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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future
States already is lagging. It was especially emphasized that European Community countries and Germany in particular generally have more up-to-date and superior equipment and seem better supported. Statements like, "The last time I visited Germany, I felt like a poor relation," and "that position [of leadership] has suffered gradual and continual erosion, and we are at a point where many of the laboratories with which I am familiar are desperately short of funds to maintain and modernize their equipment," characterize many of the letter responses. Respondents to the FAMOS survey questionnaire also believe that the U.S. contribution to the total worldwide research and development effort in AMO science has decreased somewhat in the past 5 years (see Appendix D, Figures D.10a,b).
For critical technologies that are strongly impacted by AMO science, the picture is mixed. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) Technology Administration (Emerging Technologies: A Survey of Technical and Economic Opportunities, Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., Spring 1990), Japan leads the United States in optoelectronics, advanced semiconductor devices, advanced materials, and high-density data storage. The United States leads Japan in sensor technology, medical devices and diagnostics, high-performance computing, and flexible computer-integrated manufacturing. The DOC report rates the United States ahead of Europe in all categories except digital imaging technology, a category in which the United States also lags Japan. The failure of U.S. industry to capitalize fully on the science and technology base of the country, which has been discussed widely, appears to extend to AMO science and technology as well.
The strength of the U.S. position in AMO science generally articulated by letter responses and questionnaire responses is demonstrated in an analysis of citations in the field, though the decline of leadership is not necessarily demonstrated. The citation analysis presented in Appendix C suggests that any such decrease is small. Little change is evident in the country of origin of papers citing work in AMO science over the past decade. Also, although the total number of citing papers with contributions from authors from the European Community and Japan is comparable to the number with contributions from U.S.-based authors, some 40% of the citing papers contain U.S. contributions, a figure that testifies to the strength of AMO science in the United States. The impact of the United States in AMO science was further illustrated by analyzing the origins of the most highly cited AMO papers published in 1989. Over 70% of these papers had contributions from U.S. authors. The United States is especially strong in research in rapidly evolving forefront areas. These were identified by analyzing the content of the most highly cited 1989 papers, and the examples chosen were laser cooling, diode laser development, femtosecond laser development, and C60. On average, 56% of subsequent papers in these fields that cite the original 1989 work have contributions from U.S. authors, a number that is significantly higher than the 40% typical of AMO science as a whole. It is also