Member News - January 2020

Industry Member News

07 January, 2020

Read about What to Expect in 2020, OIDA's Quantum Roadmap, University Research Funding Trends, Advocacy, Special Events, New Reports and Other Noteworthy News, Opinions & Opportunities

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OSA Corporate Member Newsletter

In this Issue:

What to Expect in 2020

It's a new year, and time again to look at the year ahead. What can we expect for the optics and photonics market in 2020? We limit ourselves to ten items, with some new and some returning from 2019:

  1. It's about the economy. It is a U.S. presidential election year, and to voters, the economy—which now includes trade frictions—outranks all other issues. It outranks everything to our member companies as well. An outright recession now appears less likely than a year ago, but it remains a significant risk. Hear more at our OIDA market update events, such as here.
  2. Embedded photonics. Following decades of anticipation, the time has finally come where we can talk about near-term integration of photonics inside the same package with commercial switch electronics for use in hyperscale data centers. See our OIDA workshop in March.
  3. Optics in autonomy. While we patiently wait for auto companies to implement LIDAR and other features into cars, others are looking at using LIDAR, conventional imaging and other optical solutions for use in a wide range of other applications—from air, land, and sea vehicles to robots. See our OIDA forum in June.
  4. Quantum photonics will remain a mostly R&D topic for the time being but some products have been in the market and there is over US$ 1.5 billion in investment pouring in per year. OIDA will release a quantum photonics technology roadmap this spring, and OSA will debut a new conference, Quantum 2.0, in June.
  5. Workforce shortage. Companies complain about the shortage of skilled workers in optics and photonics, not just in the U.S. but across the world. Which is to say that in a time of high employment and a strong optics sector, workers are harder to find and more expensive to keep than ever. Look for OIDA and OSA career programs throughout the year, such as the Innovation School, Mid-Manager School, student Lunch & Learn events and career accelerators.
  6. Diversity and inclusion is getting more traction in our industry. Our community is understanding the need to do better, but there is still a long way to go. See OSA's efforts here and the results of the joint OSA-SPIE survey on professional conduct here.
  7. MicroLEDs. Just when you think that display technology is maturing, there comes along something new. This time it is microLEDs, competing with liquid crystal and OLED technology for displays both small and large.
  8. Perovskite materials. In contrast to displays, silicon-based solar cells remain dominant in the photovoltaic market. Silicon is a robust material and decades into the learning curve. But as a new material, perovskites are promising, and may be useful in other applications if not in solar cells.
  9. 5G, AR and the Internet of Things. Everyone wonders, will 5G live up to the promise? This year will be a critical test, as handset makers roll out new 5G phones and the carriers measure traction. But 5G is supposed to be much more than just another handset upgrade, it can enable innovations in industrial IoT (Internet of Things), online video gaming, augmented reality and much much more. Stay tuned, and see OIDA and OSA programming here, here and here.
  10. Flat optics promises to take optics beyond diffractive optics with sub-wavelength structures. It's not likely to displace conventional optics in any large way, and it's still in its early stage, but there may be many interesting market opportunities for innovators. See here.


OIDA Quantum Roadmap: Invest in Photonic Components

OIDA is continuing to prepare its roadmap on quantum photonics and an early finding is already apparent. For all the funding to advancing quantum science and technology, funding is also necessary to assure a U.S. supply of affordable high-performance components. And the most obvious source of funding is the U.S. government, in its role both as a customer and as a market maker. This finding comes from dozens of discussions with key stakeholders in quantum technology.

OIDA Executive Forum 2019 panel on commercial quantum key distribution.

A common observation from customers is that the photonics technology needed for quantum photonics is commercially available, but they want better performance and most of all, lower prices. For example, low-noise lasers at visible wavelengths are necessary to couple to cold atoms for many quantum designs. But today's volumes are low; few companies supply to that market. Improving the performance and reducing the price requires a substantial investment, too large for the suppliers to make alone. Without co-investment from partners, the technology cannot advance.

For their part, private sector customers are still in R&D mode; they are just trying to get quantum prototypes to work, at any cost. They can make decisions to enter or exit the market with responsibility only to their investors. Few to none are likely to spend heavily to develop a supply infrastructure that also benefits their competitors.

The U.S. government is different, and is the obvious choice as the investor in a quantum photonics ecosystem. It is a customer for its own security needs, but with a longer-term interest than for-profit companies. It is "too big to fail" in the sense that it cannot risk its national security and competitiveness because it neglected investment in quantum science and its ecosystem of supporting products. The government can help the private sector ecosystem and protect its own national security interests at the same time. The U.S. government has options to address the type of needs, as OIDA explored in 2012 and 2013 regarding U.S. capability in integrated photonics, but funding the ecosystem is a harder sell than funding so-called basic research.

