Off the mark on CLEO
Having just completed my monthly review of Laser Focus World, I was astonished to read the insult that constitutes your May editorial [CLEO: a field of dreams?]. It shouldn`t take a rocket scientist to realize that most of your readers are scientists out there grubbing for federal money--a simple glance at your advertising pages should tell you that. Commercial markets for lasers and other optoelectronic components are growing. Hopefully those involved in that growth derive satisfaction from the
Off the mark on CLEO
Having just completed my monthly review of Laser Focus World, I was astonished to read the insult that constitutes your May editorial [CLEO: a field of dreams?]. It shouldn`t take a rocket scientist to realize that most of your readers are scientists out there grubbing for federal money--a simple glance at your advertising pages should tell you that. Commercial markets for lasers and other optoelectronic components are growing. Hopefully those involved in that growth derive satisfaction from their commercial success. Those of us involved in research and development of lasers or related technologies also take pride in our work and hardly need your reminder of the uncertainty in sponsored research funding.
You complain about commercialization market studies that you feel are missing from the CLEO program. What`s missing from your editorial is any recognition of the role of research in bringing about whatever commercial markets exist and your role as the editor of an advertiser-paid trade magazine. I`ve got news for you trade-magazine publishers: when the 1200-presentation CLEO meeting becomes extinct, so will the 300-page Laser Focus World issue.
Mark G. Allen
Physical Sciences Inc.
Andover, MA 01810
. . . on the mark
Your May editorial really hit the mark. I have been saying the same thing for a number of years. These shows are becoming far too technical. Most of the technical presenters will never buy more than "one of something" for research purposes. Most of us exhibitors need to sell production quantities to make a buck. When you look at the attendance figures we find that 40% are exhibitors, another 40% are technical attendees, and the remaining 20% are walk-ins. When you eliminate the students and professors from the walk-ins, there are few potential buyers of production quantities.
OPTCON was supposed to remedy this by being a more applications-oriented show, which it was at first, but it too and its recent reincarnation has become another highly technical meeting.
From an exhibitors point of view, all this points u¥the value of European shows like Laser 95 in Munich. Visitors to the exhibit who pay to get in are interested in the products, as there is not much of a technical program. Maybe we should try an exhibit only show every two years.
Your mention of the helium-cadmium (HeCd) marketplace quoting Masamori Nakahara of Kimmon (Laser Industry Report, May 1995) implies that Kimmon has recently entered the HeCd marketplace and quickly reached a position of dominance. Outside of Japan, where they have been marketing their lasers for almost 20 years, they have been anything but dominant. Since their entrance into the US marketplace in 1992, Kimmon has yet to win an OEM contract. More than 80% of Kimmon`s business is derived not from conquering new markets, but from an extraordinary volume of retubes and replacement lasers from two Japanese accounts (Canon and Hitachi), both of whom have since designed out the Kimmon laser in favor of other technologies.
The numbers in the article also are incorrect. For the record, the worldwide HeCd laser market is approximately $20 million (not $45 million), where Kimmon has a 45% share (not 70%). Kimmon products do not sell at a 40% premium. They, in fact, often try to underprice LiCONiX and Omnichrome in an effort to gain a greater share of the US, European, and Pacific Rim (with the exception of Japan) markets.
Michael M. Fisk
Santa Clara, CA 95054
Chino, CA 91710
Starting them early
May Milton Chang`s writing proliferate as successfully as the Dilbert cartoon! His Business Engineering articles are enlightening and immensely useful. Even though they are "laser-focused," the information they contain has general application for all entrepreneurial endeavors.
My wife, a middle-school teacher, has been discussing entrepreneurialism with her students, so I showed her Mr. Chang`s article in the May issue of Laser Focus World. She agreed that it would be good reading material for her students and asked me to make copies. Just out of curiousity, I checked Laser Focus World`s masthead for an Internet address and logged on to see if the article was downloadable. I found that it was not yet online, but I`ll check again in a few days to see if it is available.
[Kee¥checking. The Business Engineering series will be online shortly-Ed.]
Redefining eye-safe laser
While I share John Marshall`s concerns regarding the use of high-intensity light sources in law enforcement (Letters, Laser Focus World, March 1995, p. 59), I must disagree with his definition of `eye-safe laser." It is true that this term is widely applied to any laser whose emission wavelength lies outside the retinal hazard region, but to claim this to be the correct definition is not only wrong, but dangerous. Eye damage can be caused at any wavelength, although the particular ocular tissue at risk and the minimum exposure needed to cause harm will vary.
An eye-safe laser--whatever its wavelength--is one that is incapable of harming the eye. This will usually mean that it is Class 1, and certainly that the exposure received by the eye at the position of closest approach cannot exceed the ocular MPE. John Marshall`s definition can--and does--result in some claims for eye-safe laser products based simply on the wavelength. Clearly, this is not a practice to be encouraged.