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    SPIE Europe's Optics & Optoelectronics Congress in Prague Exceeds Expectations

    By Stacey Crockett

    BELLINGHAM, WA. - April 23, 2007 - SPIE Europe's International Congress on Optics & Optoelectronics (ICOO), the second in a series of successful meetings held in Eastern and Central Europe addressing fundamentals of this field, exceeded 420 registrants from around the world. Beautiful Prague, Czech Republic, delighted attendees as a venue, and general chair Prof. Pavel Tománek, Brno Univ. of Technology, confirmed this was the largest congress addressing optics, optoelectronics or similar subjects ever held in the country. 400 paper submissions were featured throughout the week; an accompanying 3-day exhibition of 12 companies provided additional interest and business value to participants. The SPIE Czech Regional Chapter, the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, and the Czech and Slovak Society for Photonics represented local supporting organizations and provided many of the conference chairs responsible for organizing conference programs.

    A highlight of ICOO 2007 was the opening Hot Topics plenary session organized and chaired by Tománek and general co-chair Hugo Thienpont, Vrije Univ., Belgium. Nobel Laureate Professor Theodor Hänsch, Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, gave a stimulating talk, "A Passion for Precision" which discussed the quest for ever-higher precision in laser spectroscopy of the simple hydrogen atom. Hänsch reviewed recent experiments which are extending frequency comb techniques into the extreme ultraviolet and noted that laser frequency combs can also control the electric field of ultrashort light pulses, creating powerful new tools for the emerging field of attosecond science.

    Other plenary talks Included one on Metamaterials by Sir John B. Pendry FRS, Imperial College, UK; Liquid Crystalline Metamaterials by Prof. Iam Cho Khoo, The Pennsylvania State Univ.; Nonlinear and Quantum Optics by Prof. Concita Sibilia, Univ. degli Studi di Roma; and Photonics at Work in Framework 7 by Mr. Ronan Burgess, European Commission, Photonics Dept. Burgess updated participants, who hailed primarily from all across Europe, on funding actions taken by the European Commission. Burgess said the goal of this funding is to, "help European industry continue to achieve its leadership position in developing high value photonic products."

    A special welcome reception and award ceremony, organized by the Czech Academy of Sciences to coincide with ICOO, was held in beautiful Michna Hall in Prague and was presided over by Honary Congress Chair Karel Jungwirth, Institute of Physics of the Academy. The Ernst Mach Medal was awarded to Prof. Gérard Jamelot, Paris-Sud University and CNRS, France, for his work in early concepts of x-ray lasers. Theodor Hänsch was also honored with the highest medal the Academy awards, the De Scientia et Humanitate Optime Meritis Medal, for his pioneering work in new methods of optical combs, and for contributing to Czech Republic scientific achievements.

    Conferences offered at ICOO included Metamaterials, Nonlinear Optics and their Applications, Photon Counting Applications, Quantum Optics and Quantum Cryptography, Adaptive Optics for Laser Systems and Other Applications, Optical Sensors, Damage to VUV, EUV & X-ray Optics, Liquid Crystals and their Applications in Optics and Photonic Crystal Fibres. General co-chair MIroslv Hrabovský, Palacký, Univ., contributed to the conference organization.

    The next ICOO is scheduled for 2009; the first was held in Warsaw, Poland in 2005 and was co-sponsored by the SPIE Polish Chapter and SPIE Europe and included several conferences that hailed from long term SPIE Polish Chapter activity.

    For more information on this and other SPIE or SPIE Europe conferences and exhibitions go to http:\\\conferences.

    SPIE is an international society advancing an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light. SPIE Europe is based in Cariff, Wales in the UK. SPIE Europe organizes events including Photonics Europe, Microtechnologies in the Next Millennium, Optical Metrology, Europe Remote Sensing, Europe Security & Defence, and others. SPIE organizes many other meetings worldwide including Photonics West, Medical Imaging, Advanced Lithography and Optics & Photonics, and publishes journals, books and conference proceedings, with over 235,000 technical papers available for download via the SPIE Digital Library. See for details.