J. Gary Eden
Lasers and electro-optics is a broad, multi-faceted field and understandably draws upon a wide range of associated technologies. Ever remaking itself, the field continually spawns new areas and creates synergies with colleagues in allied areas. LEOS is one of 37 IEEE societies and it is not surprising that the breadth of LEOS technical interests gives rise to valuable, long-term interactions with sister IEEE societies. In fact, both our own origins as a society and LEOS current activities testify to our interdependence on other segments of the electro-technology community and the necessity for pursuing interactions with IEEE societies in related fields.
It is fitting that LEOS owes it conception to the IEEE Electron Devices Society (EDS then known as the Electron Devices Group) which launched the Journal of Quantum Electronics in April of 1965. The following year, EDS, in cooperation with the Microwave Theory and Techniques Group (MTT), formed the Quantum Electronics Group, the forerunner of the Quantum Electronics and Applications Society (QEAS) and, subsequently, LEOS.
Today, our associations with other IEEE societies remain strong and are growing. The Journal of Lightwave Technology, for example, is administered by a Steering Committee comprising representatives from seven IEEE societies: the Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society, the Communications Society, the Instrumentation and Measurement Society, the Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society, EDS, MTT, and LEOS. Co-published with the Optical Society of America (OSA), JLT is a reminder that such connections are healthy and serve to foster new initiatives in interdisciplinary subfields. Similar comments could be made regarding our conferences. CLEO has long been co-sponsored by LEOS, OSA and the Division of Laser Science of the American Physical Society and LEOS, OSA, and the IEEE Communications Society are partners in offering the immensely successful OFC Conference. We welcome and regularly seek co-sponsorship of topical meetings, as well. A recent example is the Microwave Photonics Conference, in which LEOS teamed with MTT. Furthermore, of LEOS 50 chapters worldwide, 30% are joint with at least one other IEEE society.
Against this backdrop, two initiatives within LEOS and the IEEE are especially timely. The Technical Activities Board (TAB) of IEEE has recently established an AdHoc Sensors Group, chaired by John Vig, President of the Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society, whose charter is to explore cross-society initiatives in the area of sensor development and applications. Gordon Day of NIST has graciously agreed to serve as the LEOS representative to the Group and will, with individuals from 16 other IEEE societies, consider a wide range of possible actions, including the establishment of a new council devoted to this field. Because of the prominence of laser and electro-optic sensors in many applications, LEOS will assume an active role in these discussions and, in addition to Gordon, will involve Alan Willner, Vice-President for Technical Activities, and our technical subcommittees.
Another current initiative that is of great import to the future of LEOS is the Emerging Technologies Committee, chaired by Andrew Weiner of Purdue, which was announced in this Column in the February issue. The Committee is now evaluating technologies that are likely to play a role in the development of our field over the next several years. At the Annual Meeting in December, the Committee will recommend to the Board of Governors steps that should be taken to nurture emerging sub-disciplines.
These events affirm the principle that two characteristics of a prosperous, vibrant technical community are its propensity for giving birth to new areas of research and development and its linkages with other technical groups. As LEOS itself emerged from other IEEE societies and has drawn freely from advances in physics, chemistry, and materials science, so it is certain that lasers and electro-optics will continue to spin off unforeseen applications and, occasionally, an entirely new field of scientific endeavor. LEOS is committed to fostering this process and we welcome your thoughts as to the most promising areas in which we should focus our efforts.
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