LEOS Is Now the IEEE Photonics Society

New name reflects society's main field of interest

6 April 2009

The IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society has a new name: the IEEE Photonics Society. The IEEE Board of Directors approved the change in February.

The society was founded in 1977 to focus on the rapidly developing field of lasers, electro-optics, and quantum electronics. The new name better reflects the society’s main fields of interest, according to 2009 Photonics Society President John H. Marsh.

The term “photonics” has been widely used for years to describe the field of research and applications relating to the generation, control, and detection of light. “The use of the word ‘photonics’ was confirmed by our society in the 1980s when we used it in the title of our archival journal Photonics Technology Letters,” says Rich Linke, the society’s executive director.

STRONG SUPPORT Society members asked in a survey last year whether they approved of the name change, gave the switch overwhelming support. Of 2634 people who responded, 82 percent said the word “photonics” represents their field of work well, and 74 percent agreed that the new name would better represent the society’s activities.

Marsh adds that the Photonics name will be more recognizable than “LEOS,” the acronym commonly used to refer to the society. “The societies that are well-recognized usually have one-word names: Computer, Communications, Reliability, Education,” Marsh wrote in the February President’s Column in his society’s newsletter. “Adopting this name gives us the opportunity to be more widely recognized and more effective in outreach” programs.

NEW JOURNALS The society is launching two publications this year: the IEEE Photonics Journal and the IEEE/OSA Journal of Optical Communications and Networking (JOCN), a joint publication with the Optical Society of America and the IEEE Communications Society.

The Photonics Journal, IEEE’s first online-only journal that covers emerging technologies and applications in photonics, began accepting submissions on 1 March. The monthly online JOCN coming out in June will cover advances in theoretical and practical aspects of state-of-the-art optical communications networks. A print edition is scheduled to be published in June and quarterly thereafter.

“JOCN is complementary to our Journal of Lightwave Technology, which is oriented toward device and hardware implementation,” Marsh says.

Another first for the society is its cosponsorship of the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, to be held from 7 to 12 June in Philadelphia. Topics include excitonic solar cells made from organic materials, thin-film cells, and organic compounds that can serve as electrodes. The annual conference had been sponsored solely by the IEEE Electron Devices Society.

The society sponsors many conferences in the photonics field, including the Optical Fiber Communications Conference and the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics. It is working on a partnership with other societies to cosponsor the Asia Communications and Photonics Conference and Exhibition, a major event taking place from 2 to 9 November in Shanghai.

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