San Diego Convention Center
    San Diego, California, United States
    10 - 14 August 2008
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    On this page:
       Thursday 14 August
       Wednesday 13 August
       Tuesday 12 August
       Monday 11 August
       Sunday 10 August
       Saturday 9 August

    Thursday 14 August 2008

    Satisfying Intellectual Curiosity—And Industry Exhibitors
    SPIE Optics+Photonics 2008 drew 4,812 attendees this year, an impressive number for an even-year symposium. In even years, conferences on Astronomical Instrumentation and related topics are held in a separate venue (this year, in Marseille, France).

    Event Manager Marilyn Gorsuch observed that SPIE Optics+Photonics drew a truly "intellectually curious" crowd. "Not everyone is working in solar or nanotechnology or solid-state lighting, but they turn up to the plenary sessions just to learn more about what is going on," she said.

    Gorsuch also touted the inter-disciplinary character of the meeting: "the solar plenary speaker is talking about nanotechnology, the nano plenary speaker is talking about applications for solar, and so on. These links crop up everywhere throughout the week."

    Exhibitors had plenty to be happy about as well. In the words of Luc De Brouckere of XenICs, “I saw plenty of existing clients here and many new prospects.”

    Dennis Scott of Noren Products also had a successful exhibition: "OP has been very good. We got 300 good, quality leads in the first 1.5 days of the show."

    SPIE Optics+Photonics 2009 will return to the San Diego Convention Center and run 2-6 August.

    Strong Leads, Busy Aisles
    Exhibitors are saying that this year’s Optics+Photonics exhibition is more than living up to its reputation for yielding plenty of strong leads. In the words of one, “We got more leads on Day One than we have in any previous years here.”

    "Nearly all of our customers are at Optics+Photonics," said Linda Bechtold of OptiPro. She went on to explain that mix of middle management and shop personnel who attend the event is also an asset.

    It’s a good experience for shoppers as well. “I came with a list of things I need to buy,” said SPIE Fellow Gordon Mitchell of Future Focus. “What is nice about this exhibition compared to just looking on the internet is that if the booth you’re visiting doesn’t have what you need, they will refer you to the booth across the aisle so you can find the best fit. I get to speak to suppliers in person, and everyone is very relaxed.” Mitchell’s company builds prototype devices.

    Awarding and Supporting Innovation
    Optics+Photonics exhibitors have expressed enthusiasm about two new programs supporting innovation being introduced to them this week.

    SPIE and Laurin Publishing have launched Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation to recognize products or processes that are first-to-market between September 2007 and September 2008. Submissions in nine categories are due by 12 September for awards to be made 28 January 2009 at SPIE Photonics West in San Jose, CA. See more information at

    The SPIE Innovation Summit on 6 November will feature industry leaders from biophotonics, solar technology, and next-generation lighting offering insights on leveraging intellectual property into profit. Keynote speaker will be Henry Chesbrough, author of Open Innovation and Executive Director of the Center of Open Innovation at the Institute of Management, Innovation and Organization Management of Technology Program at University of California, Berkeley (UCB). The summit will be held at the San Francisco, CA, Airport Marriott Hotel.

    Among more than a dozen other presenters are Joseph Goodman, William Ayer Professor Emeritus, Stanford University; George Craford, Chief Technology Officer, Lumlieds; Lesa Mitchell, Vice President, Kauffman Foundation; and Richard Swanson, President and Chief Technology Officer, Sun Power. Stephen Eglash, President and CEO of Cyrium Technologies, is the SPIE Photonics Innovation chair. Event sponsor is SPIE, with cooperating organizations UCB Haas School of Business and the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). More information is at

    Wednesday 13 August 2008

    Awards Banquet Recognizes Member Contributions and Committment
    The 2008 SPIE Awards Banquet commenced with a gala reception in the President's Suite. SPIE Officers and Board members, new Fellows of the Society, award winners and guests were enjoyed hors d'oeuvres and spectacular views from the 25th floor of the San Diego Marriott & Marina.

    SPIE President-Elect Maria Yzuel opened the banquet with a "thank you" to the conference chairs whose incredible efforts and hard work make SPIE Optics + Photonics such a success.

    SPIE President Kevin Harding served as master of ceremonies addressed the audience next. He spoke of students and early-career professionals as the future of the society and the world, and being proud that the Society actively supports all levels of student involvement.

