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SPIE Optics + Photonics 2011 Event News and Photos


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Thursday 25 August

Wednesday 24 August

Tuesday 23 August

Monday 22 August

Sunday 21 August

Saturday 20 August

Event Photo Gallery

Exhibition Photo Gallery


Thursday 25 August


Final tallies are up, up up

Total attendance at Optics + Photonics 2011 was just under 5,000 in the closing hours of the week-long event, one of the highest counts in recent years.

Exhibit visitors in particular -- always a key metric -- were up more than ever: "We've never had as many!" said event manager Marilyn Gorsuch.

OP11 Exhibition














And exhibit traffic was strong through the last day in both numbers and quality, noted several exhibitors.

"Our scan rate at is 50% higher than last year," said Robert Chimeti of B&W Tek."This show always gives us good quality leads. Other shows have higher traffic, but most are just tirekickers."

"Optics + Photonics is where we come to meet the geeks," said Bob Schalck (Hardin Optical Co). "We get good quality leads because we get to meet researchers and our southern California customers. At Optics + Photonics, we meet the prototype and product development guys and gals."


Wednesday 24 August


Photonics advances

Zakya Kafafi (National Science Foundation), Photonic Devices and Applications Symposium Chair, presented the symposium Best Paper award to Ariel Ben-Sasson (Technion-Israel Institute of Technology) for his paper "Patterned-electrode vertical organic FET: comprehensive, theoretical, and experimental study," which he coauthored with his supervising professor, Nir Tessler. Ben-Sasson gave a short presentation of his paper and said he hopes to continue in the field of organic electronics after graduation next year. The award is sponsored by Plextronics.

The first plenary speaker, Samson Jenekhe, presented an update of work in his lab at the Univ. of Washington, where they are working toward 10 percent efficiency in organic photovoltaics. The state of the art ranges between 6 and 8 percent for Fullerent-based OPVs, Jenekhe said.

Exhibition is bustling -- and bigger

OP11 exhbitioni


The advance projections for higher attendance in the exhibition this year held true, with more visitors and more exhibiting companies -- 239 this year -- filling the hall.

Exhibition managers noted that another good growth indicator for the optics and photonics sector is the increase in exhibition space this year.

Many exhibitors reported that they were pleased with the constant level of activity on the exhibition floor throughout most of opening day and with the quality of traffic, and could tell that attendance was up.

"This is our first time at an SPIE exhibit," said Julia Des Chenes of Keyence Corp. of America. "We're pleased with the quality and quantity of the attendees. Traffic is high for the size of the exhibit."

"We got a dozen good leads in the first four hours of the first day of Optics + Photonics," said Stephen Humkey (Phosphor Solutions). "Two or three of these look like they will be really good, and the leads are from countries all over the world."

"There was good interest the first day," said Richard Theriault (Diateq Labs LLC). "I've already seen customers here that I've been trying to meet with."


The Gala SPIE Awards and Recognition Banquet

SPIE Awards Banquet













Nearly 300 people turned out for the SPIE Awards and Recognition Banquet. Master of Ceremonies Troy Peters introduced SPIE President-Elect Eustace Dereniak, who welcomed the crowd to the gala affair. A sumptious dinner was served while "Frank, Dean, and Sammy" entertained the crowd as "The Rat Pack."

Gold Medal winner Barrett and Dereniak













SPIE President Katarina Svanberg presented the awards:

