Conferences are hopping despite slowdown

May 1, 2001
Even in the face of pervasive uncertainty regarding the economic outlook for 2001, the optoelectronics industry has been the driving force behind two blockbuster conferences so far this year.

Even in the face of pervasive uncertainty regarding the economic outlook for 2001, the optoelectronics industry has been the driving force behind two blockbuster conferences so far this year. In January, SPIE's Photonics West (San Jose, CA) attracted more than 15,000 visitorsup 25% from the prior year, while in March the OSA's Optical Fiber Communications meeting drew more than 38,000 visitors to Anaheim, CAa whopping 127% jump from the 2000 number (see p. 20). Not only were these attendance figures all-time highs, but the events also exuded an energy level that previously has not been typical of this industry. So both these meetings are hard acts to follow.

Nonetheless, many of us will be in Baltimore, MD, this month for the CLEO/QELS meeting, which, though likely to be much smaller in terms of attendance, is still one of the premier technical conferences for optoelectronics. In fact, according to the OSA, the combined conference has a total of 1169 papers scheduled for presentation during the five-day event, which is up from about 1150 last year; OFC 2001 by comparison hosted 482 papers. Of course, the technical program at CLEO/QELS is much broader than that of OFC, encompassing as it does all aspects of optoelectronics from, for example, new nonlinear material research to high-energy lasers, as well as various photonics applications, and the inevitable sessions on optical communications.

The technical program at CLEO/QELS also epitomizes the content of Laser Focus World as we strive each month to bring our readers in-depth and timely coverage of a broad range of current technical developments and related applications. And it's interesting to note thatthe success of the other conferences notwithstandingthe May (CLEO) issue is still the largest each year. To our regular readers this will be evident from a brief glance at the Table of Contents.

With topics ranging from a space-bound imaging system (see p. 181) to a more down-to-earth discussion about planar waveguide manufacturing (see p. 219), 21 feature articles cover all aspects of optoelectronicsother highlights include a new all-optical switching technology (see p. 109), recent developments in spectroscopy (see pages 159 and 225), and a special report that reviews the use of photonics technologies in mapping the human genome (see p. 136). And if you happen to think, as many economists apparently do, that despite all the dire economic news a US recession this year is unlikely, then now might be a good time to start your own optoelectronics companyfor advice from an entrepreneur, see p. 125.

About the Author

Stephen G. Anderson | Director, Industry Development - SPIE

 Stephen Anderson is a photonics industry expert with an international background and has been actively involved with lasers and photonics for more than 30 years. As Director, Industry Development at SPIE – The international society for optics and photonics – he is responsible for tracking the photonics industry markets and technology to help define long-term strategy, while also facilitating development of SPIE’s industry activities. Before joining SPIE, Anderson was Associate Publisher and Editor in Chief of Laser Focus World and chaired the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar. Anderson also co-founded the BioOptics World brand. Anderson holds a chemistry degree from the University of York and an Executive MBA from Golden Gate University.    

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