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Beginning the afternoon sessions was Tom Hausken, OSA senior advisor, engineering & applications, who gave an overview of the global market for photonics, which grows about 6% per year--outpacing the 2 to 3% average growth of the US economy. In 2015, OSA Industry Development Associates (OIDA) predicted that the production value of photonics will reach $500 billion dollars, of which less than $100 billion is actual photonics products, and about $200 billion is comprised of displays while the remaining $200 billion is comprised of products enabled by photonics production.
Geographically, Taiwan takes a large share for displays while China is responsible for most of the photovoltaics production (LEDs make up about $10 billion worth of business for China alone). China is gaining confidence in the mergers & acquisitions space while Japan's economy remains flat, says Hausken. Not to mention that Japan has nearly equivalent photonics production at home and offshore. In the US, less than 10% of the photonics companies contribute 90% of the US photonics revenue. Most of the European photonics production is in the industrial space, while Taiwan is slowly seeing a falling share of production.
Hausken concluded with many of the US initiatives for photonics funding, as well as some detail on Europe. It is hoped that these efforts will increase as photonics awareness increases globally. Currently, the US spends about $1.3 billion on photonics funding efforts.
Lasers in China
Peking University professor and VP and secretary general of the Chinese Optical Society Qihuang Gong gave an overview of how funding is structured in China for laser and photonic advances in both public and private markets. Even though China has 20% of the world's population at about 1.3 billion people, Gong says that 200 million of those are poverty stricken and that China has a long way to go in growing the middle class.
Optics-related graduate students comprise roughly 20% of the total graduates in 2000 higher-education institutes, and recent research on quantum information processing, solitons, nanophotonics, nanoscale particle detection, ultrafast light-matter interaction, and OAM communication are indicators of the sophisticated nature of Chinese academia. R&D funding has been growing exponentially in China since 1995, and a host of other slides that could not be shown due to time constraints of the presentation are available on the presentation thumb drives handed out to Seminar attendees.
Easy oil doesn't exist anymore
In his presentation entitled "Photonics in the Oil and Gas Industry", Halliburton fluid ID R&D manager Chris Jones said that even though oil prices had dropped a lot in previous months, they will once again be on the rise (as they have been recently) and that "easy oil doesn't exist anymore". Hence the need for photonics to improve recovery efficiencies for existing and new oil reserves.
An oil industry downturn is actually good news for photonics, says Jones. Many new products are launched when the oil industry is not doing well and recognizes it needs new technology to stay profitable. Among those profit-builders are downhole fiber-optic filter-based and fiber Bragg grating (FBG)-based temperature and pressure sensors that can improve oil well monitoring and serve as a barometer for well health, yielding clues that can increase extraction yields. Jones says that optics can bring a 20% ROI to oil and gas exploration and extraction.
And with that, I've concluded my three-part blog on the 2015 Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar. Be sure to attend next year; we've already started gathering data and formulating presentation ideas and speakers for the next big event in 2016. If you have suggestions for topics or speakers, please don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.