Biomedical optics is a relatively new field that is experiencing remarkable growth worldwide. Non-invasive measurements can be performed optically, a fact that paves the way for completely new and improved diagnostic methods, which may replace the use of ionizing radiation at national as well as international hospitals. In 1999 a new Danish initiative in biomedical optics, the BIOP center, was formed. In the BIOP center engineers, physicists, chemists, and physicians collaborate on the development of new biomedical applications based on the most recent progress in lasers and optical measurement techniques. Two research institutions, two hospitals, and four commercial companies participate in the collaboration.
The materials processing technology with lasers is well established in Denmark. Laser cutting, drilling, and welding are used at several Danish companies. Photolithography plays an essential role in integrated circuit processing and in the production of holographic optical elements. Finally, the printing industry, including manufacturers of commercial printing equipment with lasers, has a strong position in Denmark.
Hence, the Danish optics community encompasses such diverse areas as basic research, applied research and development, manufacturing and sales. To maintain our high research level and to continously increase the volume of Danish high-tech companies, increased interdisciplinary collaboration is necesary. Moreover, this will further increase areas and applications in which optics is used, and attract more students to the field of optics.