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6 Policy Issues and Recommendations Policy issues considered by the panel included the issue of competitiveness, the matter of education for photonics, and the question of facilities--especially those for growing and characterizing superlattice materials. COMPETITIVENESS This, in the panel's view, is the critical issue. There is no question concern- ing the increasing importance of photonics, but the future role of the United States in this field is not so clear. There is excellent work being done in Ger- many, France, the United Kingdom, and other countries of Europe. There is also evidence of future strong competition from Korea, Taiwan, and the People's Republic of China. However, as in so many high-technology fields, the major competition at present comes from Japan. The issue of competitiveness ~11 consequently be discussed in relation to the Japanese effort. The semiconductor laser was first demonstrated in this country (by four groups, almost simultaneously and the double-heterostructure version--which made the device practical--was also first demonstrated in the United States.2 Yet, the largest number of such lasers are now produced in Japan, from the high-volume, low-cost version used in compact disc players to high-performance, high-cost versions designed for long-distance, fiber-optic communication systems. There are many other examples of photonic concepts originating in this country but developed as products in Japan. The only major counter- example in the photonics field where the United States continues to play a 65
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66 PHO TONICS dominant role is optical fibers. Here there has been an excellent coupling between research and development and manufacturing. In a 1986 Fortune survey of experts in various high-technology fields, Japan was rated well above the United States and Europe in optoelectronics, an evaluation epitomized in the following statement: "Everyone concedes that the Japanese lead the world hands-down in one important new technology originally developed in the U.S."3 Due to the critical nature of Japanese competition in high-technology fields, there have been many studies of the reasons, with recommendations for improvement of the U.S. position. Many of these studies conclude that the differences in competitiveness arise largely from structural differences in the two societies. Certainly, there is more effective central planning concerning technical objectives in Japan than in the United States, as well as a more consistent set of government policies concerning direct government support, taxation, end tariff structures to support these objectives. Japan's lower interest rates and different methods of financing development work also encourage longer-term objectives than is the case in the United States. To the extent that changes in major national policies are desirable, the impetus for such change will have to come from a top level, with consideration of the effects on all elements of society. The remainder of this discussion will consequently focus on issues specific to photonics, with suggestions to industry and recommenda- tions for the federal government that the panel believes could be implemented. Some of the recent studies of the competitiveness issue related to photonics include the 1984 NAE/NRC study, The Competitive Status of the U.S. Electron- ics Industry4; the NSF-sponsored, Japanese Technology Evaluation Program's (JTEC) 1985 report, Opto- and Micro-Electronicss; and the 1986 NRC state-of- the-art review, Advanced Processing of Electronic Materials in the United States and Japan.6 According to the JTEC report: In opto-electronics, in particular, the Japanese have made major, original contributions and, while their adaptive ingenuity can be expected to continue to produce market-oriented products, their original creative contributions to this field are expected to increase steadily in the future. Of particular significance are the collaborative interactions between industrial organizations, and between these organizations and the Japanese government, with the Opto-electronics Joint Research Laboratory as a clear example. The Japanese government, which plays an important role in promoting its industries through such means as protectionist trade policies, does not dictate selection and development of specific technological options. Industrial organizations in Japan have made long-term commitments to these technologies, and they are not deterred from Pursuing them even if the payoff is not immediate or is not generic in char- acter. ~
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POLICY ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS The NRC Electronic Materials report states: At present, the Japanese are ahead of the United States in the development and application of advanced processing technologies. At least ten of the major semiconduc- tor companies in Japan have vigorous programs targeted for projects with an exited payoff 7 to 10 years later. There are only a few, perhaps two, U.S firms similarly involved. Japan seems to have evolved a successful approach for identifying and im- plementing critical technologies within the commercial environment. 67 The latter report cites these key ingredients in the Japanese success story: commitment--the willingness to start developments that are expected to take 10 or more years to bring to the marketplace; coupling--effective coupling between exploratory research and development and device fabrication; commerce--the 10 or more semiconductor companies with large research and development efforts; and creativity. It should be noted that the Japanese have built much of the base for their success on consumer products. Thus the de- velopment of marketable consumer products should be a major goal for U.S. industry. A proposed national photonics demonstration project that supports this goal is described later in this chapter. Recommendations The following are suggestions to industry offered by the panel: It is essential to increase our industrial competitiveness in product development and manufacturing and in marketing skills. This industrial effort requires university and national laboratory support. One or more centers should be established to emphasize the manufacturing problems of photonic devices and systems. This effort should be a joint industry/university/national laboratory effort--the industries being those with experience in manufacturing photonic products and the universities and national laboratories being those with a broad range of experience with specialized photonic techniques. Photonics is vital to information storage and transmission, and deterioration of our national position cannot be allowed to continue. ~ There must be continuing support for, and industrial effort in, long- range research and innovation, a source of this country strength. ~ The photonics industry should consider the advantages of an industry association that could help organize consortia to conduct cooperative research and address technical problems and policy issues beyond the scope of any one organization.
