Spotlight on optoelectronics

Every year, in mid-summer, the editors of Laser Focus World gather in our Nashua, NH, headquarters to discuss the editorial focus of the magazine and to develop an editorial calendar of feature topics for the upcoming year. The process is lengthy but stimulating as we hash out the calendar and resolve our sometimes differing opinions of the direction the magazine should take. You`ll see the results of our deliberations as you read our issues throughout 1999. We hope you`ll find the magazine as i

Spotlight on optoelectronics

Jeffrey Bairstow

Group Editorial Director

jeffb@pennwell.com

Every year, in mid-summer, the editors of Laser Focus World gather in our Nashua, NH, headquarters to discuss the editorial focus of the magazine and to develop an editorial calendar of feature topics for the upcoming year. The process is lengthy but stimulating as we hash out the calendar and resolve our sometimes differing opinions of the direction the magazine should take. You`ll see the results of our deliberations as you read our issues throughout 1999. We hope you`ll find the magazine as interesting to read as we do to edit it.

However, this year, we also decided to acknowledge a trend that has been obvious for a long time and that is to emphasize that the coverage of Laser Focus World goes well beyond lasers and laser systems. We`ve been using the term "optoelectronics" in a broad sense for several years and you`ll see more widespread usage in the months to come. You have probably noticed that our supplements carry the logo "Optoelectronics World." If you have visited our website recently, you will have seen that the sites for the PennWell Optoelectronics Group of magazines are also headed "Optoelectronics World." The new URL for these sites is www.optoelectronics-world.com, an address that will appear frequently at the bottom of the pages of Laser Focus World.

Optoelectronics defined

This month, the front cover of Laser Focus World carries a new tag-line (the line above the logo)-- "Advances and Applications in Optoelectronics." In addition, the definition of optoelectronics that you see in the middle of this page will appear every month in a prominent position on our Contents pages. This is the editors` definition of optoelectronics, a word that you may not find defined in your dictionary. As the March Hare told Alice (of Alice in Wonderland fame), "Then you should say what you mean." We mean that optoelectronics is the technology of systems and devices that emit, modulate, transmit, or sense light. Within this meaning of the subject, we define optoelectronic devices to include lasers and other light sources, optics, fiberoptic components, detectors, displays, and imaging devices. In short, Laser Focus World covers any systems or devices that emit, modulate, transmit, or sense light. That`s a very broad purview.

Optoelectronics as an enabler

Of course, we don`t intend to neglect our coverage of lasers and their applications. Laser Focus World has an outstanding reputation for its news and feature coverage of laser technologies. We intend to continue to uphold that reputation and to extend it to all areas of optoelectronics. We will report on the latest developments from researchers around the world, but we will particularly emphasize the implications of technological developments and how those developments will be applied in commercial systems. The latter aspect is particularly important because optoelectronic devices are "enablers" for many widely used systems. They are key devices for consumer products such as the CD player and the video camera. They are key devices in the machine-vision systems needed for automated manufacturing. They are key devices in military surveillance systems. They are key devices in advanced medical-imaging systems. And so the list goes on. Optoelectronic technologies are becoming pervasive throughout modern society.

In Laser Focus World, we hope to reflect the widening spread of applications of optoelectronics. For example, in 1999, we have planned some exciting feature-article series. The popular Back-to-Basics features will focus on fiberoptics, written by Contributing Editor Jeff Hecht. We will have a new series on advanced applications of lasers, written by Contributing Editor Eric Lerner. Extending our successful series on Optical Engineering, Contributing Editor Jeff Dixon will examine the engineering of imaging. The editors have begun to assign other features for 1999 on a wide range of optoelectronics topics. Let me know if there are topics you`d like to see the editors explore in 1999.

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