Member News - June 2018

Industry Member News

14 June, 2018

Read about LIDAR's Explosive Growth Opportunities, Optical Sensor Challenges, Advocacy, Special Events, New Reports and Other Noteworthy News, Opinions & Opportunities

OSA Corporate Member Newsletter
In this Issue:

Responses Needed: EU Questions the Safety of Indium Phosphide
The European Commission is reviewing whether to add indium phosphide (InP) to the list of banned substances under the RoHS, the Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive. The E.U. RoHS governing body has commissioned the German Oeko Institut (Institute for Applied Ecology) to conduct the review and recommend whether InP should be listed as a restricted substance. OIDA believes that InP should be granted an exception, at least for conventional uses involving planar photonics, such as semiconductor lasers and detectors. OIDA asks its members with an interest in this topic to contact us, so that we can coordinate with other responders.
The RoHS directive was adopted in 2003 and covers ten substances, including cadmium. The review is likely triggered by the use of InP in quantum dots as a substitute for cadmium selenide (CdSe) in quantum dot displays. Quantum dots are used in liquid crystal displays to convert an LED backlight to pure colors to provide a better color gamut and a brighter display. The E.U. has granted an exemption for cadmium for this use, but exemptions are restricted, short-term, and difficult to navigate for the layperson.

OIDA members who have a stake in InP technology—either as a materials supplier, component manufacturer, or component customer—should take a close look at this inquiry, phases I and II. Phase I of the inquiry opened 20 April 2018, and runs to 15 June 2018. Phase II will begin this summer.
  • Click here for information on the overall substance review.
  • Click here for information specific to the InP materials review.
  • Click here for the questionnaire required of responders to the InP review.
  • Click here for more information on the non-profit Oeko Institut, based in Germany.
OIDA is communicating with several interested parties about a collective response. If you are planning to respond or want to be included, please contact Tom Hausken at

OIDA Sensors Forum—The Challenge of Ramping to Consumer Volumes
Optics and photonics suppliers to the consumer products sector have to be ready to ramp at increasingly steeper rates. Not only are product cycles short, but the volumes have become enormous, so that scaling to volume is a bigger jump than before. This was one of the key points made at the OIDA Executive Forum on optical sensors on 14 May in San Jose.

Jan Vardaman of TechSearch International pointed out that Apple’s iPhone products surge soon after introduction, putting immense pressure on suppliers to deliver product. The figure shows how the ramp to volume became increasingly steeper over several years, with new models introduced each year and each model in production only 2-3 years.

Hong Hou of Fabrinet noted that the infrastructure exists in the optics industry to deliver such volumes, but for the consumer sector the manufacturing capacity must respond instantly, which few manufacturers are qualified to do. For example, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to keep up with dozens of inspection points and mountains of data. To address this, companies are looking to machine learning to sort through the data, a development that’s also known as smart manufacturing, or sometimes Industry 4.0.
Andre Wong of Lumentum pointed out that there are in fact many suppliers with experience manufacturing optics for mobile handsets; namely, the companies that assemble camera modules for mobile phones, such as LG Innotek and Largan Precision. While these company names may be unfamiliar to many North American and European makers of specialty optics for industrial and military applications, they are well known in the consumer products industry. Makers of LEDs for display backlights and camera flash also ship massive volumes to handset manufacturers.

Lumentum claims to have shipped more lasers in Q4 2017 than any other supplier in laser history. The company doesn’t say who its customers are, but the claim refers to arrays of VCSEL elements for 3D image recognition in Apple’s newest iPhone products. The number evidently refers to the laser elements, approximately 120 million lasers for the quarter, which are fabricated and packaged as arrays. Suppliers of lasers for optical storage (CDs and DVDs) have shipped more packaged lasers over the years, but Lumentum is on track to beat them in overall laser elements, and eventually in packaged lasers as well.

The OIDA Executive Forum on the Exploding Role of Optics in Sensing emphasized the perspectives of OEMs and investors on the future of optical sensors and how to manufacture them. It was held on Monday, 14 May in San Jose, collocated with CLEO 2018. For the program, click here.

LIDAR Continues to Promise Explosive Growth
Shipments of LIDAR modules for automotive applications will reach nearly 5 million units by 2025, from small volumes manufactured for field trials today. This is according to a report from Woodside Capital Partners and Yole Développment, distributed in May to OIDA members. Most of the unit volume will be used in ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) applications, with the rest used in fully robotic vehicles. The revenues will be dominated by shipments for robotic vehicles, however, with revenues for both robotic and ADAS applications expected to total $6 billion in 2015.

LIDAR is a hot topic for the emerging field of driverless cars, but the demands on the technology are significant; driverless cars require low latency, high resolution, and high frame rate response, at a cost affordable for automotive customers. LIDAR has been in use for many years for applications from aerial mapping to MRI positioning, but has surged forward on private investment totaling an estimated $1 billion within the last two years alone. The report profiles 39 companies, but it's said that there many more LIDAR companies addressing the driverless car application with even more surely to come. However, venture investors may soon feel that the field is already too crowded or that it's already too late to enter.
OSA is hosting a series of sessions on vision for driverless cars and other vehicle platforms at OSA's annual meeting, Frontiers in Optics. The event will be held on 17-18 September 2018 at the Washington Hilton, in Washington DC. The sessions will feature presentations from LIDAR manufacturers, a discussion of the industry needs, and two sessions examining vision systems for realistic weather conditions and unstructured environments, such as traveling off-road, without use of GPS, or without active imaging (i.e., illumination). The program also features keynote speaker Dr. Jan-Erik Kalhammer, from Autoliv's driverless car spinoff, Veoneer. Click here for the most current program. LIDAR was also a key topic at the OIDA Executive Forum optical sensors held on 14 May in San Jose, collocated with CLEO 2018. For that program, click here.