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68 PHO TONICS The following are recommendations to the federal government offered by the panel: · Government should play a more active role in assessing technological opportunities and catalyzing development of technology in industry. Careful consideration should be given to creation of a national photonics project with widespread industrial and university participation. The project should be one that no single company would do by itself but that could have potential advan- tages for several. It would have limited life. Persons from universities and sev- eral industries would seek leaves-of-absence from their permanent affiliations. The temporary affiliation would be similar to that of the national laboratories organized for specific tasks during World War II and would have as its goal a major photonics project. The purpose would be to build a demonstration system aimed at promoting information transfer that has a mix of near-term enabling technologies (e.g., field-testing advanced, low-loss, f~ber-optic connec- tors) and demonstrating advanced devices such as OEICs in an experimental photonic-oriented architecture. The project should be defined and carried out by an industry/government team, with specific tasks assigned to the university community. It would be best if the project had both commercial and military payback and leverage. Examples of possible projects are given at the end of this chapter. ~ The panel is recommending stable, basic research funding with an increased emphasis at the interface of research and development. Materials research should be an integral part of this supported effort Government contractors who receive a percentage of sales for their in- dependent research should devote a sizable fraction to projects with a life span of 5 to 10 years. Longer-term research needs to be encouraged, and in view of the difficulty in proceeding from research to products, some funds might even be set aside for pilot plants to test the ease of manufacturing new products. ~ Regulation and antitrust and tax policies must be considered carefully as they relate to industrial investment in the transfer of technology from research, in the development of manufacturing technologies for low-cost/high- volume production, and in providing new services. Policies designed for mature and stable industries often impede progress when there are rapid technological changes, high-technology investment costs, and an international suite of competitors. The government should provide the necessary legal changes to promote broadband information technology into our communication infra- structure.
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POLICYISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS ED UCATIO N IN PH OTO NICS 69 Since 1985, the Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers has conducted surveys of optics-related programs in U.S. universities.) The 1985 Optics in Education summary listed 30 schools with such programs; 50 were listed in 1986 and 62 in 1987. The Optical Society of America, the Lasers and Electro-optics Society of the IEEE, and SPIE all do a good job of publicizing the field and of hosting tutorial sessions along with their technical meetings. There are many new texts--both on basic and specialized subjects--as the text- book exhibits at the recent Conference on Lasers and Electro-optics demon- strated. Thus the growth in educational opportunities in photonics is encourag- ing. Nevertheless it must tee recognized that the promise of this field will not be reached without a continuing supply of high-quality people who are well edu- cated in the fundamentals of this subject. Although there need not be a common curriculum for photonics, exchange of innovative ideas in a new field such as this can be especially helpful. Excellent tutorial articles on photonics are appearing in Optics News, IEEE Transactions on Education, and various trade journals, but a more concerted effort could be made for regular tutorials and exchange of information on photonics educational programs. This might be done in a regular section of one of the above journals or as a separate publication in the spirit of the American Joumal of Physics. The latter might be the product of a joint en- deavor similar to that responsible for the Joumal of Lightwave Technology. Exchange of information on modern optics laboratories is especially important in view of the great amount of faculty time needed to develop a good laboratory. It is well-known that there are widespread equipment deficiencies in the universities of this country for teaching and research in all fields. The National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Defense (DOD), and other govern- ment agencies have initiated programs to help with this problem, but it is not yet solved. Since photonics is such a new field and because of the rapid growth in programs as described above, the equipment deficiency for photonic teaching laboratories is especially acute. It is recommended that the several government agencies concerned with this field, together with industry representatives, mount a joint program extending over several years and designed to alleviate this short- age. Awards should be competitive, based on critical reviews of proposals. SPECIALIZED EQUIPMENT FOR PHOTONICS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT The problem of inadequate equipment for photonic teaching laboratories has been addressed above. The cost of obtaining and maintaining the fabrica- tion and diagnostic equipment for modern photonics research and development
