Impressive new products recognized with prestigious Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation

New photonics-enabled devices and systems have applications in detecting tuberculosis, ensuring food and pharmaceutical quality, and much more

01 February 2017

2017 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation

Nufern representatives accept their 2017 Prism Award for Photonics Innovation in during a gala event in San Francisco. The company was one of nine winning the prestigious awards. At right is presenter Katharine Schmidtke of Facebook..


SAN FRANCISCO, California, USA — Nine new products providing valuable new capabilities in detecting disease, assessing water or food quality, and enabling advanced precision manufacturing have been named winners of the 2017 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation. The awards are sponsored by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and Photonics Media.

Winners from six countries were announced by industry leaders this evening (1 February) during SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco at a gala banquet that has become the largest annual global gathering of CEOs, VIPs, and entrepreneurs in photonics.

Winning companies and products are:

  • Additive Manufacturing — 3D Printing: PolarOnyx (USA) Tungsten LAM: femtosecond fiber laser 3D printer, combining additive and subtractive manufacturing
  • Biomedical Instrumentation: Rapid Biosensor Systems (UK) TB Breathalyser: disposable medical device for a fast test for active infectious tuberculosis, offering simplicity, low cost, and accuracy
  • Detectors and Sensors: ALPhANov (France) GoSpectro: connects to a smartphone to characterize light sources in a matter of seconds, enabling material or chemical analysis in liquids associated with color-based reagents to assess water or food quality
  • Imaging and Cameras: TruTag Technologies (USA) Model 4100 Handheld Hyperspectral Imager: captures and processes a full multi-megapixel hyperspectral datacube without utilizing external processing, to decode the provenance of pills, foods, and embedded objects
  • Industrial Lasers: QD Laser (Japan) 1030- and 1064-nm Ultra-short Pulsed Seeder for Fiber Laser: enables nonthermal precise microprocessing and provides strong competitive light source to mode-locked lasers
  • Materials and Coatings: Crystalline Mirror Solutions  (Austria) xtal mir: ultralow-loss mid-IR optical coating based on substrate-transferred single-crystal semiconductor multilayers, enabling discoveries in optical trace gas detection
  • Metrology: Leica Geosystems (Switzerland) BLK360: laser scanner enables 360-degree reality capture for virtual retailing, space mapping, or  stage calibration for film and visual arts, within minutes
  • Optics and Optical Components: Nufern (USA) NuBEAM Flat-top fiber technology: effective beam shaping and beam control offer easy integration, efficient light transmission, robustness, small footprint, low maintenance, cost-effectiveness, for material processing, illumination, detection, defense, and medicine
  • Scientific Lasers: Thorlabs (USA) Mid-infrared Supercontinuum Laser: femtosecond fiber-laser pumped MIR SC source offers wavelength coverage from 1.2 µm to almost 5 µm with high repetition rate, with applications in environmental sensing of greenhouse gases to standoff detection in the field.

“Photonics technology drives so much of global and local economies and changes lives everywhere in so many ways,” said SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs. “This year’s Prism Awards entries have moved the industry forward with their impressive new inventions. It is fitting that we celebrate the winning products, and indeed all the entries, during SPIE Photonics West. Events such this are essential to the industry’s ability to serve society effectively. They provide the opportunity to share ideas and needs, to find the collaborators and inspirations required for technology innovation, and to gain the knowledge needed to feed breakthrough thinking. SPIE is pleased to play a part in encouraging and facilitating this work, and happy to honor these outstanding innovators.”

"Photonics Media is proud to join SPIE in congratulating the winners of the 2017 Prism Awards. These winning products —  and the people and organizations behind them — represent the outstanding innovation at work in the photonics industry today,” said Tom Laurin, President and CEO of Laurin Publishing Co. “As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Photonics Spectra — our flagship magazine — we have the opportunity to reflect back to 1967 and the vision the new magazine offered for the future of a young industry. Today, these Prism Award winners provide a striking preview of what is still to come. From the rapid screening of infectious diseases to 3D robot vision to additive manufacturing and so much more, they are already transforming tomorrow.”

Industry leaders presenting the awards were:

  • Katharine Schmidtke, Facebook, Strategic Sourcing Optical Technology
  • Vincent Mattera, II-VI, President and CEO
  • Basil Garabet, NKT Photonics, CEO
  • David Bohn, Microsoft HoloLens, Director of Optical Engineering
  • Louay Eldada, Quanergy, CEO and Co-Founder
  • Edgar Auslander, Oculus Research at Facebook, Head of Partnerships, VR and AR
  • Sarah Boisvert, Fab Lab Hub, Founder; Potomac Photonics, Chief 3D Printing Officer
  • Michelle Mihevc, FATHOM, Co-Founder and Principal
  • John Ryan, WireTheWorld, CEO and Founder.

The Prism Awards were developed to recognize innovative products that are newly available on the open market. Categories have been added, removed, and updated over time to reflect trends in the industry. Entries were judged by an independent panel of experts including industry executives, leading academic researchers, venture capitalists, and past Prism Award winners.

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering, and technology. The Society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2016, SPIE provided more than $4 million in support of education and outreach programs.

About Photonics Media

Photonics Media, a business unit of Pittsfield, Mass.-based Laurin Publishing Co. Inc., publishes Photonics Spectra, BioPhotonics, EuroPhotonics, Photonics Buyers’ Guide and With a collective subscriber base of more than 150,000 worldwide and more than 2 million website visits per year, Laurin Publishing’s Photonics Media products and publications lead the photonics industry with editorial excellence and integrity, fostering a tradition of innovation and progress by sharing knowledge, insights and visions for the future. Learn more at


Amy Nelson
Public Relations Manager
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