  • Gold Medal of the Society: Harrison H. Barrett, College of Optical Sciences, Univ. of Arizona 
  • D.J. Lovell Scholarship; presented to Thomas Nesch, Univ. of Cambridge
  • A.E. Conrady Award; presented to Alan Greynolds, Ruda-Cardinal, Inc.
  • Harold E. Edgerton Award; presented to Daniel James Kane, Mesa Photonics
  • Dennis Gabor Award; presented to Wolfgang Osten, Univer. of Stuttgart
  • George W. Goddard Award; presented to James H. Churnside, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Rudolph Kingslake Medal and Prize; presented to Joseph W. Goodman, Stanford Univ.
  • Chandra S. Vikram Award; presented to Brian Thompson, Univ. of Rochester
  • SPIE Educator Award; presented to The Active Learning in Optics and Photonics Team: Minella Alarcon, UNESCO; Zohra Ben-Lakhdar, Univ. El Manaur; Ivan Culaba, Ateneo de Manila Univ.; Vasudevan Lakshminarayanan, Univ. of Waterloo; Joel Maquilling, Ateneo de Manila Univ.; Alex Mazzolini, Swinburne Univ. of Technology; Joseph Niemela, Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics; and David Sokoloff, University of Oregon.
  • SPIE Directors' Award: Robert Breault, Breault Research Organization, Inc.
  • SPIE President's Award: John Pellegrino, US Army Research Lab




Tuesday 23 August


Exhibition begins!


Exhibition opens

The show is open -- the latest optical components and devices, analytical equipment, engineering design services, and manufacturing equipment are on display in the exhibition hall through Thursday, with nearly 240 exhibiting companies participating, and aisles lined with visitors.

OLEDs: solutions and prospects

OLEDs/Solid State Lighting plenary speaker Daniel Setz (OSRAM Opto Semiconductors) reported on progress with OLED (organic light-emitting diode) devices as well as the luminaires, or light fixtures, that house the OLED.

Because OLEDs are very thin light sources, the luminaires typically reflect this very thin and airy look. OLEDs can be transparent as well as light-emitting, providing for some very unique lighting solutions for artwork, museums, or in the home.

While the devices are very attractive, it is important that they perform to lighting standards as well.

Current benchmark performance levels from optical simulation are at 300 lumens/watt for white-light sources. (OSRAM's OLED efficiency is 87 lm/W, the current record.) To increase the brightness, there is still more work needed on blue phosphor materials, and the ohmic loses of the electrical connection layers need to be reduced.

Current devices have low-light extraction efficiency. As much as 80% of the light is trapped in the thin layered material, much as if it were a waveguide. Surface texturing can improve the light-extraction efficiency, and new devices will have microlens arrays on the surface.

Lifetime and reliability are also very important considerations in replacing lighting fixtures. OLEDs have suffered from degradation due to delamination, inhomogeneous current distribution, and temperature and brightness dependence.

New engineered stacked layers and encapsulation techniques are addressing these issues and test lifetimes of these designs currently exceed 10,000 hours. OLEDs will certainly have a niche in the future lighting market.

Ready for the incandescent lamp to fade out?

In his plenary talk, Nadarajah Narendran of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center talked about the industry's readiness for the incandescent phase-out, and whether LEDs are ready to step in.

The biggest remaining issue, he said, is cost. There are a few problems associated with retrofitting incandescent fixtures with LEDs.

The sheer weight of some LED bulb replacements can be an issue, as can thermal management; driver lifetime decreases exponentially with temperature, Narendran said.

The application of the new technology also has pitfalls, he said: "You cannot tell the users where to use it." Efficiency can suffer if an LED fixture is not used in its intended configuration.

Narendran debunked some misperceptions about the phaseout of incandescent bulbs.

For example, several kinds of incandescents will still be available, such as three-way bulbs and candelabra bulbs, which will not be phased out. And many new, higher-efficiency bulbs will be on the market.

The efficacy of LEDs should continue to improve, as the current roadmap projects 150 lm/W in 2012, and 200 lm/W by 2020.


New Fellows introduced

 Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop

Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop (above) spoke at the SPIE Fellows luncheon

SPIE Fellows gathered for a networking luncheon to welcome the attending 2011 new Fellows of the Society. Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop from the Univ. of Queensland gave a presentation on "Science Education: Building Knowledge, Interest and Awareness of Science."  

