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Optical Design & Engineering

David Krohn: Taking photonics to market -- advice for entrepreneurs

Good technology needs to translate into meaningful products that can fulfill customer needs while remaining cost-effective.

28 March 2013, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201303.05

David Krohn is the author of Commercialization Basics for the Photonics Industry (SPIE Press). He has over 40 years of experience in the photonics industry. He is the Managing Partner of Light Wave Venture LLC, which is focused on developing photonic business opportunities over a broad range of markets. He has assisted over 116 companies with activities in marketing, planning, funding and management functions as well as technical input.

David Krohn and book imageFrom a photonics standpoint, the book looks broadly at technology commercialization using photonic-specific examples. In general, the basic commercialization elements for technology also apply to photonics technology. The book aims to help entrepreneurs focus product development activities in a manner that greatly increases the probability of business successes.

In prior experience, Krohn served as Global New Business Director for Photonics at 3M Company. From 1987 to 1998, he was the General Manager of the 3M Specialty Optical Fiber Business that included the Bragg Grating Technologies business acquired from UTC in 1995. He founded EOTec Corporation in 1979 that manufactured specialty fiber, sensors, cables, cable assemblies and data links. He was the CEO of EOTec until the business was acquired by 3M in 1987.

An SPIE member, he is also very active in many technical societies and teaches short courses in technology and business development. He started the Photonic (Fiber Optic) Sensor Consortium, which has more than 60 participating companies and organizations.

As the photonics marketplace has radically changed in the last few years, he has worked with several companies to diversify into non-telecommunication markets such as military, homeland security, biomedical and green energy areas such as alternative energy sources and solid state lighting.

Krohn attended Rutgers University as an undergraduate (B.S. 1965). He obtained his M.S. from Case Western Reserve University in 1967 and his Ph.D. from Lehigh University in 1973. All his degrees are in materials science. He has written four books, more than 60 papers and holds 27 patents relating to photonics.

Read more about his new book on commercializing photonics technologies and excerpts from it in SPIE Professional magazine.