METHODOLOGY

JTEC Team

With the advice of the sponsors and JTEC, the panel chairman selected panel members based on their technical expertise in the five fields listed above, with the addition of an economist to help evaluate the economic factors contributing to successful development of optoelectronics technologies. The chairman and six panelists chosen for this JTEC study possess a wide range of backgrounds. Coming from both academia and industry, they reflect the diversity of professional backgrounds currently contributing to the advancement of photonics technology in the United States and abroad:

Stephen R. Forrest (Panel Chairman) , James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director of the Advanced Technology Center for Photonics and Optoelectronic Materials, Princeton University Expertise: Photonic semiconductor and organic materials and devices, optoelectronic integrated circuits

Larry A. Coldren, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Materials, University of California at Santa Barbara Expertise: Photonic semiconductor materials and devices, semiconductor lasers

Sadik C. Esener, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California at San Diego
Expertise: Optical storage and optical interconnects

Donald B. Keck, Director, Optics and Photonics Research, Science and Technology Division, Corning, Inc., Corning, NY
Expertise: Fibers, fiber sensors, and guided wave devices

Frederick J. Leonberger, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Uniphase Telecommunications Products, Inc., Bloomfield, CT
Expertise: Guided wave and optoelectronic devices

Gary R. Saxonhouse, Professor of Economics, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
Expertise: Economy of Japan, economics of technological changes, international trade

Paul W. Shumate, Jr. , Executive Director, Broadband Local Access and Premises Networks, Bell Communications Research, Morristown, NJ
Expertise: Fiber-optic communications and interconnections

The panelists were accompanied on site visits to U.S. and Japanese organizations by the following representatives from the sponsoring organizations and JTEC:

Deborah L. Crawford, National Science Foundation
Gordon W. Day, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Michael J. DeHaemer and Geoffrey M. Holdridge, JTEC
George Gamota, Mitre Corporation; Senior Advisor to JTEC/WTEC
Robert K. Hickernell, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Hiroshi Morishita, HMI, Inc. (assisted with Japan trip advance work)
Cecil Uyehara, Uyehara International Associates (JTEC Senior Advisor for Japan Operations, responsible for arranging Japan site visits)
David Veasey, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Mial Warren, Sandia National Laboratories

Site Visits

The primary means for carrying out this study was to conduct interviews of key personnel during site visits to various companies, universities, and governmental organizations chosen for the study. These interviews, which typically lasted between 2 and 5 hours, were based on a detailed questionnaire sent earlier to the organizations (see Appendix E). The panel did not ask companies to answer every question on the questionnaire, but rather to concentrate on those issues most relevant to their own operations.

Site Visit Objectives

Reflecting the general goals of the study, the objectives of the site visits were to identify the following:

While learning about new technology advances was important, the issues of greatest interest to the JTEC panel were those related to technology diffusion and transfer; investigation of these issues provided the panel's greatest insights into the relative success of photonic technologies being pursued in Japan and the United States. The panel considers that its insights on the subject of technology diffusion and transfer will also have the greatest lasting value to readers, since the specific details of new optoelectronics technologies are transient and subject to rapid changes.

Rationale and Means of Selecting Organizations to Visit

In selecting organizations to visit for this study, panelists and government sponsors submitted names of organizations that have established leadership in some important aspect of photonics technology. A second consideration was that there already exist a personal contact between one of the panelists and an employee at a high level within an organization who could help facilitate the visit. The panel ranked the submitted names of organizations in order of importance; JTEC then contacted the highest-priority companies with letters of introduction from individual panelists to determine if they were interested and willing to host a visit by the panel.

The panel made considerable effort to investigate within individual companies the evolution of ideas from the concept stage through to manufacture. To accomplish this goal, the panel visited a few major photonics companies in Japan (e.g., Fujitsu) on more than one occasion and visited several different facilities of the companies (e.g., research facilities, development facilities, and manufacturing facilities). By this means, the panel could investigate in detail a cross-section of the company and its methods for bringing products to the market. Given the panel's time and budget constraints, this kind of in-depth study was only possible for a few companies in Japan, and unfortunately, for no U.S. company.

Site Visit Procedures

The site visit format varied from site to site. These variations were unavoidable, since the agenda was often set by the visited organization. This was especially true for the Japanese companies, where there was little deviation from their prepared agendas. In general, the site visits had the following format:

  1. Introduction of participants and a brief discussion of the objectives of the visit. Hosts, especially U.S. hosts, often requested a short background presentation on JTEC and the Optoelectronics Panel.
  2. Presentation of the company background, market targets, technical objectives, and issues, generally made by senior attendees from the host organization. This was often a formal presentation, using viewgraphs and other visual aids (including, in several Japanese companies, a public relations videotape introducing the company and its concern for the environment). This presentation gave details such as company size, income, size of the photonics and research work force, and market share, as well as other information generally available in the annual reports of publicly held companies. On rare occasion, this presentation launched directly into "hot" technological advances and ideas being pursued by the corporation. Typically, this presentation lasted 45 to 90 minutes.
  3. Presentation of important technologies being pursued by the companies, often handled by a senior manager in a particular technical area. Issues discussed included problems in manufacture, interfacing with upper management and the customer, and other major obstacles. This part of the visit lasted between 30 and 90 minutes.
  4. Extended question and answer period. The focus of the Q&A session was on issues that appear to be of central importance to the host company that the panelists identified during the formal presentations. The discussion lasted between 30 and 60 minutes.
  5. Laboratory and production line tours. All of the U.S. sites the panel requested to visit were companies engaged in mass production of optoelectronic components or systems. In most cases, the panel's U.S. hosts were able to accommodate our requests to see production facilities. In Japan, the panel requested visits to a mix of R&D and production facilities; about half of the visits in Japan included a plant tour.
  6. Discussion and Departure. This part of the visit often included a return to the conference room for further discussion of questions raised during the previous segments and during the tours. In some of the panel's most fruitful visits, the final discussion sessions were held over a meal provided by the hosts; in these more informal discussions, hosts afforded panelists a deeper appreciation of the companies' activities. Before departing, panelists often requested further documentation and a follow-up written response to the questionnaire.

Site Reports

For each site visited, one attending panelist or other traveling team member had the task of writing a detailed site report. The site reports begin with a "Background" overview of the organization visited, noting its relationship to the photonics industry as a whole, as well as pointing out non-photonics-related efforts within the organization. This section is followed by a "Technology Discussion" that details the panel's findings during the visit, with particular emphasis on the technologies and technological problems being investigated by the host organization, as well as on any structural element of the organization that contributes to the rapid development and manufacture of new technologies. A final "Conclusions" section provides a general summation of the panel's findings for the organization. U.S. site reports are included in Appendix C, and Japanese site reports are included in Appendix D.

Each draft site report was circulated to other members of the site visit team, who drew from their own notes to make additions to or deletions from the draft to ensure accuracy and completeness. JTEC then submitted each draft site report to the host organization for its own editing of the contents to ensure that the report is accurate and does not inadvertently compromise proprietary information.

In all, the JTEC Optoelectronics Panel visited 11 U.S. companies and 18 Japanese companies at 31 Japanese sites. The panel also visited 3 Japanese universities with significant efforts in photonic science and technology, and it visited Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).


Published: February 1996; WTEC Hyper-Librarian