New Fellows who recieved their Fellow pins and certificates include:

  • Dr. Lahsen Assoufid, Argonne National Lab, United States
  • Alexander Balandin, University of California-Riverside, United States
  • Kashiko Kodate, Japan Womens University, Japan
  • James Kumler, JENOPTIK Optical Systems Inc., United States
  • Tom Mackay, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Allen Mann, AM Associates, United States
  • Masud Mansuripur, University of Arizona, United States
  • Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop, Univ. of Queensland, Australia
  • Geoffrey Smith, University of Technology Sydney, Australia

Exploring the solar system

Reviewing developments in planetary spectroscopy missions and instrumentation, Remote Sensing plenary speaker Gabriele Arnold (Univ. of Münster) illustrated how UV, visible, and NIR spectroscopic techniques are powerful tools in understanding the composition, texture and topology of planets and planetary-type objects.

The MARS EXPRESS mission has provided a wealth of information about the planet including mineralogy, mapping and state of water both on the surface and in the Martian atmosphere.

The ROSETTA mission has the ambitious goal of engaging COMET 67P in 2014. It carries a visible and IR thermal imaging spectrometer named VIRITIS. This is a two-channel spectrometer in the .28-1.1 and the 1.02 - 5 micron bands. Goals are to both map and determine the composition of the COMET.

Along the way it has crossed paths with two asteroids, Steins and Lutetia, both of which it has filmed, mapped and assessed mineralogical composition.

The VIRITIS designed spectrometer will also be used on a mission to Venus. It is hoped it can look through the dense, deep atmosphere of that planet.

The planet Mercury mission will carry MERITIS (Mecury Radiometer and Thermal Infrared Spectrometer), this is an innovative instrument for studying the surface composition and mineralogy of planet Mercury. MERTIS combines an uncooled grating push broom IR-spectrometer (TIS) with a radiometer (TIR), which will operate in the wavelength region of 7-14 and 7-40 µm, respectively.

Spectroscopy provides many different modalities for studying and mapping the composition and texture of planets as well as their atmospheres, Arnold said. Through gathering this information on the planets it is hoped to learn more about their formation, sequence of development and mineralogy, as well as the history of water in our solar system.

Future Earth missions

In another Remote Sensing plenary, George Komar (NASA Earth Science Technology Office) presented a vision of the future Earth science missions and technology.

Komar said that long-term goals must be set in technology development as this is the only way we can assure future missions can meet size, performance and budget constraints. He identified several technology areas that he sees as crucial for these missions and he discussed the sequence and importance of numerous currently planned missions.

The technology areas of focus for the future are keyed around active sensing techniques, Komar said. These involve lasers and radar technologies as well as data networking and visualization tools.

Lasers are needed for active systems in monitoring gasses such as CO and CO2. Lasers and large antennas are also needed for laser radar (LIDAR) systems for mapping and monitoring ice caps, sea ice, soil and vegetation, including altitude information.

Passive optical techniques, like hyperspectral imaging, will continue to play a very important role, but the needs there are more toward data management and visualization technologies.

Not all missions are space-bound. The agency is using more and more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to carry LIDAR and passive-sensing instrumentation. This puts additional constraints on size and weight of the instruments, both of which present new challenges for these technologies.

Annual General Meeting of the SPIE Corporation

Annual General Meeting

SPIE Membership learned the state of the Society via President Katarina Svanberg's travel report, the Treasurer Brian Lula's treasurer's report, and a report by Executive Director Eugene Arthurs. The Society election results were announced.

New Officers and Directors beginning in 2012 are:

  • President: Eustace Dereniak, College of Optical Sciences, Univ. of Arizona
  • President-Elect: William Arnold, ASML USA, Inc.
  • Vice President: H. Philip Stahl, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Brian Lula, PI (Physik Instrumente) LP 
  • Director: Judy Fennelly, Air Force Research Lab
  • Director: Maryellen Giger, Univ. of Chicago
  • Director: John Greivenkamp, Univ. of Arizona
  • Director: Seung-Han Park, Yonsei Univ.

SPIE Member Reception

Member Reception

SPIE Members took advantage of a relaxing evening and a delicious dinner buffet after a long day of technical presentations and visits to the exhibition.


Monday 22 August

Transforming light with metamaterials

New materials and new methods in metamaterials are involved in recent advances in the field, said Vladimir Shalaev (Purdue Univ.) in his Nanotechnology plenary talk. In addition to applications of new materials, a graphene layer over a silicon waveguide has produced a new type of optical modulator. The workhorse materials in plasmonics are silver and gold because of their low losses in the visible.

However these materials are less useful in the infrared, where we are seeing the use of metal nitrides and highly doped transparent conducting oxides. The best material is very dependent on the particular application.

Interference lithography and nanoimprint technologies are being used to fabricate metamaterial structures. There are also direct laser write and self-assembly techniques. One of the latest developments in fabrication is the use of 3D STED (stimulated emission depletion) direct laser write which allows for structures below the diffraction limit.

Quantum dot device trends

Yasuhiko Arakawa (Univ. of Tokyo) spoke of the advantages and future prospects for quantum dot devices. The quantum dot -- one of the most important nanostructures for nanophotonics - has been applied in quantum dot lasers that have provided temperature-insensitive devices that maintain their threshold and slope efficiency over a wide temperature range. Arakawa said he sees future applications for these devices as single photon sources, in solar harvesting and in biochemical sensing.

Harvesting light

Gregory Scholes (Univ. of Toronto) spoke on photosynthetic light harvesting in biological systems. While we don't understand all the details of charge transfer through molecular structures, Scholes said, it is clear that they have optimized the light gathering to suit their particular environment. Chromophore performance depends on the interaction between localized molecules and that dependence sets the wavelength of interaction with solar energy.

In addition, quantum coherence effects may play a role in the transport of energy between the pigment molecules in the light harvesting proteins. While some of their operational principles cannot be easily mimicked it is clear that there are important lessons to be learned from them for the design of optimized light harvesting systems.

Scholes summarized lessons learned from nature that could be applied to the design of synthetic energy-harvesting systems:

  • Light-harvesting systems concentrate excitations. (This was shown with the large reaction centers found in the solar energy conversion of purple bacteria.)
  • Light-harvesting modules have spectroscopic requirements (i.e., they have high absorbances and sharp absorption bands).
  • Natural spatial and energetic landscapes hint at the circuits we aim to create.
  • Excitonic states are assembled for harvesting.
  • Quantum coherence modifies the energy transfer mechanism.
  • Natural antennae are regulated, photo-protected, and robust.

However, despite all of these lessons, Scholes said that we still don't know enough about the energy-harvesting mechanisms of nature to truly create a useful synthetic energy harvester based on these observations.

Nano- and macrophotonics for space

Peter Delfyett

Keynote speaker Peter Delfyett (CREOL) is among 3,200 presenters at Optics + Photonics.

Among keynote presentations in the conference rooms, Peter Delfyett (CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics, Univ. of Central Florida) spoke about three important elements of a coherent optical signal processing system and elaborated on several applications (8164-9).

The first element is a highly stabilized diode-based fiber laser. The laser is mode locked with an internal etalon to provide 10 Ghz separated pulses. While the pulse separation is controlled by the etalon, the pulse width is controlled by the longer fiber laser cavity. In addition, a higher light extraction percentage can be achieved without degrading the Q of the cavity.

The second element of this systems is an arcsine phase modulator. By injection locking an external VCSEL laser you can achieve phase modulation that follows the arcsine curve. When combined with a traditional Mach-Zehnder splitter combiner this produces linear output as opposed to the normal cosine phased output.

The third element of the system is a direct phase detection element which also incorporates an injection locked VCSEL, this time the injected signal changes the index in the VCSEL which changes the free carrier voltage and that is proportional to the phase shift in the VCSEL. This system has applications in dense WDM telecommunication systems where you can effect wavelength switching and in long range radar systems where you can achieve distance resolution much greater than current approaches.