    Robert Fischer and Graham Brewis then gave a touching tribute to Warren J. Smith, who passed away in June of this year.

    The 2008 D.J. Lovell Scholarship was presented to Nikolay Makarov for his potential long-range contributions to the field of optics, photonics, and related disciplines. Mr. Makarov is a Ph.D. candidate at the Montana State University and a founder of the SPIE Student Chapter there. At $11,000, the D.J. Lovell Scholarship is SPIE’s largest scholastic award and is sponsored by SPIE with contributions from Labsphere, Inc.

    Sixteen new Fellows were inducted at the Banquet, bringing the total to 72 new SPIE Fellows in 2008. SPIE Fellows are members who are recognized for making significant technical and scientific contributions in optics and photonics.

    John Gille with the National Center for Atmospheric Research was awarded the George W. Goddard Award in recognition of his outstanding research and significant accomplishments building instruments and interpreting results in the monitoring of the atmosphere.

    The 2008 SPIE Directors’ Award was presented to James Harrington in recognition of his remarkable dedication to SPIE. Harrington has a long track record of valuable service on the Board of Directors and SPIE Committees. In addition, he was recognized for his continued commitment to the growth and integrity of SPIE and to the optical engineering community more generally.

    The 2008 SPIE President’s Award was presented to Robert A. Lieberman in recognition of his distinguished service and extraordinary leadership in building SPIE Optics East into one of the premier events for the scientific community. He has also played an instrumental role in facilitating the transition of Optics East conferences to SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing for 2009 and beyond.

    The SPIE Awards Banquet concluded with a keynote speech by 2008 SPIE Gold Medal Award Winner Dr. M.J. Soileau. Soileau received his PhD in Quantum Electronics from the University of Southern California, is currently Professor of Optics, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics and Vice President for Research at the University of Central Florida. He is a Past President and Fellow of SPIE, and previously received the SPIE Director’s Award.

    Soileau described his “Creole boy” perspective, including his path to a career in optics, his interpretation of the development of Central Florida's College of Optics and Photonics, his perspective on how optics is an engine for wealth creation in knowledge-based industries, and his projection for how the academic world and the business world can work together to make the 21st century the century of the photon.

    Conference Honors Larry Dalton

    SPIE Immediate Past President Brian
    Culshaw (L) presents Larry Dalton with
    a Certificate of Life Membership.
    A tribute conference honoring the contributions of Prof. Larry Dalton, University of Washington culminated with Dalton giving a historical perspective on his field, organic electro-optical materials, which he said are “absolutely critical to our next great technology revolution.”

    Dalton explained that organic electro-optical materials will play a key role in maintaining economic and technological leadership. “We’re going to have to integrate photonics, microfluidics and biosensor capability on chips, and this is really going to create a revolution in our lives,” he said.

    Tuesday 12 August 2008

    William H. Price Scholarship Recipients Reunite

    Past recipients (left to right) Julie L. Bentley, Rich Youngworth, and Costin Curatu posed for a photograph with Margie Price, William Price’s widow.
    A reception for the 2008 winner of the William H. Price Scholarship in Optical Engineering provided the backdrop for a reunion of sorts among past scholarship recipients.

    Past recipients of the award compared notes on their research and careers. Julie L. Bentley serves as advanced conceptual design manager and senior optical designer at Corning while Rich Youngworth is working at Light Capture. Costin Curatu juggles his professional and academic careers, working as an intra-ocular lens and singlet designer at Alcon in Fort Worth, Texas, while finishing his PhD at UCF-CREOL.

    This year’s Price award recipient is Ozan Cakmakci of the University of Central Florida.

    SPIE earlier announced that the William H. Price Scholarship has been renamed the Optical Design and Engineering Scholarship. The scholarship now will honor both Price and Warren Smith, legends in optical design. Its scope will also be expanded to recognize prominent individuals who have made significant contributions over their careers to the field of optical design and engineering, with emphasis on lens design.

    Exhibition Opens Bigger Than Ever

    With 279 exhibiting companies from some 20 countries, this year’s Optics+Photonics exhibition opened Tuesday morning as the largest ever held with the annual symposium. Companies include optical fabricators, lens designers, software makers, optical fiber makers, optical test and measurement equipment builders, optical materials and substrates producers, and optical detector manufacturers.

