Orlando World Center Marriott Resort and Convention Center
    Orlando, Florida, United States
    16 - 20 March 2008
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       Thursday, 20 March
       Wednesday, 19 March
       Tuesday, 18 March
       Monday, 17 March

    Thursday 20 March 2008

    High energy hallmarks DSS week in Orlando

    The well attended, high-energy SPIE Defense + Security 2008 closed today in Orlando, with plans already in the works for enhancing next year's event.

    "The 2009 Defense, Security, and Sensing meeting will build on the success of this year's program," said incoming symposium chair Ray Johnson of Lockheed Martin. "In 2009, we will incorporate the former Optics East sensing topics into the DSS meeting to leverage the technical convergence available from the two symposia."

    Larry Stotts of DARPA was symposium chair for the 2008 event. Among the highlights were talks by the Honorable Jay M. Cohen, Under Secretary for Science and Technology in the Department of Homeland Security; Sir John Chisholm, Chairman of QinetiQ Ltd.; and Delores M. Etter, Office of Naval Research Distinguished Chair in Science and Technology, Electrical Engineering Department, U.S. Naval Academy.

    Busy exhibitors report excellent contacts

    Exhibitors said they have enjoyed “great leads, excellent traffic, and good support” at the SPIE Defense + Security exhibition this week. Here are some comments heard on the show floor.

    The SPIE Works Career Fair gave companies and prospective employees alike an avenue for discussing their shared interests and goals.
    “We are very happy with the show,” said George Woodruff of Geo Systems, Inc. “We’ve had excellent networking and great visibility. This is our favorite show of the year.”

    Numbers were up for this year’s show over last year, with more exhibit visitors and more exhibitors. A total of 463 companies exhibited.

    Geo Systems was among the companies in a Robotics and Unmanned Systems Pavilion in the exhibition.

    FLIR Systems, Inc., representatives, whose booth décor featured a fleet of motorcycles, said they were very pleased with reactions to their new Photon 640 products: “Our ‘Harley’ night vision theme has been the talk of the show.”

    A special Robotics and Unmanned Vehicles Pavilion gave attendees a closeup look at the latest projects.
    “We continue to be impressed by the quality of companies represented,” said Jeff Koch of Umicore Optical Materials. “We plan the release of new programs like GASIR and our iDLC coating around this show.”

    The Florida Research Consortium brought a strong regional angle to the event, with its co-located Florida Innovation Showcase 2008. The consortium is a not-for-profit strategic partnership among Florida’s universities, the business community, and state government.

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    Wednesday 19 March 2008

    Innovation leadership is evolving, says QinetiQ chair Chisholm

    Innovation is the basis of survival and progress for humankind, and the model of innovation as we know it is in the midst of an evolutionary burst that will change it profoundly, Sir John Chisholm, chairman of QinetiQ Ltd. told an audience at SPIE Defense + Security on Wednesday.

    Sir John Chisholm, chair of QinetiQ Ltd., spoke on Innovation and the Wealth of Nations on Wednesday evening.
    Chisholm said that in the world’s current Innovation Age economy, wealth is driven by competitive success in innovation that is limited only by skills, resources, and regulations. While countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. have been innovation and economic leaders, the current balance of wealth is being impacted by increased growth in developing economies. Countries whose size once led them to dominate the world GDP can be expected to do so once again, with China, India, Brazil, and Russia moving into the lead.

    For leadership in the future world economy, government, industry, and associations need to work together and become better still at technological advancement and at combining emerging technologies in new ways, Chisholm said. “The winners will be those who bring it all together.”

    The world economy is not a zero-sum game, Chisholm noted. “The development of wealth in developing countries is to all our benefit,” and will enable “a better balance of power.”

    Plenary Session
    Radar Horizons

    Joseph R. Guerci, a consultant with a long history of R&D of advanced sensor systems in industry, academic, and government settings—including seven years with DARPA—presented a plenary on recent advancements in radar technology.

    Joseph Guerci explains future capabilities of radar technology for the defense and security industries.
    Guerci mentioned a comment attributed to a senior government official back in 2001 that “radar is a dead field.” Guerci went on to discuss the advancements in the field since that time and address the opportunity to take advantage of these advancements in the design of new systems for optimization of detection.

