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Contents Focus

The latest news from the UK and abroad, encompassing research, the latest applications, business developments, and news from EPIC by director general Carlos Lee

Feature: Reaching for the stars

Jessica Rowbury finds out how the manufacture of the European Extremely Large Telescope will benefit the optics industry across the continent

Feature: Illuminating entertainment

Greg Blackman gazes in wonder at some of the spectacular shows and art installations that are now being created using laser diodes

Feature: Wonder material

Greg Blackman finds out how the unique properties of graphene are being used in laser technology

EOS news

The latest news from the European Optical Society, including a preview of the EOSAM2014 conference


The latest photonics products from around the world Product Focus: Time-resolved spectroscopy

The latest releases of instruments used to study the chemical constituents of dynamic processes

Suppliers’ Directory

Find the photonics suppliers you need Technology Focus

Greg Blackman speaks to Andrew Forbes, who led research into the world's first 'digital laser'

EDITORIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM Tel: +44 (0)1223 211170 Fax: +44 (0)1223 213385 Managing editor Greg Blackman Feature writer Jessica Rowbury Production editor Tim Gillett Circulation/readership enquiries Pete Vine

36 38 38

Electro Optics is audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

28 35 20 26 24 20 16 16 4 4 Built in Britain

The UK makes some of the best lasers in the world: ‘we are great at making lasers’ was one of the comments at a panel discussion about UK photonics that took place at the recent Photonex trade fair in Coventry, UK. Unfortunately, though, we are a little reserved – rather British, one might say – when it comes to selling the technology. It was suggested at the show that UK companies should have more confidence in their products, and that being more confident in how good the technology is would encourage growth in the industry. The show report can be found in the news section, starting on page 4.

The UK does excel in photonics and opto- electronics, which is why companies such as Coherent and Thales have invested in the UK, because of the skill set available. When German laser giant, Trumpf, was looking for fibre laser technology to add to its portfolio, it settled on SPI Lasers, which was spun out of the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton, because of the technology. Confidence was only one part, and probably only a small part at that, of stimulating growth in UK photonics, and a lot of what it comes down to is funding and how best to spend that funding (the UK government’s science budget has remained flat since 2011). In addition, while the UK is good at making lasers, there’s not much laser processing – 75 per cent of UK photonics revenue is from exports. The UK government is trying to redress this by putting emphasis on the manufacturing sector, which should open up opportunities for photonics companies, especially those in the UK.

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CORPORATE TEAM Chairman Dr Tom Wilkie Publishing director Warren Clark

Electro Optics is published 10 times a year by Europa Science Ltd, Unit 9, Clifton Court, Cambridge CB1 7BN, UK Tel: +44 (0)1223 211170 Fax: +44 (0)1223 213385 Web: ISSN: 0013-4589

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SUBSCRIPTIONS: Free registrations available to qualifying individuals. Subscriptions £300 a year for 10 issues to readers outside registration requirements. Orders to Europa Science, Unit 9, Clifton Court, Cambridge CB1 7BN, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1223 211170. Fax: +44 (0)1223 213385. ©2013 Europa Science Ltd. Whilst every care has been taken in the compilation of this magazine, errors or omissions are not the responsibility of the publishers or of the editorial staff. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the publishers or editorial staff. All rights reserved. Unless specifically stated, goods or services mentioned are not formally endorsed by Europa Science Ltd, which does not guarantee or endorse or accept any liability for any goods and/or services featured in this publication. US copies: Electro Optics (ISSN 0013-4589) is published 10 times a year for £300 per year by Europa Science Ltd and distributed in the US by DSW, 75 Aberdeen Road, Emigsville PA 17318-0437. Periodicals postage paid at Emigsville PA.

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Cover image: European Southern Observatories (ESO)

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