Silk as an optical material

Roberto Zamboni (Istituto per lo Studio dei Materiali Nanostrutturati, CNR) presented on the capabilities of silk as an optical material.

With 20% of global energy used for general illumination, he said, it's clear we need to increase efficiency. Silks, which are structured proteins produced solely by arthropods, come in three specific types and have great promise as a highly efficient material; however, the question is - how does one ramp up a technological platform based on a biological output

Zamboni showed one such solution: an 80-95% efficient and green process that begins with silk cocoons and results in a pure aqueous silk fibroin solution.

But the question then becomes: How does one control the properties of the silk? Dr. Zamboni showed that they had successfully controlled the diet of the mulberry caterpillar (for instance, by adding natural dyes to its food source) to control the resulting silk.

He then presented a number of applications for silk in optoelectronic devices. For example, silk-based organic transistors (called OLETS, based on FET architecture) show much higher brightness and current densities than traditional OLED technology.

The protein base of silk also makes silk optoelectronics optimal for bio-implanted devices for health care.

Zamboni closed by positing the converse question as Scholes: Could we use a living system (silk) to create artificial systems, rather than creating artificial systems inspired by living systems?

Future of solar? Bright!

At plenary speeches Monday focused on Solar Energy + Technology, three speakers said the future of solar power generation is bright.

Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366, a company working on new advances in the field, said changes in the price of silicon, coupled with new manufacturing technologies, may soon bring the day when solar takes over as a legitimate competitor to coal as a cheap energy source.

"The criticism has always been that solar is too expensive," van Mierlo told the audience gathered at the conference in the San Diego Convention Center. "Now, more than ever, this seems to be behind us."

Vahan Garboushian, founder, chief technology officer and chairman of the board at Amonix, Inc., said his company is hard at work installing major, utility-sized solar installations across the hot, sunny parts of the world.

"High concentration photovoltaics is the best choice for large scale solar electric generation today," Garboushian said.

Ward Bower (Sandia National Laboratories) said the new Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems (SEGIS) program will help make solar across the spectrum work better with power systems already in place.

"The whole system will make good grid connections for photovoltaics," Bower said.

Harnessing Light: what's next for photonics?

Ralph James comments at the Harnessing Light forum
Above, Ralph James comments at the Harnessing Light forum.

At the public forum to gather comments for Harnessing Light 2, dozens of attendees lined up to give input to a forthcoming National Academies report on the impact and future of photonics in the United States.

Led by committee co-chairs Paul McManamon and Alan Willner, the meeting grappled with the many challenges confronting the photonics industry, not the least of which is quantifying its impact on the national economy. A lack of reliable statistics was cited frequently, as well as the need to decide what constitutes an impact, such as when an optical system is incorporated into a product such as a car.

Attendee H. Philip Stahl emphasized in his comments that the title of the final report needed to strongly emphasize the potential for jobs, in order to get the attention of congressional leaders. M. J. Soileau agreed, saying that a "well-oiled campaign" is needed. "Get the industry to make the pitch," he said. "Show how they contribute."

John Greivenkamp, who served on the first committee to create a Harnessing Light report in 1998, said that it's "very hard to sell an enabling technology," and recommended to the current committee that the final product be brief and readable by those who many not have a high level of scientific understanding, such as congressional staffers. And he said, "avoid trying to get your favorite research project in."

Sunday 21 August

First up: plasmonics and metamaterials

Optics + Photonics started strong Sunday morning with keynote speakers including Sir John Pendry (Imperial College) in the Metamaterials conference, and Xiang Zhang (Univ. of California, Berkeley) in the Plasmonics conference.

Sir John's paper (8093-1) on transformation optics -- a process used to determine the required material properties of an optical system (or element) to achieve the desired optical propagation result --  examined the light harvester. Essentially a concentrator where all beams are brought to a point as opposed to an imaging system where all beams are brought to their reciprocal object points, the light harvester has several potential applications.

