01 / 09 / 2015

Excerpts from the speech of Ivan Kovsh, the Laser Association President, at the round table "Photonics is the driving force of innovative development of industry" at the international exhibition "INNOPROM-2015" (Ekaterinburg, Russia, July 8-11, 2015)

National Photonics

President of the Laser Association Head of Secretariat at the Photonics Platform, Ivan Kovsh

Rash expansion of spheres of laser equipment mass use, development of this equipment and its demand determined production increase, as well as growing realization of importance that a laser beam plays in technical infrastructure of modern society resulted in formation of a new science-intensive branch - photonics. It evolves at a fast pace, and has become one of the priority branches in all developed countries.

Fig. 1 contains key data on the world market of photonics.

1. Production equipment
2. Measurements and automated machine vision
3. Optical components and systems

4. Safety and defense equipment
5. Medical and bio-scientific equipment
6. Communication equipment

7. IT equipment
8. Displays
9. Light sources
10. Photovoltaics

Fig. 1 World dynamics of production outputs and structure of photonic products (ETP data Photonics21)

Fig. 2 illustrates today state of photonics as a branch as compared to other key high-tech branches (key - key enabling technologies a definition used by the European Commission in relation to 6 most important technological branches in the opinion of EC experts.

Fig. 2 Volumes of expected world manufacture of products corresponding to key technological branches in 2015
(data of the European Consortium of Photonic Industry)

In 2014 national laser-optical branch manufactured photonic products for a sum of 60-70 bln rubles (LAS estimates). Fig. 3 illustrates structure and geography of the branch.

Profile organizations/ CountryTotalState academies of sciences Higher educational institutions and HEI research and development establishments and centersBranch research and development establishments, construction departments, scientific production organizations Productions organizations, plantsMedical institutions (incl. medical universities)Small enterprisesOthers

Fig. 3 Photonics in CIS. As of August 2015, LAS database contained about one thousand legal entities.

This database includes the following organizations working in a sphere of photonics: 1) holding scientific researches on a profile topic and publishing scientific results, or 2) manufacturing corresponding equipment and its most important component parts, or 3) training personnel for manufacturers and users of laser-optical devices, or 4) developing new photonic technologies, or 5) offering services in a sphere of assembling and maintenance of profile equipment. We emphasize that our database does of photonic product manufacturers does not include organizations using standard photonic equipment, such as laser beam machines or laser medical apparatuses, as well as dealers of manufacturing companies.

Accounting of activity in the branch is performed for data of the last 3 years. We take into account participation in profile exhibitions, advertising of equipment and technologies being offered, maintenance services, publishing in scientific magazines, insertions about admission of students (listeners) for corresponding specialities etc. If for a period of 3 years no information about such activity is obtained, an organization is excluded from LAS database.

It is difficult to determine a full number of people working in the branch, because peoples answers to questions about a number of specialists employed are very different. Some heads take into account only specialist having profile education, some heads - the whole staff, including watchmen, and many of them do not answer to such questions at all. Quite an approximate estimate is as follows: a complete number of people employed in our branch in CIS countries is 50-80 thous. people.

Most native enterprises and organizations of the branch are located in Russia, which to a significant extent define the whole statistics of SIC laser-optical community.

Organizations of state academies of sciences 10%11%
Higher educational institutions and HEI research and development establishments and centers 18%16%
Branch research and development establishments, construction departments, scientific production organizations 11%14%
Plants, production organizations, research and production enterprises 7%6%
Small enterprises 38%37%
Medical institutions (including medical universities) 15%15%
Others 1%1%

Branch enterprises and organizations are located in 59 regions of Russia.

Fig. 4 illustrates manufacture of the most mass photonic product in Russia - laser equipment.

Number of production organizations
Sources of radiationTechnological installationsMeasurement and diagnostics equipmentMedical apparatusesLaser optics

165 Russian organizations manufacturing end products offered to the market the following goods in 2014:

  • about 1,000 models of laser radiation sources
  • about 230 models of laser technological equipment
  • about 180 models of measurement and diagnostics machinery
  • about 280 models of laser medical equipment
  • about 60 models of controlling devices for laser radiation characteristics

Update rates of this product nomenclature are up to 20-30% per year (depending on a type of the equipment).

Photonics as a branch has no formal organizational structure and departmental subordination in any CIS country. On the one hand, it is logical, since photonic technologies are in demand in all sectors of economics, and all industrial branches have their own developers of these technologies and equipment for their implementation; whereby, most of such developers are non-state small enterprises. They do not have and cannot have uniform subordination. On the other hand, it, undoubtedly, complicates coordination of R&D works, accounting of products being manufactured, organization of informational exchange etc. The most prominent active branch associations in the native laser-optical community of today are JSC Shvabe, Laser Association, technological platform Photonics and Scientific and Technical Association Optics and Lasers in the Republic of Belorussia. Under the aegis of the Eurasian Commission the Eurasian technological platform Photonics is being formed.

Native photonics as a branch supplying internal market with laser-optical and optoelectronic equipment has been considerably evolving during the last years. Certainly, each thematic sector develops at its own pace, but in general increase in production volumes and, accordingly, in sales is obvious: Moscow exhibition Photonics proves it, since it brings commercial success to majority of its participants. Other indicators of development of the branch and demand for its products are as follows: attention paid to it by government agencies (a presidential decree was published in Belorussia on support of laser-optical enterprises, Russian government approved the branch road map); some leading foreign companies organized manufacture of profile products at native sites; China, strictly and purposefully creating its own laser-optical industry, aims for scientific and technical cooperation with us in the sphere of photonics. Establishment in Russia of Optical Holding (JSC Shvabe), technological platform Photonics, permanent growth of a number of projects being offered by participants of technological platform in the Federal Targeted Program Researches and Developments, and resolution of the Eurasian Commission to create technological platform Photonics for the Eurasian Union are also indicative of the branch progress, and recognition of its importance for native economics.

At present at logical step will be to adopt national programs for photonics development and wide practical assimilation of its technologies in CIS countries. The Laser Association and European technological platform Photonics would be very efficient in coordination of such programs and their implementation.


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