    The Viking XX, an award-winning solar car built by students in Western Washington University's Vehicle Research Institute, is on display in the exhibit hall, underscoring a theme of sustainable energy and lighting systems and components in the exhibition.

    Solid State Lighting and OLED Plenary Session Highlights Challenges and Innovations
    The lives of billions of people the world over can be radically improved with inexpensive, long-lasting, sustainably powered solid-state lighting, Solid State Lighting and OLEDs track plenary speaker Dave Irvine-Halliday of the University of Calgary (Canada) told his audience Tuesday morning.

    Dave Irvine-Halliday displays
    examples of solid state lighting.
    He also is a founder of the Light Up The World foundation, a not-for-profit organization that uses renewable energy and solid-state lighting to provide safe, efficient illumination in areas without access to power for adequate lighting. Because the lighting systems cost about the same amount as a year’s supply of the kerosene currently used for light, heat, and cooking, many people are able to take advantage of micro-loan programs and pay the full cost of the systems for their homes.

    A fundamental mission of the foundation is to ensure that children will have light in the evening by which to study, Irvine-Halliday said: “Without education, you can’t do anything.” A video interview with Irvine-Halliday will be posted on the SPIE Newsroom shortly after the event

    Mark E. Thompson of the University of Southern California gave a plenary talk on the use of heavy metal in OLEDs, offering possible solutions to the current challenges to using OLEDs as lighting sources. He explained that currently, there are many issues to overcome: OLEDs must be efficient sources, they must have a good lifetime, they must have good white balance, and they must have high surface luminance at low cost.

    Thompson went on to explain that, instead of using RGB sources side-by-side or stacking transparent RGB devices, his work focuses on the chemistry of mixing emitters in a single device. He offered examples triple-doped devices and combined florescent/phosphorescent devices. Thompson's talk illustrated that there are many different ways to achieve acceptable electrophosporescence and that materials development is critical for the advancement of new lighting devices.

    Sanjay Krishna of the University of New Mexico discussed the concept of an infrared retina for remote sensing applications and how one could make such a device. Unlike current focal plane arrays that are mostly used for a single color, and have a uniform spacing of detecting elements, the retina model relies on non-uniform distribution of photosensitive pixels with a highly concentrated active region. Krishna showed how this active region could be composed of quantum dots placed in InGaAs wells in what are called "quantum dots in a well" detectors, or composed of nBn detectors based on InAs/GaSb type-II strain layer superlattices.

    Plenary Focuses on MODIS for Detecting and Managing Wildfires
    Wei Min Hao of the United States Forest Service told a plenary audience on Tuesday that smoke dispersion from wildfires varies based on what’s burning, making them harder to predict than industrial fires. The MODIS program incorporates data including atmospheric conditions, fuel on the ground, and other variables to predict volume and direction of the smoke. The resulting models and predictions can help air traffic improve efficiency.

    Monday 11 August 2008

    Women in Optics Speaker Urges New Strategies for Communicating Science
    Scientists need the public to understand what they're doing, so that good personal and public policy decisions can be made in an increasingly technologically driven world, science writer Margaret Wertheim told an overflow audience at the Women in Optics reception Monday evening.
    Margaret Wertheim discusses strategies for promoting public undersanding of science
    at the Women in Optics reception.

    Wertheim said that while understanding science, and in particular physics, provides a way of understanding ourselves, there is also the “beauty, wonder, and power” of science to appreciate.

    Wertheim has authored numerous books on the cultural impacts of physics, currently contributes to the New York Times and Los Angeles Times), and lectures widely at universities and colleges around the world. She co-founded the Institute For Figuring (IFF), which promotes public understanding of the poetic and aesthetic dimensions of science and mathematics

    Plenary Sessions Feature Nano and Solar Technologies
    The Nanoscience and Engineering Plenary session provided a series of talks that addressed topics from the foundation of the field to the extent of its applications. Joseph Zyss of École Normale Supérieure de Cachan (France) reminded the audience of the strong foundation built by early researchers studying molecular physics and chemistry. This foundation has allowed new developments in multi-photon techniques that enable a more complete understanding of the chemistry and physics of molecules and their interaction dynamics.

