Edited by John R. Bryson, Jennifer Clark and Vida Vanchan
Chapter 16: Hidden in plain sight: the North American optics and photonics industry
This chapter describes an established enabling industry: optics and photonics. The photonics industry has existed at the crossroads between science policy and economic development for several decades – falling somewhere along the spectrum from a high-tech emerging industry to an established sector. As a consequence, photonics often fails to garner the state and federal investment directed at seemingly newer and flashier enabling technologies like nanotechnology or biotechnology. It also falls beneath the radar of policy makers focused on new materials like lightweight composites or additive manufacturing. And finally, the definitional issues that make the boundaries of the industry difficult to scope, often leave it off the list of industries targeted for economic development and private investment.
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