It may be applied in nonlinear optics where the concentrated field can enhance  the nonlinear properties of the material; in the detection of molecules where a very concentrated spot is required for imaging; and in solar cells where the goal is to collect as much light as possible on a photovoltaic.

Using enhanced resonant plasmonics results in a narrow band (wavelength region) concentration, but a metamaterials approach can lead to a broad band solution.

Zhang (8096-1) reported on recent developments in plasmonics.

A problem of current interest is the enhancement of the optical cavity metric Q/V; where Q is the quality factor and V is the cavity volume. This has relevance from lasers to spectroscopy.

Some examples of high metric cavities are micro-disc and micro-ring cavities, the plasmonic Fabry-Pérot can reduce the volume to sub-wavelength, but the cavity Qs are also reduced.

The use of metamaterials such as a multilayer metal-dielectric stack produces deep sub-wavelength confinement. The challenge remains to engineer the materials for higher Q.

Zhang also discussed recent results in nanowire laser research.

A Tribute to Joseph W. Goodman

A Tribute to Joseph Goodman

Conference chairs H. John Caulfield, Alabama A&M University and Henri H. Arsenault, University Laval organized "A Tribute to Joseph W. Goodman" in the NanoScience + Engineering program. A luncheon was held for 35 people to honor his long-time contributions to optics and photonics. Goodman is William Ayer Professor Emeritus at Stanford Univ.

Student and Early Career Professionals in the spotlight

SPIE Student and Early Career Professional Keynote Luncheon


The SPIE Student and Early Career Professional Keynote Luncheon was well-attended. Aydogan Ozcan (Univ. of California, Los Angeles) presented a talk on "Photonics Based Telemedicine Technologies toward Smart Global Health Systems." Ozcan's group has developed technology enabling low-cast cellphone-based field analysis of diseases such as malaria.

New data on exoplanets

In the first of two astronomical optics plenary talks, Jon Jenkins (NASA Ames Research Center) reviewed the achievements of the Kepler mission, launched in 2009. Jenkins, who is co-investigator for data analysis for the mission, said Kepler has "initiated an explosion of exoplanet research, effectively tripling the number of known exoplanets" since the first announcement of its discoveries in January of this year. He also said that it has given researchers a first glimpse of solar variability -- many stars are quieter than our Sun but most are noisier, he said.

The mission for Kepler is to find terrestrial planets around other suns and to answer the questions of their size and orbit, if they are habitable and what if any is the dependence on the stellar properties of stars with planetary systems.

To do this it observes many thousands of stars and looks for slight dimming of their light as a planet passes between the star and the Kepler orbiting telescope. The instrument has to be able to resolve 20 parts per million in light change in order to account for other sources of error. It makes measurements in half-hour intervals and originally was planned to search the skies for three years.

To date it has discovered hundreds of orbiting planets. Many of the systems have multiple planets, much like our own solar system and their characteristics are similar in that the planets orbit in a plane.

One of the greatest challenges of the mission is the handling of the immense amount of data from the observations. They use several data compression and coding methods to keep the problem manageable. At its current rate of operation it is believed it could continue to take data for at least eight years, which would be enough time for it to complete its mission.

Standard-setting by the Large Binary Telescope

In the second astronomical optics plenary, Simone Esposito (Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri) spoke about the commissioning of the First Light Adaptive Optics system on the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) on Mt. Graham in Arizona, saying it has set a new standard in ground-based astronomical AO systems.

The LBT has twin 8.4 meter mirrors with the light combined and adaptive optic (AO) secondary mirror. The secondary has 672 actuators that deform the mirror-thin reflective shell to correct for aberrations introduced by the object light passing through the atmosphere.

It can use either a true guide star located close to the object of interest to calibrate and control the actuators or a laser guide star created in the upper atmosphere. With its adaptive optics corrective system, it can resolve binary stars with separation as small as 42 milliarcseconds and has already shown it can better the imaging capability of the Hubble Space telescope by resolving many more stars in distant star clusters, such as M92.