    Other talks in this plenary session addressed several of the many applications areas that nanotechnology is expected to have an impact. One example was the presentation by Rajesh R. Naik of the Air Force Research Lab. discussed the use of biological materials as nanostructures and their applications in biomedical and sensing arenas.
    Harry Atwater presents a Solar Energy Plenary
    to a packed house.
    He explained that the ability to control these material properties opens up a new range of applications from lubricants to batteries technology for energy storage. Some of the challenges in this area are in developing fabrication processes that allow for the control of particle shape and size. The use of biological materials like DNA, proteins, and peptides can assist in this challenge by providing templates for nanomaterial growth.

    The Solar Energy Plenary session focused on recent developments in the field. Harry Atwater of the California Institute of Technology spoke of recent developments in solar cells and how nano structures and the field of plasmonics may enhance the collection and conversion efficiency of solar cells of the future.

    Joseph J. Michalsky, Jr. of the NOAA Earth System Research Lab. addressed the effect of the earth's environment on solar radiation and how that impacts solar energy collection. Real data indicates that there is much to be done to optimize overall system design to enhance performance and improve system efficiency.

    Craig A. Grimes, of Pennsylvania State Univ. provided the next talk, describing the processes associated with the use of solar energy in the direct conversion of water into hydrogen and oxygen for energy storage. He explained that materials currently used in this process are relatively rare in the earth's crust. This leads to the challenge of developing new materials that have engineered band gaps, shape, size, and density for catalysts in this direct conversion process.

    John H. Wohlgemuth of BP Solar International LLC focused his discussion on the reliabilty of solar energy systems. This reliability goes well beyond the solar cell itself . While the photovoltaic modules themselves have undergone accelerated aging tests, the Wohlgemuth noted that there has not been a long enough period of time to completely evaluate the reliability of many of the other components of a complete system.

    Dave Holland of Solar Systems Pty Ltd. (Australia) provided a real life view of moving a concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) product from R&D through the commercialization phase. He explained that the business environment requires many adjustments of a technology-driven company culture to meet the demands of investors and management.

    Welcome Reception - Great Views, Great Networking

    Reception guests show off their SPIE LED lightsticks.
    Spectacular bay views greeted several hundred attendees at the SPIE Optics+Photonics 2008 Welcome Reception. Guests relaxed to the sounds of a calypso band while enjoying perfect weather, delicious food and beverages, and a chance to socialize with colleagues from around the world.

    Newport and Spectra-Physics Award Research Excellence Travel Grants
    Dozens of students networked with industry and academic leaders at 2008's Student Lunch with the Experts.

    Attendees watch the awards being handed out.
    A highlight of the event was the distribution of Newport and Spectra-Physics Research Excellence Travel Awards to eleven young researchers. The awards cover the cost of these students' travel to San Diego for SPIE Optics+ Photonics.

    The awards were presented by Randy Heyler, senior director of Strategic Marketing for Newport. He explained that providing these awards is “one of the most valuable things we do as a company,” since the award recipients represent “the future of our industry.”

    Newport Corp. develops innovative products and solutions for lasers, opto-mechanical components and mounts, optical filters, photonic instruments, and other systems and devices. Spectra-Physics is a member of the Newport family of brands and offers lasers, optical filters, diffraction gradings, and more.

    Winners of the student awards included four from Pennsylvania State University, Michael Motyka, Michael Stinger, Justin Liou, and Jyotsna Bhamidipati; Ozan Cakmakci from the College of Optics & Photonics at the University of Central Florida; Ashwin Wagadarikar, Duke University; Lane Martin, Missouri University of Science and Technology; Ramzi N. Zahreddine from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; Ignacio Gallardo, University of Texas at Austin; Neetu Chopra, University of Florida; and Jonathan Suter, University of Missouri at Columbia.

    Sunday 10 August 2008

    Plenary Highlights Green Solar Technology
    A packed all-conference plenary audience heard how “brain sport” is advancing solar-energy technology, as SPIE Optics+Photonics 2008 rolled through its first day in the San Diego Convention Center and Marriott Hotel and Marina.

    Richard King speaks about the importance
    of green solar technology.
    Sunday evening plenary speaker Richard King, director of the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Solar Decathlon, characterized the program as not the Olympics, but “brain sport.” Every two years, 20 university teams from around the world compete in the building of zero-energy prototype homes temporarily installed on the Capitol Mall in Washington, DC.

