Final report

Photonics event concludes with a positive outlook for the industry

June 29, 2021
  • Digital conference brought together the industrial and scientific communities
  • More than 1,500 participants learned about market figures and technology trends
  • Photonics industry to expand in 2021

The global market for lasers and laser systems will grow by 6 percent in 2021. This optimistic forecast issued by the highly respected analytical firm Optech Consulting was one of the highlights of the LASER World of PHOTONICS Industry Days that was held as an entirely digital event from June 21–24. A total of 1,525 people learned about market figures and the latest technology trends in the photonics industry and took advantage of the opportunity to network with colleagues. The digital event was closely integrated into the online version of the World of Photonics Congress 2021, which was simultaneously attended by about 2,450 scientists.

The Industry Days shortened the wait for the regular trade fair LASER World of PHOTONICS that will be held in 2022 in Munich once again. The online event began with a keynote address by Dr. Reinhard Genzel, a Nobel laureate in physics. The professor discussed how he was able to prove Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity by observing black holes.

The focus of Day 2 was the market performance of the photonics industry. Dr. Arnold Mayer of Optech Consulting reported that global sales of laser materials processing systems declined only slightly during 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic—to €15 billion. The total still exceeded the level of 2017 and all other years that preceded it. Mayer forecast 6 percent growth for 2021 (in euro-denominated terms).

The German photonics industry has suffered little and even performed well during the coronavirus crisis, Jörg Mayer, the Managing Director of the SPECTARIS trade association noted. After the industry’s revenues declined by 1.1 percent in 2020, he expects to see an increase of 9.4 percent in 2021. The reason for the positive turnaround: Photonics applications are the heart of such growth industries as semiconductor manufacturing and e-mobility.

A number of the talks given during the LASER World of PHOTONICS Industry Days showed how photonics is acting as a driving force behind technological progress. For example, a team led by Professor Jürgen Popp of the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology is developing modular innovation processes to shorten the period of time that passes between the development of an idea and the creation of a finished biophotonic solution.

Under the name “World of Quantum,” the Industry Days offered insights into development work currently being done in quantum technologies in Germany and Europe on June 24. Discussions focused on new subsidy programs included in the economic recovery package and IBM’s roadmap for developing quantum computers over the next three years.

A total of 1,525 people attended the events held as part of the LASER World of PHOTONICS Industry Days. Attendance was free. People taking part in the World of Photonics Congress that was being held simultaneously also stopped by for a virtual visit. The digital version of Europe’s largest photonics conference attracted 2,450 visitors. Messe München’s digital platform gave all of the participants of the Industry Days an opportunity to network and virtually meet scientists attending the congress. The high average attendance of 100 participants per presentation reflects the quality of the program.

“We are really happy that we could provide the entire photonics industry with a place to gather and experience a unique program. During our digital event, we shared information about the major trends and applications in the industry, things that we will bring to life once again in 2022 during our in-person LASER World of PHOTONICS,” said Dr. Reinhard Pfeiffer, the Deputy Chairman of the Board at Messe München.

Dr. Chris Dorman, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Coherent, added: “The Industry Days have impressively underlined the role of photonics as an enabler technology for new economic and technological developments.

Such a digital event was important this year to continue the dialogue between all stakeholders of the industry. Nevertheless, we look forward to presenting our innovations in Munich again next year.”

The talks given during the LASER World of PHOTONICS Industry Days will be available until the 21st of July at:

The next LASER World of PHOTONICS will be held on the exhibition grounds of Messe München from April 26 to 29, 2022.

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