourself to advance your future in photonics.

About the Author

Conard Holton | Editor at Large

Conard Holton has 25 years of science and technology editing and writing experience. He was formerly a staff member and consultant for government agencies such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and engineering companies such as Bechtel. He joined Laser Focus World in 1997 as senior editor, becoming editor in chief of WDM Solutions, which he founded in 1999. In 2003 he joined Vision Systems Design as editor in chief, while continuing as contributing editor at Laser Focus World. Conard became editor in chief of Laser Focus World in August 2011, a role in which he served through August 2018. He then served as Editor at Large for Laser Focus World and Co-Chair of the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar from August 2018 through January 2022. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, with additional studies at the Colorado School of Mines and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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