Member News - February 2020

Industry Member News

06 February, 2020

Read about New OIDA Estimate on Where Optics & Photonics are Made, Eliminating Optics with Wafer-Scale Computing, OIDA's Quantum Roadmap, Advocacy, Special Events, New Reports and Other Noteworthy News, Opinions & Opportunities

OSA Corporate Member Newsletter

In this Issue:

New OIDA Estimate: Where Optics & Photonics are Made

China is the largest producer of optics and photonics systems and components, at 23% of global production measured in US dollars. China has become an important producer in multiple vertical markets, including optical communications, solar energy, LED lighting and displays. Chinese R&D is notable in a range of fields from 5G networks and face recognition to supercomputers, perovskite solar cells, quantum key distribution and laser-based directed energy weapons. China has few international brand names in optics and photonics, but Huawei and ZTE are well known in optical communications.

Japan, Taiwan and South Korea enjoyed enviable growth in past decades, growing with the consumer product, display and LED markets. But as the products have matured, their domestic optics and photonics production has slowed or even declined. Examples of optics and photonics companies include familiar names like Samsung, AU Optronics and Sony.

Optics & photonics production by region. Source: OIDA (2020).

Manufacturers in the U.S. and E.U. are more concentrated in products with higher precision requirements, such as for military, biomedical, communications, machine tools and scientific markets. Example companies include Lockheed Martin, Illumina, Nokia, Trumpf, ASM and Corning.

Precise estimates are not realistic for this industry. For example, the production is converted to U.S. dollars for comparison, so changes in currency exchange rates will affect estimates slightly from year to year. Also important are the definitions: OIDA includes all optics and photonics markets, and the supply chain up to the optical system or subsystem.

Decades ago, North America and Europe faced an outflow of optics and photonics manufacturing to Asia, particularly to Japan and Taiwan. The North American and European optics and photonics industries realigned over the years but East Asian countries are now facing their own out-migration to China, while their domestic industries are concentrated in products that are increasingly becoming commodities, like solar cells and panels, LEDs and displays.

The distribution of manufacturing may shift again as manufacturers adjust to new economic and political conditions. China's industry expanded dramatically and is now a large and important market, but the ongoing trade dispute with the U.S. is compelling U.S. companies to consider relocating their manufacturing to find shelter if the dispute continues. Likewise, an exit of the U.K. from the E.U. is factoring into companies' location decisions in that region.

Equally or more important is the rise and fall of markets, which can change the concentrations of domestic industries, for better and for worse. A rising market can raise an entire country's economy with it. A downturn can leave domestic optics and photonics operations vulnerable to relocation or outright closure. The impact may be incremental in a larger economy like the U.S. or the E.U., but substantial in small countries.

More details can be found in the January issue of OSA's Optics & Photonics News, here.


Eliminating Optics with Wafer-Scale Computing

Every year at the OIDA Executive Forum we feature some topics outside of the usual box. In 2019, we featured quantum communications. In 2018, we featured a session on LIDAR, artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR).

This year OIDA will host a session that examines some "Next Big Things" and their implications to traffic. One company in particular, Cerebras, features what it calls a Wafer Scale Engine, claiming it is the fastest AI supercomputer in the world. And if it’s successful, it could eliminate kilometers of fiber interconnects in a niche supercomputer segment.

The Cerebras Wafer Scale Engine—the largest chip ever built at 215-mm on a side. Source: Cerebras website.

A wafer-scale chip is ambitious, to say the least. The performance advantage is obvious, by eliminating interconnects and the electronics that goes with it. But so is the potentially low manufacturing yield, including at the packaging step.

Some readers may remember Trilogy Systems, the company that Gene Amdahl founded in 1980—40 years ago—to do much the same thing. The difference was that Trilogy Systems was using 100-mm wafers, making chips 2.5-inch on a side, about 10X larger than the largest chips of the time. Microlithography has advanced by orders of magnitude since that time; Cerebras is using 300-mm wafers and far finer feature sizes. But Cerebras nonetheless had to co-develop new technology that enabled the stitching of different fields across the wafer.

Cerebras is pushing the limit of the technology, illustrated by the astronomical statistics. The chip area and number of transistors (1.2 trillion) is over 50X larger than the largest graphics processing unit today. It has 400,000 cores and 18 GB of on-chip memory accessible with a single clock cycle. It claims to pack the performance of a room full of servers into the space of a dorm-room mini-fridge. Now imagine a mini-fridge drawing 20 kW of power, requiring 20,000 Amps of current spread over 1 million copper posts on the chip. How do they keep it all from melting?