    Advancements in technology are continuously contributing to the improvement of radar systems. The digital arbitrary waveform generators (DAWGs) have opened the opportunity to design the transmission waveform to optimize for specific targets and conditions. Advanced electronic scan arrays (AESAs) are redefining how antenna arrays can be adapted to meet mission requirements. High-performance electronic computing is greatly contributing to the analysis of returned signals, and the miniaturization of components and systems has opened the application space to handheld as well as autonomous vehicles as platforms for radar systems. All of these advancements and more are providing new opportunities and expanding the horizons for radar of the future.

    Keep students in science and math classes, urges banquet speaker

    The United States is headed for crisis if it does not develop a strong pool of young people trained in science, math, and engineering, said banquet speaker Delores M. Etter, Office of Naval Research Distinguished Chair in Science and Technology, Electrical Engineering Department, U.S. Naval Academy, on Wednesday evening at the SPIE Defense and Security Symposium.

    Etter said that a strength she has seen in visits to research labs across the country is in the diversity among recent hires — diversity in gender, age, ethnicity, and location. “We need diversity in order to improve the level of creativity and innovation needed for the future,” she said.

    However, she said, overall numbers of U.S. graduates are down and the pool of workers is decreasing for the future at the same time challenges for innovation are increasing.

    Etter listed examples of kindergarten through high programs, teacher sabbaticals and mentorships at universities, internships, job shadowing, and other ways for members of the audience and other engineers and scientists to meet the challenge of becoming involved in building an educated pool.

    Etter was presented with the DSS Lifetime Achievement Award during the banquet. She has taught at University of Colorado, Boulder, the University of New Mexico, and the U.S. Naval Academy, and has been a Visiting Professor at Stanford University. As Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology, she was responsible for strategic planning, program execution and evaluation, and budget allocation with DoD.

    Past President Soileau is awarded SPIE Gold Medal

    Several SPIE awards were presented by SPIE President Kevin Harding at the 2008 awards banquet, including the SPIE Gold Medal, the Society’s highest honor.

    The Gold Medal was awarded to M. J. Soileau, vice president of University of Central Florida’s Office of Research and Commercialization and founding director of CREOL—The College of Optics and Photonics at UCF. The award recognizes Soileau’s extraordinary dedication and service to optics education, research, and administration, along with his scientific contributions in the areas of laser-induced damage and sensor protecting devices. Soileau is a Past President of SPIE.

    Shin-Tson Wu, provost-distinguished professor of optics at the UCF College of Optics and Photonics, received the G.G. Stokes award for his exceptional contribution to the field of optical polarization. Wu’s liquid crystal lens technology has been licensed for use in commercial and military applications and, most recently, medical applications.

    Leon Glebov, a senior research scientist at the UCF College of Optics and Photonics, was awarded the Dennis Gabor Award for outstanding accomplishments in technologies relating to the bending of lightwaves.

    Bahram Javidi, distinguished professor at the University of Connecticut, was awarded the Technology Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding technical contributions in optical security systems, 3D image recognition, 3D display, 3D visualization, and recognition of biological micro-organisms using 3D imaging systems.

    Sanjay Krishna, associate professor at the University of New Mexico, was given the Early Career Achievement Award winner in recognition of his tremendous contributions to the development of midinfrared focal plane arrays using self-assembled quantum dots in a well (DWELL) design.

    New SPIE Fellows named

    SPIE is recognizing the election of 72 new Fellows throughout the year, with announcements for each made at the SPIE meeting chosen by each individual. Eight new SPIE Fellows were recognized by SPIE President Kevin Harding at the DSS08 awards banquet:
    • Erik Blasch, Air Force Research Laboratory
    • Howard Brandt, Army Research Laboratory
    • David Chenault, Polaris Sensor Technologies
    • Keith Krapels, Office of Naval Research
    • Mubarek Shah, University of Central Florida
    • Joseph Shaw, Montana State University
    • Meimei Tidrow, Missile Defense Agency
    • Scott Tyo, University of Arizona
    Fellows are Members of distinction who have made significant scientific and technical contributions in the multidisciplinary fields of optics, photonics, and imaging. They are honored for their technical achievement and for their service to the general optics community and to SPIE in particular.

