Without a cohesive policy in support of photonics advances, speakers warned, the U.S. will slip from its place of technology leadership, manufacturing will continue to shift outside the U.S., and forward progress in photonics-enabled applications in medicine, cybersecurity, broadband, bridge and highway infrastructure safety, and other areas will be impaired.
“Photonics is a critical enabler for our high-tech economy,” said Paul McManamon, one of several members of the report that produced the committee who attended last week’s event. “The Internet, MRIs and CAT scans, and space mission spin-offs such as optical blood diagnostic instruments and infrared cameras that indicate hot spots in a fire are just a few examples of photonics-enabled applications. If the U.S. wants to retain high-tech leadership and jobs, we need the National Photonics Initiative.”
Committee members Alan Willner, Tom Baer, and Edward White, also attended and participated in a panel discussion.
Along with SPIE, sponsoring organizations included the Optical Society (OSA), IEEE Photonics Society, American Physical Society, and the Laser Institute of America.
SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Society serves nearly 225,000 constituents from approximately 150 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional networking, and patent precedent. SPIE provided over $3.2 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2012.
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