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Rayna LewisChanges in France’s economic climate prompted the country to recreate its industrial policy based in the development of competitive clusters. These clusters, founded in December of 2002, were created through an active partnership between manufacturers, research centers and training bodies, which together tackle innovative projects while increasing the economy’s growth potential.

Seventy-one clusters were selected by the government in 2005. The second stage of the policy was launched in 2008, which will benefit from the new impulse in European strategy for world class clusters. One of the priorities is the international strategy – the ability to establish profitable relationships for the companies and labs of the clusters with foreign partners both at the level of research and development projects and at the level of industrial cooperation agreements. This means also to improve mobility of talents and companies between France and foreign countries.

ELOPSYS, OPTITEC, Route des Lasers and Systematic/Opticsvalley are four clusters that attended the French American Meeting for Photonics Innovation meeting in San Francisco in January.

The ELOPSYS cluster’s prime role is to assist companies seeking support for projects, and apply the benefit of their expertise to gain financial backing as required. It stimulates the creation and development of companies. ELOPSYS develop technologies with the 450 researchers of the Laboratory XLIM. It makes reference in New Generation Optical Fibers developed XLIM and PHOTONIS for laser and system vision.

Some projects taken on by ELOPSYS’s subsidiaries include: replacing lasers with low-cost, maintenance-free systems; creating a supercontinuum laser source that has an adjustable repetition rate from 10 Hz to 4 Hz and remaining involved in nosocomial diseases reduction programs.

OPTITEC specializes in complex optics and imagining systems dedicated to space, aeronautics, defense, medical and green photonics application. From 2006 to 2009, 99 projects were awarded by the OPTITEC label, while 40 new partners every year and 100 SMEs are involved in joint projects.

OPTITEC’s subsidiaries are involved with developing the world’s largest terrestrial telescope, developing very high speed mobile optical telecommunication system, projection onto plastic supports for head-up display systems, the use of stars to measure the position and altitude of terrestrial mobile objects better than existing systems.

The Route des Lasers competitive cluster is dedicated to facilitate optics and laser technology development and diffusion, primarily in laser systems and their applications, metrology and imaging and innovating physics, for industrial sectors such as: aeronautics and embedded systems, health, vision, chemistry, food industries and electronics.

The five major fields Route des Lasers and its subsidiaries are involved with are laser processes and micro-machining, laser sources and instrumentation, optical developments and imagery, terahertz applications and medical applications. The latest projects include: developing an industrial machine for surface treatment based on nanosecond fiber lasers integrating a device for real time monitoring of the process, developing a new compact laser source, developing of an optical fiber beam transportation system with a control system, development of a beam shaper, and development of a new generation of femtocells.

Systematic/Opticsvalley brings together the key placers within the optics, electronics and software technology community in the Paris region. Opticsvalley’s goals include supporting and enabling innovation throughout the network, while increasing the visibility of growth markets and the key businesses within them.

For more information on ELOPSYS visit www.elopsys.fr. For more information on OPTITEC visit www.popsud.org. For more information on Route des Lasers visit www.routedeslasers.com. For more information about Opticsvalley visit www.opticsvalley.org.

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