New Apps for 2011
Last year the photonics marketplace exceeded expectations by recovering almost all of the ground it lost during the 2008/2009 recession.
Last year the photonics marketplace exceeded expectations by recovering almost all of the ground it lost during the 2008/2009 recession. In fact, several of our industry's public companies reported revenue and profit gains that were nothing short of spectacular, as photonics apparently shrugged off the downturn and closed out 2010 with a momentum that bodes extremely well for 2011. Better still, practically all market segments were involved in the rebound—even the consumer segment saw the birth of what may turn out to be a new "killer app" for laser diodes with the launch of Microsoft's Kinect add-on for its Xbox 360. So, despite some lingering concerns about market visibility, the general outlook for 2011 is pretty optimistic. You can read the details in our Annual Market Review and Forecast, which begins on page 40.
The resilience of the photonics marketplace is a testament to the benefits of diversity, with long-term growth being underpinned by a wide range of innovative technologies and applications. At the frontiers of photonics science and research, 2011 marks the start of the delivery phase of Europe's Extreme Light Infrastructure program, which plans to increase the peak power from ultrafast lasers to 200 PW (see page 77). And in the commercial arena there are numerous examples of growth arising from new developments in existing applications: OCT (optical coherence tomography), for instance, will likely benefit from a new computed imaging technique called interferometric synthetic aperture microscopy (see page 35); and the intrinsic physical characteristics of optical fiber combined with its versatility in remote sensing makes it attractive for biomedical sensing applications (see page 91).
Speaking of "killer apps," by the way, 2011 also brings the introduction by our web portal OptoIQ.com of a new photonics App for the iPhone. You can download the App free from the iTunes store and use it to track the latest advances in the world of photonics. Meanwhile, Happy New Year from all of us at Laser Focus World.
Stephen G. Anderson
Editor in Chief