Conferences herald an exciting year

March 1, 2001
So many metaphors have been used to describe the state of the optoelectronics business that it's difficult to come up with a novel way to describe just how dynamic our marketplace has become.

So many metaphors have been used to describe the state of the optoelectronics business that it's difficult to come up with a novel way to describe just how dynamic our marketplace has become. Nonetheless, metaphors aside, January's Photonics West started the New Year off with an unequivocally upbeat statement about the current state of the industry. By any measure the showwhich is not a communications oriented eventoutstripped all of its predecessors.

It attracted more than 15,000 visitorsa 26% increase over last year, and seemed to stretch San Jose to the limits of its capacity (see p. 24).

I suspect that the success of Photonics West promises an exhilarating year in optoelectronics.

Hard on the heels of Photonics West is this month's Optical Fiber Communications conference in Anaheim. Not surprisingly, given that OFC is one of the largest communications oriented conferences, all indications are that this year's event will again be much busier than the previous one (see p. 18). Optical fiber, the production of which is highlighted on this month's cover, is only one component of an optical communications system, and this is certainly reflected in the comprehensive technical program at OFC. We can expect to see technical advances and new product announcements across all aspects of communications. We also can expect to see intense recruiting efforts at the show as firms continue to address the severe shortage of skilled labor in this arena. Among the hot topics is the quest for the ideal broadly tunable semiconductor laser, a subject addressed in this month's Optical Networking feature (see p. 121). Meanwhile, as data-transmission rates increase, optical-performance monitoring takes on an increasing significance because of the polarization sensitivity of passive communications components, for example (see p. 113).

Ending an era

Optical communications was one of the original driving forces behind the development of semiconductor lasers and sales of these devices for all applications have now grown to represent more than 75% of the global market for all lasers. It is the growing significance of these lasers that led us last year to introduce the Semiconductor Laser 2000 feature series, which has provided a detailed overview of these devices and the technologies that underly them. This month, contributing editor Stephen J. Matthews brings that series to a close with his thoughts about the future for diode lasers (see p. 89). Next month Matthews will introduce a new series of the widely acclaimed Back to Basics features, which examines a variety of different sources.

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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