As an editor, I spend most of my time providing our readers with information. Occasionally it’s interesting to find out what the readers think about things. Like the new products and technology we tell them about, for example.

In every issue of Photonics Tech Briefs (PTB), we select one product from the numerous submissions we receive to be the Product of the Month. The choice is based on a variety of criteria such as innovation, technical merit, practicality, etc. Then, at the end of the year, we invite the readers of PTB to visit the Web site and vote for the products they think should be named PTB’s Annual Readers’ Choice Product of the Year.

Well, the votes are in and once again, our readers have demonstrated their technical savvy by choosing three very interesting winners. In no particular order they are: DILAS’ 1940nm diode laser modules, the IR Revolution 360 panoramic infrared camera from HGH Infrared Systems, and the VK-9700 3D laser scanning confocal microscope from Keyence Corporation.

What made the DILAS entry so interesting to our readers was probably the fact that they were the first commercially available 1940nm diode laser arrays with wall plug efficiencies of greater than 10-percent. Designed for the medical and industrial markets, the conduction-cooled modules can generate output power of 6W, 12W and 18W using a standard 600µm fiber bundle.

With security seeming to be a high priority on everyone’s corporate agendas these days, the IR Revolution 360 panoramic infrared surveillance camera was probably as close to being a sure bet as any entry in this year’s competition. This 3 MP beauty operates in the 8-12 micron wavelength, offers a full 20-degree vertical, 360-degree horizontal field of view, and features automatic detection and tracking. Try sneaking past that!

Rounding out this year’s championship lineup is Keyence Corporation’s impressive VK-9700 color 3D laser scanning confocal microscope. Featuring 18,000x magnification and 0.001µm precision in addition to 3D color imaging, this highly sophisticated instrument will make child’s play out of all sorts of non-contact 3D measurements such as surface profile, roughness, shape, dimensions, and comparative measurement.

So there you have it. Once again the readers have spoken, and I like what they said. A great big thank-you to everyone who voted, and congratulations to the winners.