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    Strasbourg, France
    3 - 7 April 2006
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    Daily Updates

    Photonics Applications and Enabling Technologies Take Center Stage at Photonics Europe

    Thursday, 6 April 2006

    The last full day of the full conference programme at Photonics Europe came to a close today with attendance numbers announced at 2,150. Tomorrow, which concludes the conference programme, will feature a number of workshops and forums in photonics, allowing these initiatives to further their work and progress (MONA, NEMO, OPERA-2015).

    The Hot Topics sessions in the morning were well attended. Dr. Winfried Hoffmann, European Photovoltaic Industry Association, and Vice President, Schott Solar, discussed the "fourth" market segment of grid connected systems, which have been on the increase, starting in the USA in the 80's, followed by Japan in the mid 90's, and Europe, in particular Germany, in 2000. He said the overall growth within the past 6 years was almost 40% per annum with a normal growth of about 15% per annum for the foreseeable future.

    Malcolm Harbour, MEP (Member of European Parliament) called on scientists and industrialists to raise the profile of photonics among their local MEPs. He praised the fact that Photonics Europe was scheduled while Parliament was in session in Strasbourg, creating a unique event linking industrial, academic and political agendas to economic prosperity from across Europe.

    The session concluded with a talk by Ronan Burgess, Scientific Officer at the European Commission in the area of Photonics in the IST programme (Information Society Technologies). Burgess outlined what's hot in European photonics research. Specifically he answered the question, "Where is Photonics in Framework Programme 7 (FP7)?" Within the specific programme entitled "cooperation", which addresses, among others, health, nanoscience, energy, space and security, photonics is specifically cited under the Information and Communication Technologies pillar. Smart sensor networks and applications in research for minimally invasive surgery and therapy will drive development in integrated photonics, micro/nano systems. Furthermore, he added that photonics is invisibly enabling many different application fields in the realization of nanostuctures and materials; development of processes for nano-fabrication and surface functionality; and in the development of new methods for measuring and characterizing materials.

    Consequently, there is a need to consolidate research and raise public awareness of this pervasive capability. He pushed for more information events in Central and Eastern Europe and launched the Directory of European Photonics Expertise in Research (DEPER).

    From the exhibition floor, the increase in the number of exhibit visitors created an excellent environment for networking and for business. "The quality of attendees at this event has made our time spent in Strasbourg highly worthwhile," said Chris Bridle, CVI Technical Optics. Nathalie Vermeulen, Network of Excellence on Micro-Optics (NEMO) added, "There were more visitors than we expected. Everyone was interested in our technology. It was a positive success."

    The industrial programme at Photonics Europe covered the application of technology in a number of market sectors, and participants set out to solve actual engineering problems. For example, in today's Photonics in the Automobile conference, Stephan Berlitz, Ausi AG, in an invited talk titled "A Technology Roadmap for Photonics in the Automobile," presented collective input from Audi AG, Valeo, Hella KGaA Hueck & Co., EPIC, OSRAM Opto Semiconductor GmbH, Ctr. Recherche Fiat, and Delphi, on recent innovations in photonic automotive technologies. Patrick Meyreuis, chair co-chair of the Photonics in the Automobile conference, remarked on how well attended and addressed the importance of research into diodes in lighting, which are now economical for headlamps and other uses related to lighting. Next year Meyreuis plans to expand the conference by involving more local companies.

    "I enjoyed the conference very much," remarked Sandip Tiwari, Director of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network, Cornell University. "It was different from what I usually attend but it allowed me to catch up on other areas and the technical content was good." Tiwari's hot topics presentation on Tuesday discussed the US National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) and support of photonics research and development.

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    Wednesday, 5 April 2006

    Photonics Europe Exceeds Previous Year's Attendance with One Day Remaining
    As French labor unrest subsided, alleviating transportation bottlenecks, Photonics Europe exceeded the 2,000 attendee mark today and brisk exhibition and conference participation resumed.

    Three new conferences started today on Optical Micro- and Nanometrology in Microsystems Technology, Photonics for Solar Energy Systems, and Solid State Lasers & Amplifiers. The exhibition bustled as attendance at Photonics Europe surpassed the number of people who participated when first held in Strasbourg in 2004. With another 2 days to go, the event today realized the energy and growth conference organizers worked so hard to cultivate. With 11 conferences scheduled for Thursday and special collocated EU Networking Meetings scheduled for Friday, participation is expected to increase over the coming days.

    Exibitor Frank Wyrowski, founder of LightTrans GmbH (Germany), noted about the exhibition, "we have seen a number of people from both academia and industry who are interested in our software product. We are certain we have made promising contacts for our business. For my company, SPIE and SPIE Europe offer great business opportunity."

    At the conference planning meeting, Photonics Europe Chairs were buoyed by the very good quality of the papers and healthy attendance figures. Symposium Chair Hugo Thienpont said that Photonics Europe has "reached the quality milestones set two years ago to make this event the pan-European platform for top quality research in Europe." He also said that the added focus of the conferences on industry and other applications, such as automotive and biomedical, was extremely important to meeting the practical business needs of Europe. Thienpont concluded that "we have great plans for 2008 and plan to further integrate the needs of research and industry to help meet the Lisbon 2010 goals."

    Invited speakers to an industry forum on Optical Coatings provided detailed exploration of the subject and introduced specific industry application. Recent advances have seen an increased adoption and application of coatings and finishes within key sectors like aerospace, automotive, and medical healthcare.

