With 1,130 exhibitors occupying 42,000 square meters, the last LASER World of PHOTONICS was fully booked down to the last stand. However, the increasing importance of the key technology photonics is unabated and, with it, the demand for exhibition space. In 2015 the manufacturers will get what they are after: the world’s leading trade fair will expand by one hall to 55,000 square meters.
From 22 to 25 June 2015 the international laser and photonics industry will be meeting for the industry’s flagship show in Munich. Taking place in parallel is the international scientific elite’s get-together at the World of Photonics Congress 2015. A modern society would no longer be conceivable without photonics. Nowadays, light is used as a high tech tool in the most varied fields. Whether in mobile phones, cars, household appliances, medical technology or energy efficiency – nowadays people are surrounded by technologies based on lasers and optical technologies. Not for nothing did UNESCO declare 2015 to be the “International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies” (IYL 2015).
For more than 40 years, this trade fair has been a preeminent global market place for all matters pertaining to lasers and photonics. Dr. Reinhard Pfeiffer, Deputy CEO, Messe München said: “The photonics industry is an industry of the future and the driving force behind numerous other industries. We sense the need for the technology from the growth in exhibitor numbers and from the fact the halls were becoming ever fuller. In 2015 we will be upsizing the LASER World of PHOTONICS from four to five halls.”
Three focus topics for all facets of photonics
The LASER World of PHOTONICS exhibition spans all aspects of the application of photonics – already established applications and industry newcomers and future markets alike. A new highlight and focus topic in 2015 is the “imaging” field. There is scarcely a single production sector nowadays capable of dispensing with industrial image processing, combining stringent quality control with optimal efficiency. There is a huge need for solutions. Their use is extremely diverse, for example in testing and measurement technology, optics, medical and photo technology, electronics and material processing.
Laser systems for manufacturing is is a mature area, but remain among the trade fair visitors’ favorites. This second focus topic, boasting the largest exhibition footprint at the LASER World of PHOTONICS, showcases the entire gamut of laser applications in material processing and machining. The spectrum ranges from macro to micro material processing and on to additive manufacturing – also known as 3D printing. The laser is also increasingly the option of choice as a machining tool for lightweight construction solutions or hybrid material combinations. Twinned with robots and the appropriate system peripherals, laser systems cater for users’ every conceivable wish, in automation matters as well.
In the third focus area, biophotonics & medical technology, medical and scientific companies are showcasing solutions from spectroscopy and microscopy to therapeutic and manipulation processes. Laser and optoelectronics, optical information and communication, optics and manufacturing technology for optics, sensors, test and measurement technology and optical measuring systems complete the exhibition portfolio.
Trends: additive manufacturing (3D-printing), ultra-short pulse lasers and 3D X-ray microscopy
A veritable extravaganza of innovation awaits the visitor at the LASER World of PHOTONICS 2015: if 30 years ago lasers were “only” used as a welding machine, nowadays laser technology is transforming entire production processes: additive manufacturing – also known as 3D printing – is currently writing a new chapter in the annals of the industrial revolution. Additive manufacturing is enjoying ever greater use in industrial production, such as in the manufacturing of prototypes, one-off items and small production runs, quickly and cheaply. For example, car manufacturers use laser build-up welding in rapid prototyping as a technique for manufacturing specimen components. In the 3D printing arena, selective laser melting has developed into a serious manufacturing process, capable of achieving geometries of almost any complexity. Where casting or milling was used in the past, nowadays a laser can build the product up layer by layer from the very finest metal powder.
The ultra-short pulse laser is increasingly being used, enabling a multitude of applications by virtue of its cold machining and as a non-wearing tool, suitable for ever more sensitive materials. Interesting new application fields are opening up here, above all in the joining of lightweight construction or hybrid materials. There are important potential uses for ultra-short pulse lasers to be found in the medical technology arena as well, enabling non-destructive diagnostic procedures to be performed. For example, one successful field of application in the context of cancer diagnosis is tissue analysis without the need for biopsy. Ultra-short pulse lasers are used here: the short-wave laser light’s characteristics lend themselves to the precise imaging of cell size organisms. Compared with conventional diagnosis procedures involving tissue removal, this procedure is faster and the patient does not need to undergo an operation.
Yet another promising imaging application when it comes to living tissue imagery is 3D X-ray microscopy. This enables three dimensional images of organisms of interest on the nanometer scale. In the next few years it might supplant the widely-used computer tomography (CT) technique. 3D X-ray microscopy is more powerful than CT both in terms of contrast and resolution.
Outstanding forecasts: steady growth of photonics market
The global photonics market is on an upward trend. According to the latest edition of the “Branchenreport Photonik (Photonics industry report)”, all the economic indicators are pointing to long term growth again in the wake of subdued development in 2012 and 2013.
Photonics is of strategic importance to the German government, which has identified it as one of the key technologies of the future in its high tech strategy. In the seven years to 2020, the biggest EU framework program for research and innovation, “Horizon 2020”, with 80 billion euros of funding, aims to help small companies generate the ultimate in innovation, in photonics as well.
In 2015 the World of Photonics Congress, which traditionally takes place in parallel with the LASER World of PHOTONICS and is one of the three biggest scientific photonics congresses anywhere in the world, will be entirely under the “International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies” banner. It is here that the international scientific elite will be meeting from 21 to 25 June, 2015 to exchange views on the latest developments in laser and photonics research.
In keeping with the Year of Light, numerous Nobel Prize Laureates are expected to speak at the 2015 congress. For example, Prof. Theodor Hänsch and Prof. Serge Haroche will be among those delivering plenary lectures. Prof. Hänsch, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching near Munich, has a reputation as a pioneer in laser spectroscopy and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2005. Prof. Serge Haroche, Professor of Quantum Physics at the Collège de France, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2012 for research into the interaction between light and material. Prof. Federico Capasso will open the World of Photonics Congress. The Italian American physicist, who teaches at Harvard University, is the recipient of a whole string of accolades, for example the Arthur-L.-Schawlow Prize in Laser Physics, the King Faisal Prize, the IEEE Edison Medal, the Berthold Leibinger Future Prize and also the OSA’s R. W. Wood Prize. Prof. Capasso is known for developing the quantum cascade laser.
With its six conferences, the World of Photonics Congress is addressing all disciplines of the photonics sciences – from fundamental research to application-related areas such as optical measuring technology, lasers in manufacturing, biophotonics and biomedical optics as well as optical component manufacturing processes. International scientific societies such as EPS, OSA, SPIE, WLT and IEEE ensure the topicality and high scientific quality of the contributions. In 2013 around 3,500 international participants attended the Congress with its more than 2,800 lectures and poster presentations.