27 Jan 2009
San Jose, January 26, 2009 - The Canadians are gathering at Photonics West 2009 in San Jose, CA to build on what a new industry report says is a shining success. In its survey entitled "Illuminating a World of Opportunity", the Canadian Photonics Consortium states Canada has 370 photonics companies employing some 20,000 people who collectively generate close to $4.5 billion annually, with approximately 85% from exports including 50% to the U.S.
Photonics West is the world's premier photonics and laser technical event, and 41 Canadian companies are exhibiting products there along with representatives from Ottawa-based Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (CPFC). CPFC is a $150 million technology commercialization partnership between the National Research Council Canada (NRC) and the Province of Ontario located at the NRC's Ottawa campus.
"The CPFC gave our company vital access to labs, equipment and expertise that a start-up photonics company could otherwise never afford," said Dr. Simon Fafard, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Cyrium Technologies Inc. Founded in Ottawa in 2002, Cyrium closed a $15 million Series B round of funding that allows the company to continue developing high efficiency solar cells for the concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) industry.
CPFC has played a pivotal role in expanding Canada's optical technology base from telecommunications into promising new sectors including security, healthcare, energy and consumer electronic products. CPFC customers take advantage of a 40,000 sq. ft. industrial grade semiconductor foundry and testing labs to bring new product ideas to life.
"CPFC is an example of Canada investing early in technology infrastructure that is providing huge economic benefits," said Mike Darch, Executive Director, Global Marketing, OCRI, whose organization was instrumental in bringing the centre to Ottawa in 2002. "Companies from as far away as Silicon Valley have established operations in Canada to be close to CPFC's commercialization engine."