Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Laser update keynotes InterOpto JIAL Seminar

At this year's InterOpto 2012 conference in Yokohama, Japan, Laser Focus World will present a mid-year laser market update and outlook ( as we prepare for the 2013 Annual Laser Market Review & Forecast to be published in the January 2013 issue of Laser Focus World magazine. The full 2012 Worldwide Market for Lasers report is available now through Strategies Unlimited (Mountain View, CA), the marketing and analysis arm of PennWell that compiles the quantitative data for our annual laser market review.

I was honored to be asked to keynote the new JIAL (Japan Importers Association of Lasers and Electro-Optics) Global Technology Seminar at InterOpto--a three-day event (September 25-27) with focused presentations on industrial laser materials processing (see David Belforte's mid-year industrial lasers webcast), ultrafast lasers, supercontinuum advances, single-photon counting and fluorescence microscopy, terahertz generation, fiber coupling and microoptics, biophotonics, and even measurement of aspheric and freeform surfaces. My keynote will of course focus on the laser market itself, which is intimately tied to all things photonic-related; lasers are in fact enjoying moderate growth as a $7+ billion dollar market (), and all indications are that growth will continue to be moderate through 2015 barring any unforeseen, catastrophic events.

The JIAL Global Technology Seminar is organized by OITDA, the Optoelectronics Industry and Technology Development Association (, and the media sponsor is PennWell's own Laser Focus World Japan, which now has around 12,000 subscribers.

So if you want to find out how the laser markets are faring, please attend the JIAL keynote at InterOpto on September 25. If you cannot attend, please be sure to register for the Laser Marketplace Seminar ( on February 4, 2013, held in conjunction with Photonics West 2013 in San Francisco, CA. As the "aftershocks" of the economic recession continue to rumble, it will be interesting to see how 2013 plays out for our laser industry--and whether our modest forecast will be accurate.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fruit of the laser diode

In July 1962, Robert Hall and some colleagues at the GE R&D Center in Niskayuna, NY, succeeded in doing what researchers in other labs in the US, France, Russia and elsewhere were seeking: to create coherent light emission from GaAs junctions—giving rise to the first laser diode. In September that year, Hall published the results in Physical Review Letters and the rest, as they, is history.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of his seminal paper, you can listen to one of the leaders in more recent laser diode advances, David Welch, co-founder of Infinera, present a webcast on the past and future of laser diodes.

In the September issue of Laser Focus World, we celebrate the laser diode with an article by researchers at KMLabs and the Colorado School of Mines on using blue laser diodes to pump a Ti:sapphire laser—illustrating yet one more application for this extremely versatile tool that also enables optical data storage and fiber optic communications.

These two laser-diode-enabled optical applications, along with displays, are the reasons that companies such as Microsoft are now hiring hundreds of experienced optical engineers. This says much about current competitive markets and the powerful enabling roles that photonics play. Microsoft, Amazon, Google--with their readers and tablets, game boxes, fiber optic networks, and optics-based cloud farms—are prime examples of how far we’ve come since that time 50 years ago when a few researchers made a p-n junction semiconductor lase.