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    Tuesday 18 March 2008

    The Honorable Jay Cohen delivers plenary

    Watch an interview with Jay Cohen, taped at the meeting

    “I am a venture capitalist for science and technology,” the Honorable Jay M. Cohen, Under Secretary for Science and Technology in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, told an overflowing audience in Tuesday morning’s symposium-wide plenary presentation at the SPIE Defense + Security Symposium (DSS) in Orlando, FL. Cohen pointed out that recent federal budget actions funding have made science and technology programs in the department “a growth industry.”

    Cohen congratulated DSS attendees for providing solutions by developing the technology and applications to meet security needs and continue progress toward technology solutions that detect “hostility of intent” before attacks can be made.

    The Honorable Jay Cohen spoke to an enthralled crowd on Tuesday morning.
    Activities throughout the six basic areas of his portfolio for basic research—Explosives; Human Factors; Command, Control, and Interoperability; Chemical / Biological; Infrastructure / Geophysical; and Border / Maritime—coordinate with the needs and strengths of regional law enforcement agencies and other research-oriented government agencies within and outside the United States, Cohen said. “We have memoranda of understanding with six countries.”

    For example, the chemical/biological group is developing forensics capabilities that would detect traces of explosives on subway tickets and quickly alert authorities, calling such novel bio-assay techniques “CSI on steroids.”

    Cohen said that the U.S. is facing a crisis in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, and urged the SPIE audience to help address the problem. “Boys and girls are turning away from science and math, saying they’re too hard, and a majority of teachers are not certified in science and math,” he said. “So where is the ‘To Sir, With Love’? We all had that teacher who inspired us.”

    SPIE President Kevin Harding speaking with a table of early career professionals.
    SPIE Early Career Professional (ECP) members gathered to network with each other and SPIE leadership Tuesday after the technical sessions on Tuesday. SPIE created the ECP membership status this year, for qualified recent graduates starting their careers in optics and photonics, to provide resources and networking opportunities for those just beginning their careers.

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    Monday 17 March 2008

    All 13 program tracks at SPIE Defense + Security 2008 opened with conference activity Monday morning, including two with track plenary talks.

    Space Technologies and Operations

    Rendezvous with an asteroid
    Prof. Hitoshi Kuninaka of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) described the microwave discharge ion engine technology developed for the deep-space flight of the Hayabusa asteroid explorer launched in 2003 and due to return to Earth in 2010. Hayabusa, which touched down on the asteroid Itokawa in 2005, is the first spacecraft designed to land on an asteroid and then take off and return to Earth. Shortly after touchdown, Hayabusa experienced a fuel leak and loss of power and communications, but new software to control attitude helped facilitate the redirection of the spacecraft.

    A second plenary talk in the Space Technologies and Operations track is scheduled for Tuesday morning.


    Chuck Antonio in a lively plenary session on Monday morning.
    Recent advances have increased the complexity of visual imagery in night vision goggles and helmet-mounted displays. Flight surgeon and pilot Dr. Joseph (Chuck) Antonio of the Naval Air Warfare Center told the plenary audience about problems associated with this new level of complexity, and discussed training concerns and possible mitigation strategies that might be employed in design, manufacture, and testing of future systems.

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    Visual Analytics

    One technical area covered at SPIE Defense + Security starting Monday is Visual Analytics. This domain spans exploratory data analysis to presentation, and is described as the science of analytical reasoning facilitated by interactive visual displays. Visual analytics involves massive datasets, time-series statistics, transaction streams, geospatial/GIS systems, high-volume imagery, sensor data, text streams and interactive visualization tools. After watching the opening tutorial on this topic, W. Rhys Macbeth, Staff Analyst, Technology Planning, Macauly Brown, Inc., said, "This morning's tutorial session on Visual Analytics was worth the price of admission by itself."

    This is one of the new "Hot Topics" sessions, formally titled Visual Analytics for Homeland Defense and Security. It began Monday with a tutorial and review of examples ranging from infrastructure threat detection to money-laundering, presented by William Tolone and William Ribarsky, both with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Seven technical papers comprised the remainder of the session, including these topics: geospatial data fusion, using LIDAR to detect changes in battlefield conditions, collaborative visualization, computation and visualization for reconnaissance, visualizing uncertainty in a global terrorism database, human posture classification for intelligence visual surveillance, and using visual analysis to discover entity relationships within global terrorism databases. Much of this work is supports the research agenda outlined in Illuminating the Path: The Research and Development Agenda for Visual Analytics.

    Other Hot Topics that will be happening this week at SPIE Defense + Security include Food Safety, Resource Restricted Embedded and Sensor Networks, Forensic Science: Emerging Needs, and 3D Imaging and Display.

    Social events allow attendees to network with colleagues
    More than 30 attended the Women in Optics luncheon, many returnees, and all enjoyed the opportunity to network. Left to right, Meimei Tidrow, Missile Defense Agency, and Manijeh Razeghi, Northwestern University.

    One of the hallmarks of an SPIE event is the numerous opportunities for networking and socializing outside of the conference rooms. The conference organizers feel that the informal gatherings allow attendees to round out the classical training and education they're receiving in the conference and course rooms.

    On Monday, there were lunches for the Women in Optics group, which supports and promotes the careers of women working in the field, and a Student Lunch with the Experts, which gives students an opportunity to mingle with leaders in the field, who can offer advice and some great stories about their own paths to discovery.

    Conference sessions lively, some standing room only

    Some conference highlights from day one in Orlando:

    Third-generation infrared optics (Paper 6940-25)
    Jay Vizgaitis, U.S. Army Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate

    Third generation IR imaging systems present multiple challenges to the optics community. Third generation systems will be dual band operation. That is, they will image in both the 3- to 5-micron band as well as the 7- to 10-micron band. In addition, they will have two different fields of view. The purpose of the enhanced imaging is to incorporate both active imaging and search mode in the same instrument. To do this, the optics must handle both a wide field of view as well as fast optics (large NA) imaging. One challenging area is in the lens design where mirror and achromatized systems have to be used to avoid the shift of focus with the changing wavelength; also, the design has to enable the multiple fields of view. Another challenging area is the coatings for the optical surface. The enhanced optical designs require more lenses and surfaces that have to be coated for the dual wavelength operation. Current coating technology only affords about 50 percent throughput for a 7-lens system. The challenge goal for coatings is to raise this to 80% overall. Assembly and test are another challenging area for these third generation systems. The alignment operation will involve iterating between the wavelength bands and fields of view to optimize the systems performance. Even as these challenges are being addressed there is talk of the 4th generation IR imaging systems with will be Tri-band to allow for search mode in two separate wavelength bands.
    Table of Dr. Gerald Holst, second from right, at the busy Student Lunch with the Experts.

    High brightness semiconductor lasers from 780-1800nm (Paper 6952-7)
    Paul T. Rudy, et al., QPC Lasers, Inc.

    Laser diodes have been limited in spatial brightness mostly due to catastrophic facet damage, due to the intense field at the laser facet. QPC has solved this problem by growing a passivated region near the laser facet that eliminates all defects, which were believed the source of the facet failure. With this technique they have achieved very impressive laser diode powers. At 780 nm they have single diodes that generate 6 watts and have applied this technology to their bar lasers to achieve 90 watts in a pulsed mode (300 microseconds at 100 Hz).

    They have also improved the spectral brightness by integrating an internal grating in the diode structure. With this design they can achieve greater 330 W CW from a 6 laser bar structure into a 200 micron core fiber at 976nm with a bandwidth of 0.4 nm. This device will provide increased pump efficiency due to its narrow spectral width and matching the wavelength with the absorption peak of the doped fiber amplifier. They also have achieved 9 watts at 1064nm single mode which can be used frequency doubling to generate green light for laser TV applications. Finally, at 1550nm they have achieved 1.6 W single mode for applications in free space communication and lidar imaging applications.

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