Chapter 7: Advanced Manufacturing

Chapter 7 addresses the field of advanced manufacturing and the way in which it relates to optics and photonics. Advanced manufacturing is critical for the economic well-being of the United States. While there are issues concerning the ability of the United States to compete successfully in high-volume, low-cost manufacturing, it is likely that the United States can continue to be a strong competitor in lower-volume, high-end manufacturing. Additive manufacturing has the potential to allow the production of parts near the end user no matter where the design is done. Thus, if the end user is in the United States, it is there that the printing or manufacturing would occur. Optical approaches, such as laser sintering, are very important approaches to three-dimensional printing.

Key Recommendation: The United States should aggressively develop additive manufacturing technology and implementation.

Current developments in the area of lower-volume, high-end manufacturing include, for example, three-dimensional printing, also called additive manufacturing. With continued improvements in the tolerance and surface finish, additive manufacturing has the potential for substantial growth. The technology also has the potential to allow three-dimensional printing near the end user no matter where the design is done.

Key Recommendation: The U.S. government, in concert with industry and academia, should develop soft x-ray light sources and imaging for lithography and three-dimensional manufacturing.

Advances in table-top sources for soft x rays will have a profound impact on lithography and optically based manufacturing. Therefore, investment in these fields should increase to capture intellectual property and maintain a leadership role for these applications.

Chapter 8: Advanced Photonic Measurements and Applications

Chapter 8 discusses sensing, imaging, and metrology in relation to optics and photonics. Sensing, imaging, and metrology have made significant progress since the publication of the NRC’s Harnessing Light in 1998.4 Notable developments include having at least one Nobel Prize awarded for developing dramatic increases in


4 National Research Council. 1998. Harnessing Light: Optical Science and Engineering for the 21st Century. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement