An overview of optics technology advances from World War II to the present is given. This overview concentrates on subject matter pertinent to the session "Optics to the Year 2000." The development of a typical technology from the conceptual level to deployment is discussed. A summary of the dollar growth in optics technology over the past 10 years is also provided. Significant events in each of seven optics technologies are discussed: fiber optics, high-power lasers, integrated optics, flat-panel displays, solar cells, medical optics, and space optics. Discussion of these areas includes their history, applications, "drivers," current limitations, industrial base, and current status of each. Finally, a summary is given.
The impact of the social-political-economic environment on technology development is summarized. The history, current status, possible futures and technology implications are outlined for major components of this environment: foreign affairs, domestic values, and economic activity. The status and technology opportunities in national priorities - health care, education, national security, and energy - derived from the environment are presented based on a continuation of the current world trajectory. Events that would lead to more integrated.and greater disarray worlds are suggested, and the sensitivity of specific technology disciplines to these other worlds is discussed.
Fiber optic technology is now soundly established and accepted for future use in hundreds of worldwide applications. Through the 1970s, fiber optic components progressed from laboratory device status, through pilot production for trial systems, and are now moving into high volume production. Over the past decade, device performance improved by more than an order of magnitude while prices plummeted. Fiber optic cable systems now are less expensive than conductive cable in many major applications; witness the AT&T Northeast Corridor system.
The accomplishments of the first decade of integrated optics research are reviewed and the present state of the field summarized. Prospects for integrated optical applications in communications, sensing, and optical processing are discussed. A very brief comment on anticipated trends and needs in the field is also given.
This year it seems to be very popular for pundits from many specialties to predict what will happen in the next 10 to 20 years. The year 2000 is such a nice round number, and so reasonably close, that it is fun to make some conjectures about what life on the third planet will be like then. Despite the fact that mankind is travelling on collision courses with several fundamental limiting forces in the world, like food, energy, military weapons, ..., and may not, in the end, actually reach that year with even a small majority of the people living today (Carter ),it will be assumed here that advancements will continue to be made based upon growth of our present technology. One of the key technologies in this period will be photoelectronics.
This paper reviews the past accomplishments, summarizes the present status, and extrap-olates into the future the growth of flat-panel displays. An overview of the technologies and accomplishments of the past that have led to successful liquid crystal, light-emitting diode, gas discharge, and electroluminescent displays is presented. The six basic limitations of efficiency, addressability, contrast, gray scale, color, and cost that have so far inhibited flat-panel technologies from replacing the CRT are discussed.
The utility of coherent electro-magnetic radiation depends both on applications requirements and on technology capability. This paper uses potential applications to first outline the technology requirements for the energy transmitter/receiver set. We then discuss the match between those requirements and the present state of the laser device and optics technology, current development trends and foreseeable future accomplishments.
This paper defines some of the developments that will be required for optical remote sensors on spacecraft that will explore the solar system in the remainder of the 20th century. The relative roles of optics and focal-plane detectors in achieving increases in sensitivity are described.
Growing national and international concerns in the areas of energy, defense, food, national economic vitality, communications and information systems, and social goals for improved quality of life play increasingly important roles in determining how aggressively peaceful applications of optics in space will be supported or pursued by the United States. Today, peaceful space projects are often viewed as a nonessential luxury that can be dispensed with; the percent of GNP devoted to peaceful space applications has diminished in recent years. On the other hand, dramatic growth of peaceful space optical systems with direct practical benefits to some of these national concerns can emerge in the next two decades. Three levels of optical technology are examined, ranging from nearterm engineering growth to more specu-lative extrapolation. Finally, an assessment is made of the relative likelihood of implementing these technology levels.
Certain dyes can be absorbed by biological tissue. If the dye absorbs light there, it can damage the tissue beyond repair. This effect is currently widely used to treat certain skin diseases and will undoubtedly be extended to internal diseases. A limited number of experiments have also shown its effectiveness against cancer in humans. Other dyes in tissue do no damage but merely fluoresce. The characteristics of this fluorescence may, in the future, be used to indicate the site and nature of disease in the body. Current optical technology seems particularly well adapted for use in these emerging areas of medicine. This paper suggests how optical technology, chemistry and clinical medicine may be combined in the photodynamic treatment of disease and forecasts the technological growth rates of the relevant biomedical specialties.
Recognition of the necessity to fully develop alternative energy resources has resulted in renewed interest in capturing energy from the sun. The daily average amount of energy delivered to the earth by this essentially eternal source is a staggering 14,170 quads (1 quad = 101b Btu), compared to an annual world energy consumption of approximately 225 quads. The United States alone accounts for 35 percent, i.e., 79 quads, of the world's annual energy consumption. The incentives to harness the sun's energy are clear solar energy is free, clean, and abundant. However, the task of harvesting the energy and directing or controlling the manner in which it is used is an arduous one that encompasses diverse technologies, including direct and indirect conversion mechanisms. The solar technologies are photovoltaics, biomass conversion, solar thermal (including passive design), wind, ocean systems, and hydropower. Near-and mid-term energy contributions from solar passive design and active heating and cooling systems, wind energy conversion systems, and elements of biomass conversion such as alcohol production are expected. Later year contributions from photovoltaics, ocean systems, large solar thermal installations, and other biomass conversion processes are very promising. The impact of government policies, energy conservation, and the availability of other energy resources on the development of the solar options is significant and may influence the energy contribution that is achieved.