We in the optical communications business envision a world where optical interconnects make copper less and less relevant, until the copper is only on the chip. But Cerebras is essentially eliminating a roomful of optical interconnects with its copper-based wafer-scale supercomputer.

The 2020 OIDA Executive Forum will be held 9 March 2020 in San Diego, co-located with OFC. For more information, see here.


OIDA Quantum Roadmap: Investing in the Supply Chain

Last month in the January OIDA Newsletter we wrote that a key finding of the upcoming OIDA quantum photonics roadmap is that investment is needed in the supply chain to improve performance and enable scaling to volume. Small companies especially need the investment, as they are too small to take on the risk alone. A likely investor is the U.S. government, both for its role to encourage commerce as well as its own national security interests.

It seems that the U.S. Air Force has been thinking the same thing. It is soliciting STTR proposals in four topic areas of quantum information science. The topics are (1) quantum timing, (2) quantum sensing, (3) quantum computing, and (4) quantum communication. Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards are similar to SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) awards, but must include a small business and a university or other non-profit research institute as partners. The announcement closes on 12 February 2020 at 20:00 EST. Companies will present their pitches in May 2020.

Meanwhile France is coming out with its national quantum plan. Many countries have announced major quantum initiatives, but France has been conspicuously quiet until now. In January it released a long-awaited report, Quantique: Le Virage Technologique Que La France Ne Ratera Pas (Quantum: the Technological Turn That France Will Not Miss, here in French). Among its proposals are an investment fund of €300-500 million in late-stage startup companies, €10 million/year for research grants, and €23 million/year for three new hubs. The hubs would be in central Paris (near the Sorbonne and Paris University), the Paris-Saclay research cluster, and Grenoble.

To be clear, OIDA finds that there is a great and unaddressed need in optical components not just for funding the "R" in R&D, but also the "D"— for development—which doesn't get as much attention. Product development is not done in universities, is not generally published in journals, and customers don't necessarily want to fund suppliers to do it. At this early stage in quantum commercialization, companies may prefer to pay the current high prices, or design their own custom parts, than to invest in a supply chain that benefits others as much or more than itself.

OIDA will release the quantum photonics roadmap in spring 2020. For questions about the OIDA roadmap, contact Tom Hausken. See also OSA's new conference on the topic, Quantum 2.0, in June 2020. OIDA is also a member of the QED-C working group on photonics components.


Welcome New OIDA Members





OIDA Member Profile: Amplitude

Courtesy of Amplitude

OIDA member Amplitude, France, is a leading manufacturer of ultrafast lasers for scientific, medical and industrial applications. Since its founding in 2001 as a "pure technology startup," Amplitude has grown to an "advanced manufacturing company with a global footprint"—serving more than 40 countries worldwide, with locations in Europe, North America and Asia. OSA spoke with Amplitude President and CEO Eric Mottay about his career and Amplitude’s journey.


Attend OIDA Executive Forum and Connect with the Leaders Driving the Industry
9 March, Co-located with OFC, San Diego, CA, USA

Executive Forum 2020 features an unmatched speaker lineup of the industry’s leading minds in one place at one time!

Speakers include:

Keynote Speaker:
Elizabeth Rivera Hartling

Subsea Optical Network Architect, Facebook

Mattias Fridström
Vice President & Chief Evangelist, Telia Carrier

Jason Hoffman
Chairman and CEO, MobiledgeX

Hwa-Jung Han
Director of Emerging Technology, Verizon

View all the speakers.

Registration Includes:

  • Featured Keynote Speaker Elizabeth Rivera Hartling, Subsea Optical Network Architect, Facebook
  • Panel 1: Will Open Optical Networking Change the Service Provider Landscape?
  • Panel 2: Network Automation: When Do We Get There?
  • Panel 3: The Next Big Things — AI, Cloud Gaming and AR/VR
  • Panel 4: What is Going on at the Edge?
  • Fireside Chat: The View from the Top
  • PLUS Networking Events: Breakfast, lunch and evening reception

View the program.

Register now to attend OIDA Executive Forum — the premier event for leaders in optical networking and communications. Special savings are available to OIDA members. Exclusive for OIDA Members: Buy 1 discounted registration and bring a customer or colleague for free!