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70 PHO TONICS organizations represents an even greater problem. Excellent microfabrication facilities for semiconductor optoelectronics devices are available in a number of universities but are extremely expensive to operate and maintain. The increasing need for access to MBE, MOCVD, or other units for fabrication of quantum well and other superlattice devices adds greatly to the cost. MBE units are priced at a minimum of $750,000 (although educational discounts may be available) and require budgets of at least $100,000 per year to operate. MOCVD is in some ways simpler to operate but presents a serious safety problem that may require special protective facilities. During the past fiscal year the NSF had many more requests than could be funded for MBE and MOCVD units. Even if funds were available for purchase of these, the budgets for continuing operation would present a serious Problem. To add to these worries, newer techniques such as gas-source MBE ~ may make some of these units obsolete. This problem exists not only for universities but also for the smaller industrial laboratories. It seems clear that not every research laboratory that should have access to one of these specialized growth units can afford its own facilities. The Na- tional Nanofabrication Facility at Cornell University--available to researchers throughout the country--represents one approach to the problem. Another bright spot is the increasing use of industrial facilities and those of national laboratories by university researchers through joint research programs, university/industry centers, or merely by informal arrangement. Recommendation · The panel recommends shared use of existing MBE, MOCVD, and other specialized microfabrication equipment. This should be encouraged by a variety of incentives, e.g., tax credits and supplemental grants. When requests for new units do appear to be justified, it should be determined that the institution is realistic regarding the source of funds for proper operation of the equipment. Additional postdoctoral positions in the national laboratories should be established. SUGGESTIONS FOR A NATIONAL PHOTONICS PROJECT A specific photonics project would tee very beneficial for accelerating efforts to develop the enabling technologies described in this report. It would provide a focus for developing and evaluating technology, and it would serve as a show- piece of the technology developed. Many possible projects could be selected to advance the enabling technologies. Although choosing a particular project or setting specific goals or resource requirements is better done by the photonics
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POLICYISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS 71 project organizers, the panel has suggested two sample projects below (one for the automotive industry and one for the information-processing industry) and has outlined the attributes that the project should encompass. Also mentioned are some important technology activities with suggested ways of implementing the project. In general, the project should address a potentially large market and should focus at least partly on inexpensive manufacture of photonic components. These components and resulting systems should be suitable for industrial environments, thereby giving them potential widespread use. It would be highly desirable to include multiple photonic applications such as sensing, information processing, and telecommunications in such a project. The project could be located at one research center or distributed among several locations. One possible project focuses on the automotive industry, with the major goal being a safer, high-performance automotive prototype. First, vehicles could be instrumented with photonic technology to demonstrate not only functionality and reliability but also ability to perform new functions. Examples of instrumentation include sensors and networks (e.g., engine sensors in pre- viously inaccessible areas, fiber-optic gyroscopes, antiskid braking sensors, op- tical data systems, and display systems). In this activity, attention should be given to fundamental issues of environmental ruggedness and reliability. Such characteristics are needed for most applications beyond telecommunications and information processing in controlled environments and present a different set of criteria by which to evaluate a particular technology. In automotive applications photonic devices such as lasers and fiber connectors can be required to have a 99.98 percent reliability over a-40 to 125° C range with a 7-year (60,000-hour) lifetime. In addition, photonic technology could be brought to the automotive factory in the form of sensors and control