Novel medical applications for nanotechnology

SPIE President Katarina Svanberg and Naomi Halas

Above, SPIE President Katarina Svanberg (Lund Univ. Hospital), left, introduces plenary speaker Naomi Halas.

Naomi Halas
(Rice Univ.), first of two all-symposium plenary speakers, touched on three topics in nanotechnology: nanoantennas, lineshape engineering and nano-particles in medicine.

Nanoantennas can be constructed from nanowires or rods and their physical geometry determines the resonant frequency of the light source that they absorb. A potential application is in extending the absorption range, in wavelength, of photovoltaics. By proper design they can collect energy from light whose wavelength is beyond the normal band edge of semiconductors and therefor produce more efficient solar cells.

In a similar fashion, nanoparticles can be grouped in many combinations to produce highly tunable resonances which can be used to create very sensitive sensors for environmental, chemical or biological monitoring.

Nanoparticles, of biocompatible material such as gold, can be sensitized to collect in regions of the body where cancer is present. The particle size and composition are designed so they are resonant (and therefor absorb light) at wavelengths which are in the transparent water window of the body. An external light source can then be used to excite these particles thermally to heat up to a temperature that destroys the local cancer cells.

Recent studies have extended this technique to brain cancers. The nanoparticles are taken up by microphage's (check on the spelling of this) that can pass thru the blood brain barrier and associate themselves with the cancerous cells. This is an important result because metastatic brain cancer is often the result of cancer elsewhere in the body.

Organic electronics for artificial skin

Plenary speaker Zhenan Bao

Above, all-symposium plenary speaker Zhenan Bao.

Zhenan Bao (Stanford Univ.), the second all-symposium plenary speaker, reported on organic transistor-based sensors for flexible artificial electronic skin.

Robots of the future will interact more closely with human partners. It is important that this interaction takes place in a familiar and non-harmful way. An electronic skin material that provides the robot with a sense (and control) of touch is one way to insure this.

Bao's' lab is using organic transistors integrated into a stretchable, flexible material to provide this 'skin' with sensing capabilities. The touch sensor is composed of a transistor design where the capacitive material between the gate and drain of the transistor is compressible, so that as the material experiences pressure the characteristics of the transistor is changed and can be monitored.

This artificial skin can have a touch sensitivity 1/1000 that of humans. This could also lead to precision controlled medical instruments for surgery. Other sensing modalities can be incorporated in this skin to include sensing for chemical and biological agents. Applications include military, food safety, robotics, environmental monitoring and many more.

Optics Outreach Olympics: competitive mentoring

Optics Outreach Olympics

SPIE President-Elect Eustace Dereniak gets a demonstration from one of dozens of outreach teams who participated in this year's Optics Outreach Olympics. The goal is to showcase effective, innovative educational activities organized by SPIE Student Chapters to present at schools in their communities.


Saturday 20 August

Shaping the future: Student Leadership Workshop

First up at Optics + Photonics: the future! Aydogan Ozcan (Univ. of California, Los Angeles), whose group has developed a way to include cell phones in a telemedicine network providing an inexpensive field test for malaria and other diseases, will give the keynote talk to the nearly 200 SPIE Student Chapter leaders participating in a weekend workshop.

 With the addition of 14 new Student Chapters this year, SPIE now sponsors more than 172 Student Chapters comprising more than  5,000 members in 36 countries. Students stay in touch via Twitter @SPIEstudents, Facebook.com/SPIE.Students, and the Student News on SPIE.org.

SPIE Student Leadership
SPIE student chapter leaders from around the world gathered on Saturday for the SPIE Student Chapter Leadership Workshop. The lively interaction was facilitated by Dr. Sherry Nooravi, Principal of Strategy Meets Performance. Student leaders worked on chapter problem solving, serving as a motivation to return to their chapters with new skills that they're eager to share with their peers.