OIDA will release the quantum photonics roadmap in spring 2020. For questions about the OIDA roadmap, contact Tom Hausken. See also OSA 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 dedicated to this effort.


U.S. University Research Funding Declines

The U.S.-based Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) reported this fall that U.S. government funding of university research has declined both in inflation-adjusted dollars and as a share of the U.S. economy, and it is slipping in rank among peer nations. Business investment in U.S. university research has improved, but is not enough to make up the gap. The ITIF recommended an increase of U.S. funding of US$ 45 billion per year to place the U.S. in the top seven nations.

The decline is worrisome for U.S. companies, as university funding drives not only research but also the pipeline of talent entering the workforce. Without funding, there are fewer graduates in key topics. Companies must look elsewhere, or locate R&D facilities abroad.

In specific rank, the U.S. is near the global average in PPP dollars, just ahead of Japan (16) and China (17), but behind Germany (9), Canada (10), South Korea (11), U.K. (12) and Taiwan (13). Not surprisingly there are many small countries at the top of the list, including Switzerland and Denmark, but their total investment in R&D is smaller in absolute value.

Funding of non-military R&D in physical sciences has remained approximately flat since 1970, when adjusted for inflation. The figure compares funding across selected disciplines to 2017. Funding for life sciences grew most, relative to the other disciplines and in absolute dollars, and now exceeds an impressive US$ 35 billion. Overall non-military funding grew at 2.2%, compounded annually and adjusted for inflation.

Source: OIDA, from AAAS using NSF data (here).

That doesn't mean the U.S. government has abandoned optics and photonics, because the technology appears in nearly every discipline that NSF tracks, not just physical sciences. The flat funding of the physical sciences is due in part to the success of the commercial sector in lasers. The global laser industry is over US$ 14 billion in annual sales today, compared to US$ 290 million in 1970, adjusted for inflation. That's compounded annual growth of 8.6% over the period, after inflation.

Among OSA's many advocacy activities in this topic, OSA CEO Elizabeth Rogan encouraged Congress to support R&D and pass pending federal government spending legislation in an editorial to the Washington political news site, The Hill, on 7 November (see here). For more information on OSA's advocacy, contact OSA Senior Director of Government Relations, David Lang, at


Welcome New OIDA Members





RSVP for OIDA Member Benefit Orientation on 8 January

RSVP for OIDA's member benefit overview orientation on 8 January 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.


Program Announced for OIDA Workshop On Embedded Photonic Manufacturing for Data Centers
8 March, Co-located with OFC, San Diego, CA, USA

Attend this 1-day workshop and get a deep look at the key challenges and opportunities associated with manufacturing embedded photonic devices for data centers. Data centers are the new growth engine for the photonics industry. Will you and your company be ready to capitalize on this business and overcome the significant technical, manufacturing and cost barriers? This workshop is co-located with OFC, but requires a separate registration.

Four immersive panel discussions—all led by subject matter experts--will help you gain a better understanding of the issues that could impact your company.

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

View the program and register by 27 January to take advantage of your OIDA Member discount.


Receive a Free Registration to OIDA Executive Forum at OFC
9 March, Co-located with OFC, San Diego, CA, USA

Attending OFC? Add value to your OFC experience. Register to attend OIDA Executive Forum — the premier event for leaders in optical networking and communications. Exclusive for OIDA Members: Buy 1 discounted registration and bring a customer or colleague for free! Special discounts are available to members and non-members through 27 January.

Hear C-Level speakers from major companies lead broad conversations on the state of the global industry, emerging trends and recommended courses of action.

Registration Includes:

  • 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 Featured Keynote Speaker Elizabeth Rivera Hartling, Subsea Optical Network Architect, Facebook
  • Networking Events: Breakfast, lunch, two coffee breaks and evening reception

View the program and register by 27 January to take advantage of your OIDA Member discount and free registration.


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


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

The OSA Applied Industrial Optics Topical Meeting (AIO) 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 (12:00 EST / 17:00 GMT). Learn more. Exhibit and sponsorship opportunities are also available for this meeting.


Accelerate Your ROI in 2020 with Trusted, High-Quality R&D and Market Information Available to OIDA Members

OIDA Market Update reports will help you develop a successful business strategy, keep abreast of critical technology innovations and stay ahead of your competition.

Members who have chosen the Market Intelligence & Advocacy benefit category have exclusive access to all the OIDA Market Update reports on our new OIDA Publications and Reports Center.

With new enhancements you can now:

  • Discover expanded report options with a fully interconnected network of reports, roadmaps and articles.
  • Browse the most recent and trending research on optical networking, biophotonics/life sciences, machine tools and automation, sensors, lasers and topics, quantum, LIDAR and more.
  • Search by keyword or date to find accurate answers faster.
  • Access reports on any device, anywhere—desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile.

Visit the new OIDA Publications and Reports Center today to see everything available to you.


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.


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