"The OIDA Executive Forum on Monday of OFC is the place where you can pick up the latest trends on optical systems and components as well as major market changes or disruptions. It sets the pace for the entire week of OFC." Eve Griliches, Product Marketing Manager, Cisco


Learn about New Trends in Manufacturing Embedded Photonics for Data Centers—Both in the Technology and Business Models—at OIDA Workshop
8 March, Co-located with OFC, San Diego, CA, USA

Is your company ready to capture its share of the growing market for embedded photonics in data centers? This OIDA Workshop, co-located with OFC, will bring together industry leaders to discuss the key challenges—and opportunities—associated with manufacturing the embedded photonics products that are playing an increasingly vital role in the hyperscale data center market. This workshop is not included in your OFC registration. Register for the workshop now!

Registration Includes 5 Panel Sessions and Networking Events:

  • Session 1: Data Center Requirements and Technology Roadmap
  • Session 2: Embedded Photonic Products for Future Data Centers
  • Working Lunch and Breakout Session
  • Session 3: Metrics Discussion
  • Session 4: Manufacturing Embedded Photonics
  • Session 5: Workshop Wrap-up & Key Takeaways
  • Networking Reception

View the program for the OIDA Workshop On Embedded Photonic Manufacturing for Data Centers and register now to take advantage of your OIDA Member discount.

The workshop will be critical for understanding the trends in manufacturing embedded photonics for data centers.


RSVP for OIDA Member Benefit Orientation on 12 February

RSVP for OIDA's member benefit overview orientation on 12 February at 13:00. This is an opportunity to learn more about key membership benefits you and your company should be taking advantage of and explore how to maximize performance and grow your business.

Whether you have been an active member for years and need a quick refresh or are transitioning to the new OIDA membership model — this orientation is a must-attend! Please feel free to share this with your colleagues. When you join OIDA, everyone at your organization becomes a member.


Present Your Applied Industrial Optics Research at AIO
20-22 July 2020, OSA Headquarters, Washington, District of Columbia United States

Presenting at the OSA Applied Industrial Optics Topical Meeting (AIO) provides the opportunity to showcase your work to leaders in your field, and to expand your network of professional connections. This is where researchers and professionals from diverse backgrounds gather and discuss photonics research, technology development and commercialization. Here, industry leaders can stay informed of the latest advances in photonics technology. AIO creates an engaging multi-disciplinary program that encourages the sharing of ideas and generates cross-pollination across fields. Through technical sessions, tutorials, panel discussions and networking events, AIO grants unprecedented access to industry experts and insight into today's commercial climate. It offers a unique atmosphere that is both informative and interactive, providing a forum for photonics leaders to meet, collaborate, and innovate. Submit your research for consideration by 18 March 2020. Learn more. Exhibit and sponsorship opportunities are also available for this meeting.


Engineering Award Opportunity: Submit Your Nomination Now

Nominations for the Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award are due 10 April. This is a great opportunity to highlight the value and importance of engineering teams! 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. Recipients receive: Special recognition in OPN; Dedicated press release & social media posts; Recognition during Frontier's in Optics (FiO); Participation in the FiO Awards Ceremony & Reception; and Recognition in trade magazines, journals and conference publications.


Amplify Your Sales — Become an OIDA Sponsor!

Through OIDA programs and events, industry leaders gain access to quality information, an unparalleled professional network, and countless opportunities for collaboration. A wide variety of sponsorship opportunities are available to provide optimum exposure for your company at each OIDA event. Raise your company's profile in front of these key customers by becoming a sponsor today.

Sponsorships offer different levels of exposure and include registration passes to the events. For detailed information on packages and pricing, please contact or call +1.202.416.1474.


OFC Career Zone is Live — Employers and Job Seekers Create Your Account Now

The OFC Career Zone is where job seekers and employers from all areas of optical communications connect. Check out the OFC Career Zone Online and create your account today!

Be sure to also participate in our Onsite OFC Career Zone Live at OFC, San Diego Convention Center, 10-12 March 2020.

Questions: contact or +1.202.416.1942


Invitation to Join the OIDA Optics and Photonics Industry LinkedIn Group

Join 3,000+ of your colleagues in our OIDA 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!


Link Now...


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 Research &
    Development Corp, Chair
  • Simin Cai,
    Go!Foton, Chair Elect
  • John Dexheimer,
    LightWave Advisors, Inc.
  • Turan Erdogan,
    Plymouth Grating
    Laboratory, Inc.
  • Amy Eskilson,
    Inrad Optics
  • Christoph S. Harder,
  • Frederick J. Leonberger,
    EOvation Advisors LLC
  • Anjul Loiacono,
    Thorlabs Inc.
  • Debbie Wilson,
    Lumentum Operations Inc.


2010 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20036 USA
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