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International Optics Expert To Visit New Zealand

14 June 2002

International Optics Expert To Visit New Zealand

The New Zealand Optics Industry Cluster is to learn how to grow its capability and benefit from the expanding optics opportunities worldwide, thanks to an Industry New Zealand supported business mission.

The mission, co-funded by the new World Class New Zealanders programme, the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (REDA) and New Zealand optics organisations, is bringing international optics expert Dr Robert Breault out to New Zealand for one week.

Dr Breault will be visiting a range of individuals, companies and organisations active in the optics industry in New Zealand. These include companies, universities and research organisations involved in the design and manufacture or research of optical components and products.

Dr Breault, head of the Breault Research Organisation (BRO), co-chair of the Arizona Optics Industry Association (AOIA) and chair of the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), has been instrumental in setting up 14 overseas optics clusters.

Last August REDA established the New Zealand optics cluster with assistance from Industry New Zealand, in response to strong demand for the optics industry worldwide.

REDA Chief Executive Blair McRae said the New Zealand optics industry is recognised as having international quality expertise and manufacturing capabilities.

“Dr Breault believes New Zealand has an opportunity to join in the current expansion and become a significant player in a wider array of market niches.

“This potential applies not only to products, but also to designers and research activities,” Mr McRae said.

Vega Industries Ltd marketing director and the New Zealand Optics Cluster co-chair Martyn Cook said the optics cluster has been set up to grow the optics industry in New Zealand.

“With this visit we are seeking to match existing and latent New Zealand capability with as-yet unknown customers and supply opportunities in the rest of the world.

“We hope that Dr Breault will be able to identify a number of international niche-market opportunities which cluster members could then follow up, “Mr Cook said.

Industry New Zealand chief executive Neil Mackay said Industry New Zealand supports REDA’s efforts to build an internationally competitive optics cluster.

“Dr Breault is an example of a world class expert whose knowledge can strengthen the capabilities of individual companies, and also benefit the Wellington region where many of the optics companies are based,” Mr Mackay said.


Debbie Gee (04) 910 4333 Email:

Blair McRae (04) 494 2540 Email:

Martyn Cook (04) 237 4393 Email:

Editor’s Note

What is Optics?

Optics is the field of science and engineering encompassing the physical phenomena and technologies associated with the generation, transmission, manipulation, detection and utilisation of light. Optics is an enabling technology and, as such, has pervasive impact on our daily lives that is highly valued but rarely noticed. Today we could not live without television displays, laser printers, photocopiers, optical fibre technology, or simply the barcode scanners at our local supermarket.

Applications of modern optics include:

- Lasers in medicine (eye medicine, cancer surgery)

- Optical communications (information transfer, optical switching)

- Imaging and sensing (astronomy, navigation)

- Optical data storage (compact discs, digital cameras)

- Precision measurement (laser rangers, instrumentation)

- Holography (data storage, security devices)

- Materials processing (semi-conductors)

The turnover of this industry worldwide grew from US$50 billion in 1997 to a projected revenue stream of US$500 billion in 2002.

The New Zealand Optics Cluster

Established by REDA in August 2001, the cluster fosters growth of the optics industry in New Zealand by providing a forum where members develop working relationships, exchange ideas, address special needs and create new business opportunities. The cluster also provides vital links between business and research and development institutions. Members include:


Beaglehole Instruments, Wellington

Infra Red Optics Ltd, Paraparaumu Beach

Norman Rumsay, Optical Designer, Wellington

Vega Industries Ltd, Porirua

Dodson Aluminising, Upper Hutt

Peter Turner, Optician & Optical Designer, Wellington

Industrial Optics, Paekakariki

Graeme Jonas, Optical Designer, Waitara

Selecon, theatre/public hall lighting manufacturers, Auckland

Oscmar International, Auckland

Blue Magma, applied mathematicians, AUT incubator, Auckland

Research & Academic Institutions

Industrial Optics Ltd, Lower Hutt,

Industrial Research Ltd, Auckland

Industrial Research Ltd, Christchurch

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Canterbury

Electrical & Electronic Engineering, University of Canterbury

School of Chemical & Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington

Department of Physics, University of Auckland

Department of Physics, University of Otago

Department of Chemistry, University of Otago

Why Dr Breault?

Dr Breault, through the Arizona Optics Industry Associaton (AOIA), has facilitated the development of fourteen optics industry clusters across the world in order to assist in the creation of capacity to address the explosion in demand for a wide variety of optics products.

The AOIA is keen to secure and develop additional optical design and engineering capacity to support the massive development of the industry world-wide.

President and founder of Breault Research Organisation, Dr Breault is internationally recognised as one of the world's leading experts in the area of stray light analysis and suppression. His work covers original research on the scattering of coated surfaces, paints, glass, and mirrored surfaces - many of these for varying degrees of cleanliness or for different fabrication techniques.

Dr Breault has been involved in over 275 stray light analyses, using the APART TM stray light analysis program, which he authored. He was instrumental in the fabrication and/or use of five different devices to measure the bi-directional scattering characteristics of surfaces.

He has received awards of recognition from NASA (1977, 1978, 1984), and an award in 1979 from the University of Arizona for his outstanding dissertation in the field of applied sciences. The author and co-author of two chapters in the Handbook of Optics, Dr. Breault received his B.S. in mathematics from Yale University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in optical sciences from the University of Arizona. He is a fellow of SPIE and chairman of the Arizona Optics Industry Association (AOIA), more often referred to as the Optics Cluster in Optics Valley.

Dr Breault’s Itinerary:

Monday 17 AM Fly Wgtn - Ch-Ch

Profile SALT project, school of astronomy, electrical engineering research

and other related optics work at University of Canterbury

Public Seminar - Optics and Innovation

PM Lunch (with professors from Otago University)

Human Interface & Technology Lab

Industrial Research Ltd, Christchurch,

Evening Fly Ch-Ch - Wgtn,

Tuesday 18 AM Optics Co-Chairs & Facilitators Briefing

Aotea College

Vega Industries @ Porirua

Porirua City Council and Business Porirua

PM Industrial Optics @ Paekakariki,

InfraRed Optics @ Paraparaumu Beach

Wednesday 19 AM Norman Rumsey (optical designer)

Industrial Research Ltd @ Gracefield

IRL Organic Chemistry nucleus

Optical Design

PM Victoria University, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences.

Evening Wellington City Council

Thursday 20 AM Fly to Auckland

Blue Magma (optical designers)

Selecon (theatre/public hall lighting manufacturers)

PM Lunch

Industrial Research Ltd, Auckland

University of Auckland, Department of Physics.

Evening Auckland University

Fly to Wgtn

Friday 21 AM Optics Cluster Meeting, Wellington

PM Industry New Zealand, and other government agencies

Saturday 22 AM Fly to Auckland

On to Tuscon, United States

Industry New Zealand was set up by the Government in September 2000 as New Zealand’s economic development agency.

World Class New Zealanders is an Industry New Zealand programme designed to help increase New Zealand's international competitiveness by giving entrepreneurs and high growth New Zealand industries and businesses the opportunity to learn from the world's best companies and brightest talents.

International Business Missions, part of the World Class New Zealanders programme, assist New Zealand Businesses to:

- Improve capabilities critical to competitive growth

- Learn skills from top offshore businesses

- Establish networks with overseas experts and strategic partners linked to capability improvement

- Access international expertise not readily available in New Zealand.

Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency

The Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (REDA) is a charitable trust funded by the City Councils of Wellington City, Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt and Porirua.

The role of REDA varies from promoting the region and celebrating its success stories, through to reducing red tape for businesses. At the same time, the agency works directly with organisations, businesses and groups in the community and inputs into policies and strategies affecting the economic development of the region.

Implementing the regional strategy involves managing a range of economic development projects such as business clusters which foster collaboration and emphasise the facilitation role of local government in economic development. The agency also provides information and facilitation services to migrants, investors, small and medium-sized businesses and the corporate community.

A cornerstone of the agency’s work involves increasing the region’s international competitiveness and encouraging collaboration amongst industries that have potential for growth and employment opportunities.

The Business Clusters Project has established industry groups (clusters) in earthquake engineering technology, natural hazards, software, e-business, creative content, film and television, education, mobile Internet and optics.

Over 300 companies are involved in the clusters and work together to achieve new business and remove barriers to growth.


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