I would like to thank you for your continued readership of the Society’s Newsletter, and its April issue for 2022. Now a quarter into the year, the Society is busy implementing goals and the planning for many of our conferences are underway, which are set to take place in-person for the first time in two-years.

Let me start with brief thoughts on the 2022 Optical Fiber Communication (OFC) Conference that was held from March 5 to 9 in San Diego, CA. The conference was hybrid, offering in-person and remote participation, and hosted 8,000 participants and 430 exhibiting companies. I personally attended and it was clear from the discussions at coffee breaks and on the exhibit floor that in-person attendance made the conference so much more enjoyable – and I would add especially for students and young professionals. The co-sponsors, the IEEE Photonics Society, IEEE Communications Society and Optica, had many events at OFC’22 that encouraged collaboration, such as: Market Watch Theaters, Summits, Multivendor Interoperability Showcases, and the debut of a Demo Zone, live demonstrations of research projects and proof-of-concept implementations available to interact with.

The ‘One IEEE’ Booth conducted IEEE Thought Leader Interviews and supported the OFC Career-Zone, sponsored by Cisco, where employers and job seekers could connect in-person during the conference. The co-sponsored Suzanne R. Nagel Lounge was also very active, offering complimentary headshots and fire-side chats on the topics: the job search, imposter syndrome, the value of volunteering, etc. Named in honor of the first woman chair of OFC, this lounge served as a networking space that offered attendees the opportunity to meet colleagues and explore new business opportunities in an inclusive environment.

I wanted to highlight in this issue of the Newsletter the recent progress made by the Society in creating and connecting geographical communities through the Globalization Committee, which reports through the Society’s Membership Council structure (see president column of February). Advances in technology and science rely increasingly on progress accomplished in various geographical regions of the world or from international collaborations. Over the last decade, the Society has paid special attention to refresh its structure to help fulfill all aspects of the members’ needs, concentrating mostly on the breadth of services to provide to members. It rapidly became apparent that this approach was insufficient to provide the best experience to members and fulfill the variety of needs and aspirations from the different regions of world. As a result, in the last five years, the Society started to focus on developing regional identities and promote local services specific to geographical regions and at the grassroot level.

The Globalization Committee, headed by Paul Crump from FBH Berlin, Germany, has made tremendous progress towards this objective. The Society now has several global strategy areas of focus, including Latin America, Middle East, Africa, India, China – to name a few. Since the beginning of the year, Global Strategy Representatives around the world have launched their own online Community Network Sites with the support from the Society’s staff. These sites are managed locally, and the content reflects the activities and interests of each region. Projects and newsworthy items that come from these regions will be curated to this newsletter to promote academic exchange more broadly. The Committee seeks to: conduct global needs assessments to better serve the needs of local photonics communities; identify geographical areas where photonic trends and membership interests are emerging; support the growth of National Consortia Partnerships; start projects, like a Regional Thesis “World Series”; become more involved in local workshops and conferences, like IEEE AFRICON; etc.

A project that the Globalization Committee generated, from such needs assessments and local feedback, was an IEEE Photonics ‘Journal Club’, which connects students and early career professionals with researchers and authors of prominent published papers. Participants collectively read chosen scientific papers from an IEEE Journal and are invited to attend a session with author presentations, open discussion, and mentorship. The first sessions, steered by volunteer leaders Haoshuo Chen, Yikai Su and Gabriella Bosco with 150+ registrants, were supported by the IEEE/Optica Journal of Lightwave Technology (JLT) and the Globalization Committee’s China Mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong sections. Additional sessions have been proposed from other regions of the world in 2022 with support to come from journals, like IEEE Photonics Technology Letters.

Another growing area of the Society is the IEEE Photonics Standards Committee, which reports through the Society’s Professional and Technical Development Council structure. Formed in 2017, the Standards Committee, an arm of the IEEE Standards Association, is chaired by John Kulick. It has seen recent success with the approval of a new standard, “P2066 – Guide for Safety Specification of Laser Transmission in High-Power Industrial Laser System”. New PARs for further standard development have also been approved through the following Working Groups: P2999—Ultrashort Pulse Lasers; P3101—Fiber Optic Sensors; P3111— PHO/SC/LDRRFM; and P3112—Photonics EPDA Standards. The Committee is also pursuing a White Paper on “Fiber Attached Technology”, from its Working Group of the same name.

Beyond PARs approvals, this year the Standards Committee is interested in conducting an education series in collaboration with Society Chapters and Councils/Committees, such as Globalization, Industry Engagement and Conferences. More can be done to educate members on why technical standards are essential to the safety, reliability, advancement, and environmental care of the world we live in, from communications and media, to healthcare, energy and more.

As for meetings, the IEEE Summer Topicals Meeting Series (ieee-sum.org) is one of the Society’s main upcoming conferences. It will be held from the 11 to 13 of July in Cabo San Lucas, in Mexico, and is hosted by the General Chair, Cristian Antonelli from Padova University. The topical tracks of the conference allow attendees from different areas of photonics to connect and learn about rapidly growing areas of technology or “Hot Topics” related to the general field of Photonics. This year the topics are: PSF –Portable Ultra Stable Frequency Sources and Applications; ROP –Reconfigurable Optics and Photonics; SDM – Space Division Multiplexing; SIMP – Silicon-Integrated Mid-Infrared Photonics; SQL – Semiconductor Quantum Light Sources and Their Applications; TI – Terahertz Imaging: Progress, Challenges, and Applications; and UWB – Ultra-wideband Optical Fibre Communication Systems.

Let’s not forget of course the upcoming annual conference of the Society, the IEEE Photonics Conference (IPC), held in Vancouver, Canada from 13-17 November. It is chaired by Weidong Zhou, from the University of Texas at Arlington, Dominique Dagenais, from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Di Liang, and Gabriella Bosco, from the Politecnico di Torino, Italy. Paper submissions open this month. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to submit your research!

I wish us all continued progress in reducing the impact of the pandemic on our lives and supporting more innovative ways to connect inclusively around the world.

René-Jean Essiambre
President, (2022–2023)
IEEE Photonics Society