    King dazzled the audience with a photo display of the 2007 entries, noting that some of the projects have resulted in patents or spawned new green-building companies. Designs boasted features such as:
    • Live plants inset in interior and exterior walls, used outside to keep structures cool and inside to absorb condensation and improve efficiency of air conditioning
    • Solar cells on nearly every sort of surface including slats of louvered doors that tilt throughout the day to follow the sun
    • Salvaged materials for construction including slate on interior walls, refrigerator panels worked into décor but also functional as condensation control, and shipping containers converted to room modules
    • Translucent nanogel and ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) windows to admit natural light and reduce the need for artificial lighting.
    Technische Universität Darmstadt won the 2007 competition. Houses are evaluated for architecture, engineering, market viability, comfort, and six other factors. Teams are given $100,000 each by the DoE to start and then raise additional money on their own. In 2007, an estimated 120,000 people viewed the houses during the 21 days they were on the Mall, which included construction and dismantling.

    The 20 teams for the autumn 2009 competition have been chosen, and the Solar Technology Program has also signed an agreement for a European Solar Decathlon to be held in Spain in 2010.

    At least three participating teams, from Cornell and Santa Clara universities and New York Institute of Technology, have started their own companies for building green structures as a result of the competition, King said.

    See a photo gallery of homes and more information at

    Optics in Their Future
    SPIE hosted several special events for students and early career professionals (ECPs) at the SPIE Optics+Photonics symposium over the weekend.

    On Sunday about a dozen optics educators and other professionals offered about 100 of these attendees career advice and tips on giving effective
    Participants in the Student Chapter Leadership Workshop.
    presentations, job interviewing, writing proposals and journal articles, and spreading the word about the importance of science education.

    Panelists for sessions discussing career opportunities included: Brigitte Wex, assistant professor of Chemistry at Lebanese American University; former SPIE President Malgorzata Kujawinska of Politechnika Warszawska; Sanjay Krishna, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of New Mexico; Marc Himel of Tessera North America; David Wick of Sandia National Labs; and Richard Youngworth of Light Capture.

    SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs addressed students and ECPs during a luncheon program, emphasizing the vast array of opportunities in the field of optics and photonics and the growing need for, and shortage of, technical professionals to solve climate, energy, health, manufacturing, and other problems affecting humanity.

    "Solutions to these problems will require technical, economic, social, and political skills," Arthurs said. "You can make a difference, and I urge you to do so."

    Over the weekend, SPIE also announced the winners of a Web site competition among SPIE Student Chapters.

    Stanford University's (USA) SPIE Student Chapter took first place in the contest, and the International School of Photonics (India) won a second place award. Honorable mentions went to Wroclaw University of Technology (Poland), the University of Texas at Austin (USA), and the SPIE Student Chapter in Singapore.

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    Saturday 9 August 2008

    Students Attend Leadership Workshop
    On Saturday, about 100 students from across the globe attended a leadership workshop to learn how to create and sustain an SPIE Student Chapter.
    Sanjay Krishna talks with students at the Leadership Workshop.
    They exchanged ideas about how to motivate colleagues at their respective universities to participate in outreach and professional development activities. They also heard from Sanjay Krishna, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of New Mexico (USA), and SPIE President Kevin Harding, Optical Metrology Leader at GE Global Research in New York (USA).

    Sanjay presented a talk entitled “The Journey Is As Important As the Destination,” tracing his own journey from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras to graduate school in Mumbai and later at the University of Michigan (USA) to his current faculty position. Krishna, who received the SPIE Early Career Achievement Award earlier this year, offered seven important lessons to illustrate his journey so far:

    1. If things succeed, give everyone around you credit; if they fail, take the blame.
    2. Avoid being rude or unprofessional in your personal behavior
    3. Respect people who work for\with you
    4. Be assertive, but not necessarily aggressive
    5. Learn to laugh at yourself
    6. Conduct a worse-case scenario analysis
    7. Realize that hard work never killed anyone

    Harding encouraged the students to make sure they sat in on at least one conference at SPIE Optics+Photonics that covered “something you know nothing about.” After all, Harding explained, the field of optics and photonics is all about interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation.

    Networking with SPIE leaders in San Diego was also high on student attendees’ agendas. “Many new collaborations get started here,” said leadership workshop veteran Carlos Lopez-Mariscal who currently works in the Laser Cooling and Trapping Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Lopez-Mariscal attended SPIE student workshop several times when he was a student and established lasting relationships with others in the optics community in Mexico, Columbia, South Africa, Scotland, and elsewhere.