Woodside Capital Partners (WCP) published the Automotive LiDAR Market Report in April 2018 in collaboration with the market research firm Yole Développement. WCP is an investment bank specializing in the technology sector and located in Silicon Valley. OIDA obtained permission from WCP to distribute the report to OIDA members. OIDA members can click here for a copy of the report.

OSA Frontiers in Optics + APS Laser Science
FiO + LS is organized around four themes that leverage the intersection between science and applications. The themes are presented as a series of workshops within the conference. This month, we introduce programming on Virtual Reality and Augmented Vision.

VR, and especially AR and MR are poised to create a huge market for enterprise and consumer by 2020, reaching over $100B. However, in order to create mass adoption both for enterprise and consumer, various hardware requirements need to be met, such as wearable and visual comfort, and costs. None of them are currently addressed, most of today's AR and MR headsets being too bulky, too heavy, low FOV, low resolution, low brightness, and have inherent vision limitations such as Vergence Accommodation conflict. Most of these challenges are linked to optics and photonics.

Key questions to be addressed are:
  • What is needed from the photonics industry?
  • What are the problems that optics and photonics can have the greatest impact on?
  • What are the enabling technologies that have the most promise?
  • What are the bottlenecks or "showstoppers" among photonics technologies today, and potential solutions?
Who should attend?
  • OEMs and system vendors seeking to meet interested component suppliers, talented researchers, and government customers and policymakers
  • Business development and research staff from optics suppliers seeking new business opportunities
  • Private and corporate investors
In addition to an invited program of speakers, a visionary talk will be presented by Mark Bolas, Director of Technology Incubation, Microsoft Corp. Attendees will have the ability to participate in demo sessions showcasing various VR and AR headsets.

Learn More

Take Advantage of Your OIDA Member Discount. Exhibit at FiO to Connect with Customers, Educate Your Team and Grow Your Business!
Science & Industry Showcase, FiO's Enhanced Exhibition: 18-19 September, Washington, D.C., USA
The 2018 OSA Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science APS/DLS conference is offering special exhibit discounts to OIDA Members.

This year's event is expecting over 1,200 attendees, and will be focused on 4 key rapidly evolving and expanding markets: Automotive, Nanophotonics and Plasmonics, Quantum Technologies, and Virtual Reality and Augmented Vision.

The exhibitor prospectus is now available. Download it now to learn more about the event and how your company can benefit from exhibiting.

Space is Limited for the OSAF Innovation School for Photonics Professionals
Successful companies harness the entrepreneurial/intrapreneurial spirit within their employees and leverage it for greater success. The next Innovation School will be held from 22-26 July in Washington DC, USA. During this 4-day bootcamp, participants will learn the key methodologies for discovering, developing and launching innovative solutions and products; have opportunities to meet and collaborate with peers; and gain invaluable experience working directly with mentors from industry. This hands-on program is perfect for professionals seeking to participate in the innovation economy — as an innovator in their company. If your company is interested in sending an employee to experience this professional development opportunity in 2018, use this link to register

"The Innovation School is a fantastic, aggressive program leading participants from idea generation and validation through the startup business model. This is not a passive activity... It's a great exercise for anyone in academia or industry wanting to learn how convert ideas into reality." — Dan Christensen, TOPTICA Photonics Inc., 2017 participant and 2018 mentor.

Recognition Opportunity for Engineering Teams
Don't miss this opportunity to promote and recognize your company's engineering achievements! Submit a nomination for the Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award by 10 July. The award recognizes technical achievements such as product engineering, process and software development, and patent development, as well as contributions to society such as engineering education, publication and management, and furthering public appreciation of optical engineering.

Highlight Your Company's Diversity and Inclusion Efforts
The OSA Diversity & Inclusion Advocacy Recognition seeks to acknowledge the outstanding dedication and accomplishments of OIDA members that demonstrate efforts to foster greater appreciation, advancement and celebration of diversity and inclusivity. This can be achieved through hiring practices, training and professional development, employee and corporate community service, or other activities that support diversity and inclusion in STEM.

Application Deadline: 15 June 2018. Questions and Comments:

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Invitation to Join the Optics and Photonics Industry LinkedIn Group
Join 3,000+ of your colleagues in our Optics & Photonics Industry Network LinkedIn Group. This one-of-a-kind Forum for Industry lets you participate in discussions about cutting-edge issues. Extend your professional network. Exchange information about problems, ideas and solutions. Collaborate with experts in your field. Now is the perfect time to build a relationship with fellow optics and photonics professionals!
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OIDA (OSA Industry Development Associates) Council
Thank you to the volunteers who oversee the programs and services available to the Industry Community.

 • Claudio Mazzali,
    Corning, Inc., Chair

 • Alex Fong,
    TruTag Technologies, Inc.,
    Past Chair

• John Dexheimer,
    Lightwave Advisors
• Amy Eskilson,
    Inrad Optics

 • Christoph Harder,
    Harder and Partner

 • Fred Leonberger,
    Technologies, LLC
 • Inge Kabert,

 • Martin Seifert

 • Debbie Wilson,