systems, robotic tactile and vision systems, and data-processing systems. For each case, emphasis would be on pushing technology well beyond todays capability. An alternate project is to build an advanced supercomputer prototype. This project could focus on architectures, in particular multiprocessors, optical link technology such as board-to-board and chip-to-chip connections, and com- ponent technology such as optoelectronic integrated circuits. In the latter two areas, research activity could focus not only on new technological concepts but also on questions of ease of manufacture. Much emphasis should be placed on materials and basic process development. Further issues involving packaging include automated optical alignment and environmental stability. Both of these sample projects emphasize demonstrating approaches that can lead to manufacturable and reliable systems. Such considerations ~11 be the basis of a critical assessment of programs for the project. For example, any effort involving new architectures should use components and link technology viewed as available in some predetermined time frame. In addition, the project should be structured to emphasize technology rather than system architecture
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72 PHO TONICS or system development. The demonstrations should not be related closely enough to any particular application to be perceived as product development. Thus the example systems mentioned above would be more a generic control system and an information-processing demonstration. A national photonics project must be organized to obtain maximum cooper- ation among universities, industry, and government. Industry can perhaps best set the goals and define needs. The project should emphasize new concepts and devices (e.g., laser diodes that operate effectively at high temperature) but should also include some network/architecture work. If too much emphasis is placed on demonstrating ease of manufacture, industry may tee reluctant to par- ticipate due to patent conflicts. There are numerous methods of avoiding such issues--for example, by conducting a basic research program (generally at universities) in parallel with technology demonstrations (at industrial labs) or by having a large part of the program carried out at a national laboratory. A national laboratory may be a particularly attractive choice because of its key generic attributes. These could include a stable staff and facility, an existing program involving and related to photonics that does not involve commercial products, and a charter that is not purely military, so that industrial involvement and guidance could tee facilitated. The project should be coordinated with other major government-sponsored (e.g., the NSF, U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Office of Naval Research, Army Research Office) specific photonic thrusts to provide the desired unique thrust towards manufacturable enabling photonic technologies. Finally, it is important to have good communication and high levels of commitment among the scientists and engineers involved in the project. These can be fostered by meeting frequently or by having the major- ity of the technical participants contiguously located (i.e., within easy driving distance) if the project is not confined to a single laboratory site. A national photonics project having the attributes described above would enhance the U.S. competitive position. In addition to demonstrating specific technology, it would serve the essential function of providing more technological experience for this country present and student photonic scientists and en- g~neers. REFERENCES 1. IEEE. 1987. Special Issue on Semiconductor Lasers. Journal of Quantum Electronics Historical Section QE-23:651-695. 2. Casey, Jr., H. C., and Panish, M. B. 1978. Heterostructure Lasers, Part A: FundamentalPrinciples. New York: Academic Press. 3. 1986. The high-tech race--who's ahead. Fortune 114~0ctober 13~:29- 37.
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POLICYISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS 73 4. National Academy of Engineering/National Research Council. 1984. The Competitive Status of the U.S. Electronics Industry. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Japanese Technology Evaluation Program. 1985. Opto- and Micro- Electronics. JTEC Report, PB85-242402. National Research Council. 1986. Advanced Processing of Electronic Materials in the United States and Japan. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 7. Report of the President's Commission. 1985. Industrial Competitiveness --The New Reality. 0-481-213. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. Defense Science Board. 1987. Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Semiconductor Dependency. Washington, D.C.: Department of Defense. 9. Sumney, L. W., and R. M. Burger. 1987. Revitalizing the U.S. semi- conductor industry. Issues in Science and Technology 3~4~:32-41. 10. SPIE. 1985 and 1986. Opticsin Education. 11. Narayanamurti, V. 1987. Artificially structured thin film materials and interface. Science235(February27~:1023-1028.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: