Looking back at cluster activities in the past five years, presentations of selected representatives of individual pillars, insight into the issue of technology transfer or outline of further development of the cluster, including the possible introduction of a new pillar “Optical Quantum Technology”. All this, as well as the social-networking evening, awaited the participants of the CZECH OPTICS conference, which took place on 30 November 2022 in Mikulov and which was followed by the membership meeting of the Czech Optical Cluster the following day.

The event was the culmination of the first five years of the existence of the Czech Optical Cluster (COC), whose founding organizations at the end of 2017 were Meopta – optika, Hella Autotechnik Nova, Pramacom-HT, ZEBR and the Institute of Scientific Instruments of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. During this time, the number of members gradually grew to 34, which was supplemented by two other accepted private companies, ZÁHOŘÍ TRADE s.r.o., engaged in the development of sports optics and ZKW Automotive Engineering CZ s.r.o., which is engaged in the development of automotive lighting systems. Currently, the cluster has 36 members. These are practically all major Czech players in the field of optics, optomechanics and optoelectronics. These include large and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), universities or institutes of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

The participants were welcomed by Silvie Skyvová, Chairwoman of the Executive Board, and Petr Přikryl, Vice-Chairman of the Executive Board, followed by a number of presentations and discussions. Among other interesting contributions, there was a presentation by the director of the Institute of Scientific Instruments of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prof. Josef Lazar, on the design of a new cluster pillar – Optical Quantum Technologies. The idea was based on world-renowned research trends that are already supported by the European Commission and will have a major impact on scientific and technological progress in many fields in the future. The results are expected to be applied, for example, in areas such as telecommunications, energy, navigation, defence and security.

By voting at the members’ meeting held the following day, the proposal for this new pillar was adopted. This will be the sixth pillar of the cluster’s activities. Their complete overview newly represents:

  1. Industrial and consumer optics
  2. Military optics
  3. Lighting
  4. Laser technologies and applications
  5. Microscopy
  6. Optical quantum technologies

After the end of the members’ meeting, an excursion to the development and production premises of one of the founding members of COC, ZEBR s.r.o. in nearby Milovice, which is engaged in the development and production of equipment based on precision mechanics, followed.

The manager of the Czech Optical Cluster, Petr Přikryl, summed up the whole event as follows: “I am glad that after a long period of covid restrictions and the subsequent crisis, we managed to meet in person in such large numbers, look back at the cluster’s successes so far, have fun and discuss the following development, especially for next year. We are constantly growing and expanding our portfolio of activities. It turns out that our members find the cluster’s activities useful and beneficial for their further development. However, we are not resting on our laurels – we want to continue to professionalise the cluster and bring new value to our members.”