Summary of JTEC Optoelectronics Panel Issues

Technologies to be examined in this study include:

Related research issues to be covered may include:

Questions under consideration for U.S. and Japanese site visits include:

  1. On what segment(s) of the optoelectronic industry does your company focus?
  2. What component/systems products is your company targeting for development and introduction over these time scales: a. 1 - 5 yrs; b. 5-10 yrs; c. >10 yrs
  3. In meeting these application areas, what gaps exist in the current technology base?
  4. What yield-limiting steps and challenges govern the manufacture of your various components and systems?
  5. What are the major challenges you foresee in improving reliability?
  6. For suppliers of optoelectronic equipment and components, what are the impediments to increasing market share and/or volume? What are the obstacles to reducing costs of production?
  7. For customers of optoelectronic equipment and components, what are the barriers to increased use of optoelectronic components in finished products/systems?
  8. What methodologies and infrastructure do view as specific to the optoelectronic device industry for rapid transition of new devices through advanced development and into commercial use?
  9. What level of integration do you envision will ultimately result in useful OEICs, PICs (what devices, how many on a chip, where do we place the OEIC/hybrid circuit "interface")?
  10. What are the roadblocks you perceive for the future of optical storage? Can one overcome these roadblocks with evolutionary progress with present (conventional) optical storage systems?


Part I: Technical

Part II: Economic

Gary R. Saxonhouse
Department of Economics
University of Michigan

  1. How is Optoelectronics defined in Japan? What products (e.g. optoelectronic integrated circuits) are included in that definition? what technologies are included?
  2. What role does the Japanese government play in supporting basic research, applied research and product development in optoelectronics? Are there any special provisions of the Japanese tax code that might benefit optoelectronics more than other industries? Which Japanese ministries and which bureaus within those ministries have responsibility for optoelectronics? Does private sector optoelectronic research and product development receive any direct subsidies from the Japanese government? What grants are made by the Japanese government to Japanese companies for optoelectronic research? What grants are made by the Ministry of Education to Japanese universities for optoelectronic research?
  3. Is there an official report available on the results of research undertaken by Optoelectronics Joint Research Laboratory (Optoelectronics Technology Research Corporation; Optoelectronics portion of the Real World Computing Project)? What selection criteria were used by MITI to decide on who should participate? What were (are) the financial arrangements supporting the Optoelectronics Joint Research Laboratory (Optoelectronics Technology Research Corporation; Optoelectronics portion of the Real World Computing Project)? Did (Do) researchers from different companies work together on the same project within the Laboratory? Do any of the patents resulting from work done at the Laboratory bear the names of researchers from different companies? Are all the patents resulting from work at the Optoelectronics Joint Research Laboratory (Optoelectronics Technology Research Corporation; Optoelectronics portion of the Real World Computing Project) licensed to member firms on the same basis? Do license fees differ between member and non-member firms? How much licensing has actually taken place? Did (Has) the objectives of the Optoelectronics Joint Research Laboratory (Optoelectronics Technology Research Corporation; Optoelectronics portion of the Real World Computing Project) change (changed) over time? Were (are) the contributions of private companies to the Optoelectronics Joint Research Laboratory (Optoelectronics Technology Research Corporation; Optoelectronics portion to the Real World Computing Project) only for work done (being done) at their own company or did (does) it also include support for research physically done (being done) at the Laboratory (Corporation, Project)?
  4. Are any new joint government-business research and development projects contemplated? What government research laboratories are doing work that is useful for the development of optoelectronics? Are researchers from private companies working on loan on these projects? What are the terms under which patents held by government research laboratories are licensed to private companies? Are the terms the same as those offered to foreign companies?
  5. Are there estimates of the total amount of optoelectronics R&D ongoing in Japan? Can this be broken down between private companies, government research laboratories and universities? Are separate estimates available of the personnel involved in research desegregated by private company, university and government research institute? How much Japanese-sponsored R&D is conducted abroad? How much foreign-sponsored R&D is conducted in Japan? How much turnover is there in the R&D personnel working on optoelectronic projects? Is a change in hiring practices expected in the future?
  6. Haw the Ministry of Education initiated curricula ranges designed to increase the supply of scientists and engineers with advanced degrees who are well versed in optoelectronic research issues? What proportion of the Japanese researchers doing work on optoelectronics have advanced degrees? What proportion have been trained abroad? How many scientific papers are published each in Japanese on optoelectronics? How many scientific papers optoelectronics authored by Japanese-based in Japan or Japanese-sponsored researchers working elsewhere, are published in English each year? How often are Japanese optoelectronics papers cited in other scientific papers compared to those of other countries? How often are Japanese optoelectronics patents cited in other patents or patent applications? Will Japanese professors at public universities be allowed in the future to participate in research projects not sponsored by the Ministry of Education?
  7. Is it possible to predict the technological trajectory over the next ten years in any of the major product areas of optoelectronics? If it isn't, how is it possible to make an estimate of the future sales of optoelectronics products?
  8. Is it expected that the major optoelectronics technologies will be characterized by large economies of scale or learning economics in production? Will these large economies of scale prevent a competitive market structure for some optoelectronic products in the future?
  9. Is it expected that most of the future products embodying Japanese optoelectronics technologies will be produced in Japan in the future? Is it expected that future product development embodying Japanese optoelectronics technologies will be done in Japan? What kinds of Japanese corporate alliances built around optoelectronic technologies can be expected? What kinds of optoelectronics joint venture between Japanese companies and foreign companies can be expected? What alliances presently exist? What equity positions do Japanese companies have in foreign optoelectronics firms?
  10. Does the case being made for government support for the optoelectronics industry rely on technological spillovers and strategic linkages? Does concern about foreign government support of optoelectronics play any role? Is it expected that the physical proximity of different optoelectronics firms will stimulate optoelectronics in Japan?
  11. What is the size distribution of companies doing optoelectronics research in Japan? Do Japanese employment practices and the Japanese financial system handicap small optoelectronic firms in Japan?
  12. Is it possible to obtain a copy of the optoelectronics Industry and Technological Development Association Statistical yearbook? Are their forecasts also available?

Published: February 1996; WTEC Hyper-Librarian