San Diego Convention Center
San Diego, California, United States
28 August - 1 September 2016
Plenary Events
Symposium-wide Plenary Session
Date: Sunday 28 August 2016
Time: 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

6:05 to 6:35 pm: Photon Management Through In Situ Photon Conversion with Optical Nanotransformers: Fundamentals to Emerging Technological Applications

Paras N. Prasad, Univ. of Buffalo, State Univ. of New York (USA)
2016 Winner of SPIE Gold Medal Award

Abstract: Many emerging biomedical and other optical technologies require light of a specific wavelength range that is not readily deliverable to the photoactivation site where it is needed. Photon management by in situ and on-demand transformation of photons from one spectral region to another can significantly benefit these applications. Nanophotonics approaches can provide nanoscale control of excitation dynamics to produce ultrasmall nanotransformers that very efficiently convert photons in situ at a specific intended site. This talk will discuss photon upconversion through direct multiphoton absorption and second harmonic generation involving virtual intermediate states, as well as through sequential excitation in rare-earth ions and triplet–triplet annihilation in organics involving real intermediate states. The relative merits of these different strategies will be discussed. Photon down-conversion processes such as quantum cutting in lanthanides, multi-exciton generation in quantum dots, and singlet exciton fission in organic molecules and their applications will also be discussed. Multiscale modeling-guided nanochemistry approaches that we use to design and produce these nanotransformers in our lab will also be described. Finally, this talk will highlight specific examples of technological applications of our work in this area, including multispectral solar energy conversion, nanotheranostics, and security encoding. In the biomedical area, a major application pursued in our lab is in brain research, where we apply these nanotransformers for functional imaging of brains and for optogenetic stimulation of brain activity.

Biography: Paras N. Prasad is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Physics, Electrical Engineering and Medicine; Samuel P. Capen Chair of Chemistry; and Executive Director of the Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics. In 2005, Scientific American named him among the top 50 science and technology leaders in the world. He has published more than 750 scientific papers, along with four field-defining monographs in Nonlinear Optics, Biophotonics, Nanophotonics, and Nanomedicine; eight edited books; and numerous patents. He has received the Morley Medal and the Schoellkopf Medal from the American Chemical Society; a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sloan Fellowship; the Western New York Health Care Industries Technology/Discovery Award; a SUNY Excellence in the Pursuit of Knowledge award; UB’s first Innovation Impact award; and the SPIE President’s Gold Medal. He is a fellow of the APS, OSA, and SPIE, and is on the Thompson Reuters “Highly Cited Researchers” list for 2014. Prasad has received Honorary Doctorates from KTH in Sweden, and the Aix-Marseille University in France.

Beyond his outstanding scholastic and research achievements, his work has had substantial societal impact . He technologies have produced 9 spin-off companies ,one of which, a publically traded company, Nanobiotix, is now in advanced clinical trial for cancer therapy. Prasad has also mentored many students and championed young faculty members across the globe, and has vigorously promoted photonics internationally. Prasad is this year’s winner of SPIE’s highest honor of Gold Medal in recognition of his numerous pioneering contributions to nonlinear optics, nanophotonics, and biophotonics, as well as for over three decades of outstanding service to SPIE.

Paras Prasad is also an instructor for Course SC1082 on Nanophotonics and Metaphotonics.

6:35 to 7:05 pm: Imaging science with NASA's Mars Rover Missions

Melissa Rice, Western Washington Univ. (United States)

Abstract: The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover landed on Mars two years ago, and the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been actively exploring Mars for nearly eleven years. Both rovers have spectroscopic imaging capabilities with their mast-mounted cameras, which can help constrain the iron mineralogy and distribution of hydrated materials on the surface. Here I will present an overview of the instrumentation, technique, and major results from the cameras on both missions. I will also discuss plans for imaging science with the Mastcam-Z instrument on NASA’s next rover, which will launch in 2020.

Biography: Dr. Melissa Rice is an Assistant Professor of Planetary Science at Western Washington University, where she has held a joint appointment in the Geology Department and the Physics & Astronomy Department since 2014. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University in 2012, and was a NASA Astrobiology Institute Postdoctoral fellow at Caltech from 2012-2014. Her research focuses on the sedimentology, stratigraphy and mineralogy of Mars. She is a collaborator on the active Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity missions, a Participating Scientist on the Mars Science Laboratory rover mission, and a Co-Investigator for the Mastcam-Z investigation in development for the Mars2020 rover mission.

7:05 to 7:35 pm: Biological Inspiration for New Opportunities in Robotics

Michael T. Tolley, Univ. of California, San Diego (United States)

Abstract: Robotics has the potential to address many of today’s pressing problems in fields ranging from healthcare to manufacturing to disaster relief. However, the traditional approaches used on the factory floor do not perform well in unstructured environments. I believe the key to solving many of these challenges will be to explore new, non-traditional designs. Fortunately, nature surrounds us with examples of novel ways to navigate and survive in the real world. Through evolution, biology has already explored myriad solutions to many of the challenges facing robotics. At the UC San Diego Bioinspired Robotics and Design Lab, we seek to borrow the key principles of operation from biological systems, and apply them to engineered solutions. This talk will present approaches to the design and fabrication of biologically inspired robotic systems including soft robots and systems that self-assemble, and discuss challenges and opportunities going forward.

Biography: Michael T. Tolley is an Assistant Professor in the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and director of the Bioinspired Robotics and Design Lab in the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. His work explores robotic designs inspired by natural systems and enabled by digital fabrication. Previously, Tolley was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, working in the Harvard Microbotics Laboratory from 2011 to fall 2014. He earned his Ph.D. and master’s from Cornell University and has a bachelor’s degree from McGill University. His work on soft robotics, advanced fabrication, and self-assembly has appeared in prestigious scientific journals including Science and Nature.
Nanoscience + Engineering Plenary Session
Date: Monday 29 August 2016
Time: 9:15 AM - 12:00 PM
Session Chairs: Harry Atwater, California Institute of Technology (USA) and Nikolay Zheludev, Optoelectronics Research Ctr. (United Kingdom) and Nanyang Technological Univ. (Singapore)

9:15 to 10:00 am: New Avenues in Plasmonics: Short-range Surface Plasmons Meet Orbital Angular Momenta: Deep Subwavelength Spatial and Subfemtosecond Time Resolution

Harald Giessen, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)

Abstract: Plasmonics has promised to give us subwavelength resolution. However, often the surface plasmons exhibit a dispersion close to the light line, therefore not giving substantial wavelength reduction. However, in thin enough gold layers on silicon substrates, also short-range surface plasmons with substantially smaller plasmon wavelengths and submicrometer propagation distances. Using atomically flat single crystalline gold surfaces, we observe long- and short-range surfaces plasmons on unstructured as well as patterned surfaces. Time-resolved two-photon photoemission microscopy reveals the rich dynamics of plasmon propagation, including spin-orbit coupling in surface plasmons with orbital angular momentum up to l=20.

Biography: Harald Giessen holds the chair for Ultrafast Nanooptics at University of Stuttgart and heads the Stuttgart Center of Photonics Engineering (SCoPE). His research includes ultrafast lasers and spectroscopy, micro- and nanooptics, in particular plasmonics and metamaterials. He is associated researcher at the Center for Disruptive Photonic Technologies at Nanyang Technical University, Singapore. He received an ERC Advanced Grant in 2012 for his work on complex nanoplasmonics. He is a topical editor for ultrafast nanooptics, plasmonics, and ultrafast lasers and pulse generation of the journal "Light: Science & Applications" of Nature Publishing Group. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America.

Coffee Break 10:00 to 10:30 am

10:30 to 11:15 am: The Fascinating Optics of Metasurfaces

Andrea Alù, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)

Abstract: Metamaterials and plasmonics offer unprecedented opportunities to tailor and enhance the interaction of light with materials. In this talk, I discuss our recent research activity in electromagnetics, with special focus on nano-optics, showing how suitably tailored meta-atoms and arrangements of them open exciting venues to manipulate and control waves in unprecedented ways. I will discuss our most recent theoretical and experimental results, including nanoclusters and metasurfaces to control wave propagation and radiation, including anomalous transmission and reflection properties, large nonreciprocity without magnetism, giant nonlinearities in properly tailored metamaterials, and parity-time symmetric meta-atoms and metasurfaces. Physical insights into these exotic phenomena, new devices based on these concepts, and their impact on technology will be discussed during the talk.

Biography: Andrea Alù is an Associate Professor and the Cockrell Family Dean’s Chair in Engineering Excellence Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Alù is a Fellow of IEEE, OSA, and APS, and has received the NSF Alan T. Waterman Award (2015), the O’Donnell Award in Engineering (2016), the OSA Adolph Lomb Medal (2013), and the URSI Issac Koga Gold Medal (2011).

11:15 am to 12:00 pm: Emerging Materials for Nanophotonics and Plasmonics

Alexandra Boltasseva, Purdue Univ. (United States)

Abstract: The fields of nanophotonics and plasmonics have taught us unprecedented ways to control the flow light at the nanometer scale, unfolding new optical phenomena and redefining centuries-old optical elements. As we continue to transfer the recent advances into applications, the development of new materials has become a centerpiece in the field of nanophotonics. In this presentation I will discuss emerging material platforms including transparent conducting oxides, transition metal nitrides, oxides and carbides for future consumer-level optical components and systems across the fields of sensing, spectroscopy, communication, energy, and quantum optics.

Biography: Alexandra Boltasseva is an Associate Professor at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University. Boltasseva received the 2013 IEEE Photonics Society Young Investigator Award, 2013 Materials Research Society (MRS) Outstanding Young Investigator Award, MIT Technology Review Top Young Innovator (TR35) award. She is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA), a member of MRS Board of Directors and Editor-in-Chief for OSA’s Optical Materials Express.
Optics + Photonics for Sustainable Energy Plenary Session
Date: Monday 29 August 2016
Time: 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Session Chair: Oleg V. Sulima, GE Global Research (United States)

2:00 to 2:30 pm: Optoelectronics: Is There Anything It Cannot Do? Can Optoelectronics Provide the Motive Power for Future Vehicles?

Eli Yablonovitch, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)

Abstract: A new scientific principle has produced record-breaking solar cells. The 28.8% single-junction solar efficiency record, by Alta Devices, was achieved by recognizing the importance of extracting luminescent emission. This is exemplified by the mantra: "A great solar cell also needs to be a great LED". The 2 junction record solar efficiency, 31.5%, and the 4 junction record, 38.8%, are based on this opto-electronic concept. This idea also revolutionizes non-solar applications of photovoltaics, permitting conversion from heat to electricity with <50% efficiency. Such a lightweight "engine:" can provide power to electric cars, aerial vehicles, spacecraft, homes, and stationary power plants.

Biography: Eli Yablonovitch is Director of the NSF Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science (E3S), a multi-University Center headquartered at Berkeley. Among his accomplishments, Yablonovitch introduced the idea that strained semiconductor lasers could have superior performance due to reduced valence band (hole) effective mass. With almost every human interaction with the internet, optical telecommunication occurs by strained semiconductor lasers.

2:30 to 3:00 pm: Thermophotovoltaics for Generating Electricity from Sustainable Heat Sources

Peter Bermel, Purdue Univ. (United States)

Abstract: Thermophotovoltaics (TPV) generate electricity through a unique mechanism: harvesting thermal radiation with a photovoltaic cell. In principle, its heat-to-electricity efficiency can approach 85% at sufficiently high temperatures. Although the first TPV devices performed much worse, significant progress has recently been made by researchers worldwide in closing this gap. In these studies, several key themes have emerged, namely: efficiently harvesting high-temperature heat to power these devices; selectively radiating this heat to minimize wasted photons; and fabricating efficient photovoltaic cells with moderate bandgaps to generate maximal power. In this talk, we will review the limits of TPV in selected sustainable energy harvesting applications, the role of losses at various stages, and the potential of photonics and advanced semiconductor growth processes to help overcome these key challenges.

Biography: Peter Bermel is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University. His work improves photovoltaic, thermophotovoltaic, and nonlinear systems using the principles of nanophotonics. He has widely published in scientific peer-reviewed journals, and has been cited over 3500 times. Key topics include: high-performance thermophotovoltaics; photon recycling for high-efficiency lighting; and photonic crystals for photovoltaics.

Coffee Break 3:00 to 3:30 pm

3:30 to 4:00 pm: Artificial Photosynthesis: Progress, Science Outlook, and Technology Prospects

Harry A. Atwater, California Institute of Technology (United States)

Abstract: The design of highly efficient, non‐biological, molecular‐level energy conversion “machines” that generate fuels directly from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide is both a formidable challenge and an opportunity that, if realized, could have a revolutionary impact on our energy system and efforts to address climate change. In the past five years, considerable progress has been made in scientific discovery of key materials and mechanisms needed to realize artificial solar fuels generators for hydrogen generation by water splitting, and advances in materials, modeling and design have yielded a conceptual paradigm for a solar fuels generator and working prototypes. While we still lack sufficient knowledge to design solar-fuel generation systems with the ultimate efficiency, scalability, and sustainability to be economically viable, considerable advances have been made, particularly for water-splitting solar fuels devices. I will also survey advances in CO2 reduction catalysis, outstanding scientific challenges to realization of artificial photosynthesis for generation of fuels and chemicals by reduction of CO2.

Biography: Harry Atwater is the Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science at the California Institute of Technology. Professor Atwater currently serves as Director of the DOE Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis. His group has created new high efficiency solar cell designs, and have developed principles for light management in solar cells. Atwater is an early pioneer in nanophotonics and plasmonics; he gave the name to the field of plasmonics in 2001.
He is co-founder and chief technical advisor for Alta Devices, a venture-backed company in Santa Clara, CA, that holds the current world record for 1 Sun single junction solar cell efficiency and that is currently transitioning high efficiency/low cost GaAs photovoltaics technology to manufacturing and large-scale production.

4:00 to 4:30 pm: Qualifying Materials for Use in PV Module

Christopher Flueckiger, Underwriters Labs. (United States)

Abstract: Underwriters Laboratories works with the PV industry to develop scientifically based material requirements to improve stakeholder’s confidence in the reliability and durability of PV modules, components and systems. This presentation will provide an overview of a select part of UL’s work addressing polymeric materials.
Emphasis will be placed on Backskin Degradation and Lifetime Modeling. Other topics will include test method advances in Relative Thermal Index (RTI) determination, Dielectric testing to improve reproducibility, Edge Seal and Encapsulent Glass-on-Glass Adhesion measurements, Current Tracking Index measurements for Encapsulents, and more.

Biography: Christopher Flueckiger is the Principal Engineer for Renewable Energy at Underwriters Laboratories. Chris joined UL in 2000 working in the Power Distribution, Medical, and ITE groups. His current PDE responsibilities include Solar Energy Systems, Solar Thermal, Solar Balance of System Devices, and Photovoltaics with close collaboration and global lead reviewer responsibilities for Inverters, Wind Turbines, and other Renewable Energy Systems.
Organic Photonics + Electronics Plenary Session
Date: Tuesday 30 August 2016
Time: 9:00 AM - 11:45 AM
Session Chair: Zakya H. Kafafi, Lehigh Univ. (United States)

9:00 to 9:30 am: Artificial Nervous Systems and Electronic Plants

Magnus Berggren, Linköping Univ. (Sweden)

Abstract: Organic electronics is explored as the signalling bridge between biological systems and electronics targeting new opportunities in diagnostics, therapy and biotechnology. Using the coupled charge accumulation and ion exchange of conjugated polymer-polyelectrolyte systems different sensor and actuator devices have been developed. Included in circuits, these can simultaneously record and regulate physiology and functions at high spatiotemporal resolution. As artificial nervous systems, such circuits have successfully been applied, in vivo, to combat e.g. pathological pain and epileptic seizures in tissue and animal models. Applied to, and manufactured inside the vascular systems of plants, e.g. Rosa floribunda, analogue and digital organic circuits have successfully been achieved, thus open up for new "green" energy technologies and electronic control over growth and production processes in living plants.

Biography: Magnus Berggren is the Önnesjö Professor in Organic Electronics at Linköping University and the director for the Advanced Functional Materials center and the Laboratory for Organic Electronics. In 2011 he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and in 2014 he received the Marcus Wallenberg price. He is the co-founder of several start-up companies, such as ThinFilm, DP Patterning, Invisense and OBOE IPR.

9:30 to 10:00 am: Green Electronics: A Technology for a Sustainable Future

Elvira M. C. Fortunato, Univ. Nova de Lisboa (Portugal)

Abstract: The evolution from rigid silicon-based electronics to flexible electronics requires the use of new materials with novel functionalities that allow non-conventional, low-cost and environmental friendly processing technologies. Among the alternatives, metal oxide semiconductors have brought to attention as backplane materials for the next generation of flat panel displays. After the huge success and revolution of transparent electronics and with the worldwide interest in displays where metal oxide thin films have proved to be truly semiconductors, display backplanes have already gone commercial in a very short period of time, due to the huge investment of several high profile companies: SHARP, SAMSUNG, LG and BOE. These materials have demonstrated exceptional electronic performance as active semiconductor components and can be tuned for applications where high transparency/electrical conductivity is demanded. The new paradigm of transparent electronics has attracted much interest as a novel technical solution in the field of the next generation of consumer electronics. The ultimate goal of this "see-through" device is to realize an integrated system equipped with ubiquitous functions of information storage, image display and networking, which strongly demands an embeddable transparent array of non-volatile memory.

Biography: Elvira Fortunato is full professor in Materials Science Department of Faculty of Science and Technology of New University of Lisbon, a Fellow of the Portuguese Engineering Academy since 2009 and decorated with the grade of Grand Officer of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator by the President of the Republic in 2010, due to her scientific achievements worldwide. In 2015 she was appointed by the Portuguese President Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Celebrations of the National Day of Portugal, Camões and the Portuguese Communities. Since November 2015 she become Deputy Adviser of the High Level Group of Scientific Advice Mechanism from DG Research & Innovation European Commission. Fortunato pioneered European research on transparent electronics, namely thin-film transistors based on oxide semiconductors, demonstrating that oxide materials can be used as true semiconductors. In 2008, she earns in the 1st ERC edition an AdG for the project "Invisible", considered a success story. In the same year she demonstrated with her colleagues the possibility to make the first paper transistor, starting a new field in the area of paper electronics.

10:00 to 10:15 am: Announcement of the Organic Photonics + Electronics Best Student Paper Award Winner

Coffee Break 10:15 to 10:45 am

10:45 to 11:15 am: Stretchable Electronic Materials for Skin-inspired Devices

Zhenan Bao, Stanford Univ. (United States)

Abstract: In this talk, I will discuss molecular design concepts for stretchable semiconductors, dielectrics and conductors. These materials are used for fabrication of stretchable transistors and simple circuits.

Biography: Zhenan Bao is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. Prior to joining Stanford in 2004, she was a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies from 1995-2004. She has over 400 refereed publications and over 60 US patents with a Google Scholar H-Index <110. She pioneered a number of design concepts for organic electronic materials. Her work has enabled flexible electronic circuits and displays. In her recent work, she has developed skin-inspired organic electronic materials, which resulted in unprecedented performance or functions in medical devices, energy storage and environmental applications. Bao is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. She is a Fellow of MRS, ACS, AAAS, SPIE, ACS PMSE and ACS POLY. She is an Associate Editor for Chemical Sciences. Her recent awards include: Nature’s Ten people who mattered in 2015 for her work on artificial electronic skin, AICHE Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering in 2014, ACS Carl Marvel Creative Polymer Chemistry Award in 2013, and ACS Cope Scholar Award in 2011.

11:15 to 11:45 am: Organic Semiconductors: Communications, Sensing, and Therapy

Ifor D. W. Samuel, Univ. of St. Andrews (United Kingdom)

Abstract: Organic semiconductors combine novel electronic properties with simple fabrication and the scope to tune properties by changing the molecular structure. They have been extensively researched for use in displays, lighting and solar cells. The purpose of this talk is to explore many other applications of these materials. For example, in visible light communication (also known as Li-Fi) there is a need for colour converters to convert blue light from nitride LEDs to white light. I will show how organic semiconductors are particularly suitable for this task because of their high radiative rate constants, and have enabled record (< 1 Gbps) data rates for visible light communication. I will also show how organic semiconductors can be used to make wearable muscle contraction sensors, and wearable light sources for skin cancer treatment.

Biography: Ifor Samuel is Professor of Physics at the University of St Andrews. He received his M.A. and PhD from the University of Cambridge and then worked at CNET-France Telecom in Paris before setting up his own research group at the University of Durham. In 2000 he moved to the University of St Andrews where he founded and leads the Organic Semiconductor Centre.
Signal, Image, and Data Processing Plenary Session
Date: Tuesday 30 August 2016
Time: 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
Session Chair: Khan M. Iftekharuddin, Old Dominion Univ. (USA)

1:30 to 1:35 pm: Welcome and Introductions

1:35 to 2:30 pm: CAD and Radiomics in Breast Cancer Imaging

Maryellen L. Giger, The Univ. of Chicago (United States)

Abstract: Computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) and “Radiomics” (i.e., computerized methods of analyzing digital images: mammograms, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance images) can yield novel image-based tumor characteristics (i.e., signatures that may ultimately contribute to the design of patient-specific cancer treatments). With computer-aided detection (CAD) of breast cancer, the aim was to provide a ‘second opinion’ to aid the radiologist in locating suspicious regions within screening mammograms. Today, the role of computerized image analysis is expanding beyond screening programs towards applications in risk assessment, diagnosis, prognosis, and response to therapy as well as in data mining to discover relationships of lesion characteristics as they apply to disease states. With CAD/radiomics, computerized methods are being developed to (a) quantitatively characterize the features of a suspicious region or tumor, e.g., those describing tumor morphology or function, (b) merge the relevant features into diagnostic, prognostic, or predictive image-based biomarkers, (c) estimate the probability of a particular disease state, (d) retrieve similar cases, (e) compare the tumor in question to thousands of other breast tumors, and/or (f) explore the complex relationships among image-based tumor characteristics across large populations and association studies between the image-based signatures (i.e, image-based phenotypes) and histological/genomic data for imaging genomics. My presentation will focus on such quantitative radiomics of breast cancer.

Biography: Maryellen L. Giger, Ph.D. is the A.N. Pritzker Professor of Radiology/Medical Physics and the College at the University of Chicago. She is also Vice-Chair of Radiology for Basic Science Research and is the immediate past Director of the CAMPEP-accredited Graduate Programs in Medical Physics/ Chair of the Committee on Medical Physics at the University. For over 25 years, she has conducted research on computer-aided diagnosis and quantitative radiomics in the areas of breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and bone diseases. She has also served on various NIH study sections, is a former president of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of AAPM, AIMBE, SPIE, and IEEE, the Editor-in-Chief of the SPIE Journal of Medical Imaging, and the current Vice President of SPIE. She has more than 170 peer-reviewed publications (over 300 publications), has more than 30 patents and has mentored over 100 graduate students, residents, medical students, and undergraduate students. Her research in computational image-based analyses of breast cancer for risk assessment, diagnosis, prognosis, response to therapy, and biological discovery has yielded various translated components, and she is now using these image-based phenotypes in imaging genomics association studies.
Optical Engineering Plenary Session
Date: Tuesday 30 August 2016
Time: 4:00 PM - 4:50 PM
Session Chair: Craig Olson, L-3 Communications (United States)

4:00 to 4:05 pm: Welcome and Opening Remarks

4:05 to 4:50 pm: The Advanced LIGO Detectors in the Era of First Discoveries

Daniel Sigg, California Institute of Technology (United States) and LIGO Hanford Observatory (United States)

Abstract: Following a major upgrade, the two advanced detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) held their first observation run between September 2015 and January 2016. The product of observable volume and measurement time exceeded that of all previous runs within the first 16 days of coincident observation. On September 14th, 2015, the Advanced LIGO detectors observed the transient gravitational-wave signal GW150914, determined to be the coalescence of two black holes, launching the era of gravitational-wave astronomy. We present the main features of the detectors that enabled this observation. At its core Advanced LIGO is a multi-kilometer long Michelson interferometer employing optical resonators to enhance its sensitivity. Four very pure and homogeneous fused silica optics with excellent figure quality serve as the test masses. The displacement produced by the event GW150914 was one 200th of a proton radius. It was observed with a combined signal-to-noise ratio of 24 in coincidence by the two detectors. At full sensitivity, the Advanced LIGO detectors are designed to deliver another factor of three improvement in the signal-to-noise ratio for binary black hole systems similar in masses to GW150914.

Biography: Daniel Sigg is a senior scientist with the California Institute of Technology working at the LIGO Hanford Observatory in Washington state. He is responsible for coordinating the commissioning effort at Hanford and for bringing the Advanced LIGO detector to full sensitivity. He got his Ph.D. degree in physics from ETH Zurich in Switzerland. He joined the LIGO project in 1995 as a postdoctoral scholar of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His current research interests include gravitational wave astrophysics, precision measurements and large scale optical interferometers.
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