Optics and photonics experts convene at Photonics West

Top researchers, developers, and applications experts in optoelectronic materials and devices, lasers, micro- and nanofabrication, and biomedical optics shared new ideas and solutions at SPIE Photonics West in San Jose, CA, in January. An international crowd of 17,570 heard nearly 3200 presentation in 85 conferences and networked with almost 1200 exhibitors during the event.

The economy was a major theme in industry-focused sessions, with presenters sounding positive regarding areas such as laser materials processing, solar energy, and new light-based medical therapies. As an example, Mark Sobey, senior vice president of specialty laser systems for Coherent, pointed out that, "There's almost no part of the iPhone that does not use laser processing." Sobey was among participants in an executive panel on directions in the photonics market.

Another panelist, Randy Heyler, senior director of strategic marketing for Newport, said that incentives from the Japanese and German governments have stimulated growth by creating a level of volume necessary to bring prices down as consumers become more interested in green energy. "The development of the photovoltaic area has been probably the most exciting," he said, noting that there are opportunities in the semiconductor industry as well.

SPIE Photonics West will return to the San Jose Convention Center 24-29 January 2009.

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