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Lasers & Sources

Photonics rocks the R&D 100

SPIE Newsroom
13 July 2012

R&D Magazine's R&D 100 Awards, sometimes called the "Oscars of Invention," have long paid tribute to ground-breaking technologies.

Over the past five decades, R&D 100 Awards have honored such innovative technologies as the flashcube (1965), the halogen lamp (1974), the liquid crystal display (1980), and HDTV (1998). Notable in the 50th year of these awards, is the high number of photonics technologies that were recognized. Nearly half of the R&D 100 winners were companies involved with photonics technologies.

Out of the 100 winners for 2012, five organizations were SPIE corporate members and another 10 were recent SPIE exhibitors. Two of the SPIE corporate members, Headwall Photonics and Zygo Corporation, were double winners as they were also finalists for the 2012 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation, known as the "Photonics Oscars." Headwall won with the Hyperspec® RECON imaging sensor and Zygo with the laser interferometer, DynaFizTM .

Also noteworthy are the number of R&D 100 winners among the US Department of Energy's national laboratories and technology centers. More than 30% of the R&D 100 Awards went to either primary developers or co-developer/contributors from the national laboratories. Research centers such as Oak Ridge, Argonne, and Lawrence Livermore received multiple awards for a variety of projects.

The judges from R&D Magazine were impressed with this year's winners and predict a bright future for technology and science even in the face of current conditions.

"As the R&D 100 Awards marks 50 years of celebrating innovation, the editors are pleased to present this year's winners as prime examples of advances in science and technology," said Rita Peters, editorial director of R&D Magazine. "Despite a slow economy, the competition experienced a near record number of entries from around the world. This demonstrates that researchers are committed to innovate."

Read more about the SPIE R&D 100 winners and the SPIE Prism Awards.