A lot has happened at the Society since my last column; from the launch of our new website to several major conferences and a renewed strategy on highlighting technical papers.
The pandemic no longer imposes severe travel restrictions and most destinations around the world are now more easily accessible. The 2023 Optical Fiber Communication (OFC) conference, co-sponsored equally by the IEEE Photonics Society, the IEEE Communications Society and Optica, was held on March 24-28 in San Diego, California. It celebrated a strong post-pandemic rebound, with over 11 thousand registrants and a sold-out exhibition with 515 companies from 70 countries. We experienced a 32% increase in contributed papers from 2022, and, notably, a 10% increase relative to 2019, the last year before the pandemic. Technical highlights of the conference included programs focusing on the next generation technologies such as Quantum Networking, Artificial Intelligence, and Data Center Connectivity. OFC 2023 also featured OFCnet, showcasing a live networking platform on the exhibit floor that enabled optical communication directly from the exhibit floor. OFCnet allows academia and industry to join forces to design, build and utilize the platform for data sharing.
Shortly after OFC, the newly branded IEEE Silicon Photonics Conference (formerly Group IV Photonics) took place in Arlington, Virginia garnering great success, with over 100+ technical presentations programmed and 6+ major industry sponsors. This rebrand decision was made as Silicon Photonics has become a key technology of the future, improving the reliability, scalability, and density of optical communications and data centers as well as greater energy efficiency and processing of health devices and biosensors. The Silicon Photonics market is anticipated to reach USD 10.2 Billion by 2030. An industry-led, hands-on workshop for foundry PDK-driven Silicon Photonic Integrated Circuit Design, for aerospace, defense, datacom and high-performance computing applications, and a special symposia session featuring some of the early pioneers within the field of silicon photonics were also held.
In May, the 2023 edition of the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) was held in San Jose, California. The conference also experienced a strong post-pandemic rebound with 2,272 technical registrations, up by 3% relative to the pre-pandemic year 2019. The in-person technical participants were nearly 3,000. Topics of great interest included integrated optics, including integrated lasers, and a wide array of quantum technologies related to building quantum networks. The number of exhibitors continued to increase relative to the pandemic years but was short of the pre-pandemic level. It is worth mentioning a notable change of venue for CLEO in 2024 as it will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina from the 5th to the 10th of May.
Immediately following CLEO, the ETOP 2023, Education and Training in Optics and Photonics, was co-organized by the IEEE Photonics Society with Optica, SPIE and ICO, and CREOL as the host, offering 110+ abstract presentations and 11 hands-on workshops on practical and instruction oriented topics, such as “Sustainable education in the age of the second Quantum Revolution”, “Optical System Designs”, “AR in Lab Work Training”, “How to prepare your STEM PhDs for private sector careers”, and “Biophotonics for All: Light transport through tissue”, for 131 registered attendees. Most topics were crafted to help prepare a workforce for advanced manufacturing, telecommunications, defense, energy conservation through silicon photonics, and advanced medicine. Physics teachers across Florida were also provided Free Space Optical Communication Kits to hold classroom instruction and an “Optics Bus” hands-on experience. Over 27 industry partners sponsored the week.
On the publication side, there is a recognition that important advances appearing in our technical journals need to be made more easily understandable to the entire Society’s membership and to a wider audience not having a background in photonics. As a first step in this direction, the Society publications team is now working with a professional freelance editor to present important progress in a form accessible to a wide audience to further enhance the visibility of our publications. Articles to be highlighted are chosen by the journal editors, approved by the Editor in Chief, then rewritten by the freelance editor in a style making the content more accessible outside the immediate technical community in the field. The article then goes through approvals for accuracy before it is considered ready for a news release. More to come on an easier access to the Society’s most important technical and scientific advances.
The IEEE/Optica Journal of Lightwave Technology celebrated its 40th anniversary during a luncheon at OFC 2023. Past and current Editor-in-Chiefs shared their personal experiences and stories spanning from the launch of the journal to the current state of this influential publication. Videos of the talks will be available to the community.
Finally, the Society’s new website was launched just before OFC 2023 using the WordPress platform. A new URL, ieeephotonics.org, was chosen to ensure a better connection to IEEE and it also better matches our social media handles. The old URL, photonicssociety.org, redirects to the new URL. The website enables new content to be incorporated more easily and it also facilitates interactive exchanges such as forums and blogs. Feel free to explore the new website to discover all the Society’s activities.
I wish for a great summer to all our members.