    A popular feature of Photonics Europe has been the European Photonics Innovation Village. Open from Tuesday to Thursday, the Innovation Village was designed by meeting organized to support and publicise research teams from universities, non-profit institutions and research centres, and showcases the transfer of optics/photonics research and technology into new and useful products.

    Nearly 60 students attended a free Luncheon with the Experts, hosted by SPIE Student Services, for food and networking opportunities willing to share their vision and experience with the next generation of scientists, researchers and innovators in light.

    The evening wrapped up with the Exhibitor Reception and Women in Optics Dinner. The Exhibitor reception was lively and the energy was high among attendees. Attendees eager to hear Prof. Maria Yzuel speak about her impressive work and career in optics attended the Woman in Optics Dinner. Elke van den Brandt of NEMO: Network of Excellence on Micro-Optics, was also on hand to present preliminary results from an international comparative study sponsored by 30 European partners brought together under FP-6 addressing why women leave research careers.

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    Tuesday, 4 April 2006
    Commissioner Reding calls Photonics Huge Untapped Potential for European Economic Development in the 21st Century

    SPIE Europe announced today that, at the Photonics Europe Symposium and Exhibition underway this week in Strasbourg, France, European Commissioner Viviane Reding accepted the first draft of the Strategic Research Agenda in Photonics from Alexander von Witzleben, President of Photonics21 and CEO of Jenoptic.

    Reding, who is responsible for technology funding recommendations to the European Commission, said, "Europe must link research to the delivery of innovation, economic growth and jobs in Europe." She continued, "it is very clear we must gear up research to remain competitive." Reding further pointed out that while Europe already directly and indirectly employs over 2 million people in the photonics industry, the potential for photonics-enabled advancements in the areas of health care, lighting, security, and other applications offers unlimited potential for job creation and economic development in Europe. However, she warned that the photonics community must be realistic in its expectation; EU resources must be used strategically to realise those opportunities with the greatest potential to deliver a return on investment.

    Reding told a plenary audience of Photonics Europe attendees that public funding for research will continue to be more closely linked to applications with commercial potential. She noted, "we must concentrate our efforts on those areas which show great promise, that are of strategic importance, and where we can expect a greater return on investment. Photonics is one of those areas." She further went on to discuss existing markets that are being driven by photonics technologies, like those involving display and CD/DVD technology; however the European Commission expects that the strategic importance of photonics technology will create new markets of which we are currently unaware.

    Reding finalized her comments with a challenge to industry to strengthen their investments in R&D to match the higher investments in other regions of the world. She further extended her best wishes to the Photonics Europe audience, noting, "I would like to wish you all an enjoyable, successful, and productive week in Strasbourg. This conference has become a highlight, a "rendez-vous incontournable" for all researchers in the photonics field. I am impressed by the number of papers, more than 1,000, among which almost 200 are a direct result of our funding in the Framework Programme VI, and I believe that this contributed to putting Europe at the speed of light!"



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    Monday, 3 April 2006

    Photonics Europe Begins in Strasbourg

    Photonics Europe 2006 opened today in Strasbourg, France, with over 800 attendees to start off the week and over 250 attending the opening plenary and hot topics session. Over 2200 total are expected to attend the symposium and exhibition by end of the week. Photonics Europe is sponsored by Cardiff, UK-based SPIE Europe.

    The opening ceremony featured welcoming remarks by Symposium Chair Hugo Thienpont, Vrije Univ. of Brussels, President Adrien Zeller, Region Alsace, and 2006 SPIE President, Dr. Paul McManamon.

    Dr. McManamon recognized three new European fellows of the Society: Maria Calvo, Univ. of Universad Complutense de Madrid, Tomasz Szoplik, Warsaw Univ., and Hugo Thienpont, Vrije Univ. McManamon also presented SPIE's prestigious Technology Achievement award to Dr. Jean-Louis de Bougrenet de la Tocnaye, ENST Bretagne, for his outstanding achievements in optical information processing, applications of liquid crystal in optics, diffraction theory, photonics switching and routing systems in free-space.

    Prof. Stephen Forrest, Univ of Michigan launched the special Hot Topics session with a keynote entitled Competing with Incandescence: methods for achieving efficient solid state lighting using organic light-emitting devices. He addressed the significant challenge facing human kind in the 21st century which is the decreasing supply of depletable and renewable energy. One approach, he said, is to focus on more efficient means for lighting. He then discussed several strategies for achieving very high efficiency white light emission at high brightnesses or the next generation of efficient solid state lighting sources based on small molecular weight, vapor-deposited OLED structures.

    Forrest's talk was followed by Yngve Lien of the European Space Agency/ESTEC, The Netherlands on risk mitigation in spaceborne lasers. Laser-induced damages is one of the significant issues; measurements are being conducted on all critical optics during this test campaign. The European Space Agency has established a test campaign to measure the power handling of all the measurement optics with laboratories in Germany, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and France participating. Spaceborne lidars carry much promise for earth observation and interplanetary missions.

    Eleven conferences started today on organic optoelectronics, semiconductor lasers, biophotonics, photonics crystal materials, micro-optics, nanophotonics, and photon management featuring key note talks and oral papers. An evening poster session of 250 supported additional important visual presentations.

    To conclude the day, a special reception sponsored by Regional Alsace was hosted in the evening for the key symposium organizers and special guests. This reception was organized to recognize the important cooperation between SPIE Europe and the Region in sponsoring Photonics Europe and its contribution to the local, national and European economy. An additional recognition of such will occur tomorrow when Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media, opens the Photonics Europe exhibition at 10:00 am. 150 companies are participating in the exhibit featuring optical and photonic components and devices.