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Optics and photonics experts and innovators convene at SPIE Photonics West

BELLINGHAM, WA, USA - 1 February 2008 - Top researchers, developers, and applications experts in optoelectronic materials and devices, lasers, micro- and nanofabrication, and biomedical optics shared new ideas and solutions at SPIE Photonics West in San Jose, California, last week. An international crowd of 17,570 heard nearly 3,200 presentations in 85 conferences and networked with almost 1,200 exhibitors during the event.

The economy was a major theme in industry-focused sessions, with presenters sounding positive regarding areas such as laser materials processing, solar energy, and new light-based medical therapies. As an example, Mark Sobey, senior vice president of specialty laser systems for Coherent, pointed out that "There's almost no part of the iPhone®  that does not use laser processing." Sobey was among participants in an executive panel on directions in the photonics market.

Another panelist, Randy Heyler, senior director of strategic marketing for Newport, said that incentives from the Japanese and German governments have stimulated growth by creating a level of volume necessary to bring prices down as consumers become more interested in green energy. "The development of the photovoltaic area has been probably the most exciting," he said, noting that there are opportunities in the semiconductor industry as well.

Synergy between industry and research at Photonics West continues to provide high value. "I get most of my problems solved here by talking to exhibitors and researchers," said Abdulhakem Elezzabi, professor at the University of Alberta.

"We found our supplier, Aculight, three years ago at Photonics West and we've been collaborating ever since. They were able to build the laser we needed for our application: stimulating neural tissue-using light to talk to neurons," said E. Duco Jansen of Vanderbilt University. The potential for such applications is in development of treatments to restore neural function.


Video interviews given at the event are being posted on the SPIE Newsroom

  • Michael Krames, Philips Lumileds, on "High-power LEDs for solid state lighting"
  • Rudiger Brockmann, Trumpf, on "High-power disk laser"
  • Eduardo Margallo-Balbas, Technical University Delft, on "Miniature OCT system based on silicon photonics"
  • Henry Hess, University of Florida, on "Biomolecular motors challenge imaging and enable sensing"
  • Harold Craighead, Cornell University, on "Optically transduced MEMS resonators"
  • H. Frederick Dylla, American Institute of Physics, on "Building coherence in collaboration".

Several new activities were added this year, including receptions for Early Career Professionals and for SPIE members, and optics cluster activities. Another exhibition hall was added to help accommodate the increase in exhibiting companies this year. Even with the added space, the exhibition was sold out with more companies on a waiting list.

"Photonics West continues to be cited and referenced in many sources as the most important photonics event in North America," said SPIE Senior Director of Events and Global Services Janice Walker. "The technical program continues to be very well received, with many of the traditional topics growing in scope and others gaining interest in line with technology developments."

SPIE Photonics West will return to the San Jose Convention Center 24-29 January 2009. It was announced during the event that Photonics West will move to the Moscone Center in San Francisco in 2010, in the same late-January timeframe. The event continues to grow each year, and is exceeding capacity in San Jose. The announcement met with positive reactions, particularly from exhibitors. William Yang of BaySpec said, "This is very positive news. Moscone is large enough to accommodate all of us on the same floor. The move in 2010 will be good for both exhibitors and visitors."

Conference proceedings manuscripts are being published online in the SPIE Digital Library. The SPIE Digital Library contains more than 250,000 articles on optics and photonics research, with approximately 20,000 new journal and proceedings articles added each year.

Daily reports from SPIE staff at the meeting are archived online at http://spie.org/x2587.xml

About SPIE

SPIE is an international society advancing an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light. Serving the interests of its more than 188,000 active constituents representing 138 different countries, SPIE acts as a catalyst for collaboration among technical disciplines for information exchange, continuing education, publishing opportunities, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. As the organizer and sponsor of approximately 26 major conferences and education programs annually in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific, SPIE provides publishing, speaking, and learning opportunities on emerging technologies. For more information, visit SPIE.org