Photonic feats can fascinate

In this month’s Annual Technology Review article, Senior Editor John Wallace leads us on a fascinating tour of photonics developments that have taken place over the past year.

Dec 1st, 2008
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In this month’s Annual Technology Review article, Senior Editor John Wallace leads us on a fascinating tour of photonics developments that have taken place over the past year. From the mirror for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope featured on this month’s cover, to the creation of 80-attosecond pulses of light that was shown on our August cover, 2008 has produced many impressive photonics innovations (see page 78). Of course John’s tour is somewhat space-constrained and he’s undoubtedly left out a few advancements, but the overall message is clear: these are exciting times for anyone involved in photonics–and as we approach the 50th anniversary of the laser, the rate of development is likely to rise as photonics insinuates itself into almost every area of science and technology. Something to keep in mind when you consider what innovations 2009 might bring.

No doubt many clues as to what we might see next year will be prominent at Photonics West in January. It’s grown to become the largest event on the North American photonics calendar and now boasts more than 3300 papers across four symposia, accompanied by a sold-out exhibit. So why not let our editors take you on another fascinating tour … this time of Photonics West program highlights and hot topics (see page 45).

Speaking of hot topics, two of the most active areas of photonics are currently biomedical optics and solar/photovoltaics. Recent activity includes the use of adaptive optics to improve the resolution of optical coherence tomography for in vivo imaging of the human retina (see page 55), and a novel approach to multispectral imaging targeted at medical diagnostics (see page 72). Within solar/photovoltaics, efficiency improvement is the name of the game–something that’s being facilitated in one approach by the use of holographic film in a planar concentrator (see page 41).

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Stephen G. Anderson
Associate Publisher/Editor in Chief
stevega@pennwell.com

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