Minister Treacy announces major conference in Photonics for Galway in September

Tuesday, 9 April 2002

Release date: 9 April, 2002

Minister Treacy announces major conference in Photonics for Galway in September

SPIE, a worldwide organisation of engineers and scientists working in the field of Optical Engineering and Photonics, will hold their first regional conference outside of North America in Galway, on 5-6 September, 2002. Announcing this major conference on Opto-electronics, Photonics, and Optical Imaging in NUI, Galway, Mr. Noel Treacy T.D., Minister for Science, Technology and Commerce, welcomed the goal that had been set down for the meeting by the organisers –  to promote photonics-based industries in Ireland and Europe, and to showcase the world-class companies, universities, and research programmes within Ireland.

Minister Treacy indicated that "this goal matches very well with the strategies of our Department for the promotion of Photonics in Ireland".

The conference – called OPTO-Ireland - will be hosted by the National Centre for Laser Applications (NCLA) in NUI, Galway and its director, Professor Tom Glynn, is the conference chairman. The annual conference of the Irish Machine Vision and Image Processing (IMVIP) group will also form part of the International conference and will be chaired by Dr. Andy Shearer of the Information Technology Department in NUI, Galway. Papers are invited under 10 separate themes and the conference will have three parallel sessions for two days. The conference is expected to attract about 400 participants and about 75 exhibits. Courses aimed at both academics and industrial personnel will run in parallel with both the conference and exhibition.

Minister Treacy pointed out that "national funding and support agencies are currently targeting photonics for further support and development as a national strategy. It is certain that the communications networks of the future will use all-optical signalling to replace the mixed optical-electronic systems now in place. Multinational telecoms companies in Ireland are now being joined in this area by several Irish start-up companies – the fruits of long-term investment in university research."

Laser technology is also being widely used in other fields and is now an important part of equipment testing, chip manufacturing, automation, and quality control. Nowhere said Minister Treacy " is this more evident than in the medical device industry in Ireland and particularly in the West, where in a remarkably short time span lasers have moved centre stage in the manufacturing process and are now widely used for cutting, welding, marking, and in various metrology applications ". Many of these developments have been facilitated through joint research and development projects with the NCLA, and with support from Enterprise Ireland.

Concluding, Minister Treacy congratulated the organisers of OPTO-Ireland, emphasising that "this international conference represents a significant opportunity for the researchers and companies using lasers and optical instrumentation in Ireland and these, along with the growing number of start-up companies, will oversee the next phase of expansion of photonics technologies in Ireland".

Ends

Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. (091) 759418 ncla@nuigalway.ie www.wpie.org/conferences/calls/02/ire/

www.physics.nuigalway.ie/ncla/

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