New Wave of Optics and Photonics On Display As 23,000 Registered Researchers, Engineers, Buyers, and Suppliers Converge at SPIE Photonics West 2018

Special sessions on virtual and augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, quantum technology, understanding the brain, and the frontiers of medical devices showcased the latest in industry and academic research and technologies at SPIE Photonics West 2018

07 February 2018

Exhibit Hall, SPIE Photonics West 2018

From January 27 to February 1, The Moscone Center was sold out during SPIE Photonics West 2018

SAN FRANCISCO, California, and BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA — SPIE Photonics West showcased the growing and pervasive impact light-based science and technology has on the global market. A record-setting number of more than 23,000 registered attendees were attracted by the world’s largest technical and industry program at the 2018 SPIE Photonics West symposium. There were over 1300 exhibiting companies in the Photonics West Exhibition, and more than 200 exhibitors at the BiOS Expo over the weekend.

From Saturday, January 27 through Thursday, February 1, San Francisco’s Moscone Center exhibition halls and conference rooms buzzed with excitement and curiosity during the largest annual meeting of industry, academia, and government in the photonics community.

Conference rooms hosted some 5,300 presentations organized on biomedical optics, lasers, and optoelectronics, featuring talks from the world’s leading scientists and engineers. This year’s presentations featured medical diagnostic and imaging tools, photodynamic and other therapeutics, laser material processing, quantum technologies, virtual reality and autonomous vehicle cameras and sensors.

In addition, SPIE offered 65 continuing education courses spanning the fundamental and applied technologies in optics and photonics as well as professional development skills. Course registrations were up by 40% over last year, with two new courses on virtual reality and LiDAR for autonomous vehicles among those selling out.

Special events during the week included the 10th annual Prism Awards and the 8th annual SPIE Startup Challenge as well as an inaugural VR/AR/MR industry conference. Presentations by two Nobel Laureates, Stefan Hell and W.E. Moerner, as well as other thought leaders across the spectrum of technology offering thousands of individual talks, highlighted the latest technology and research in areas such as high-power lasers, microscopy, optoelectronics, and silicon photonics. Sessions of particular interest included the BiOS Hot Topics session, featuring exciting technologies and advances in the biomedical arena; the neurophotonics plenary session showcasing multiple approaches to brain-mapping using optical technology; and a plenary presentation by Karl Deisseroth discussing use of optogenetics to understand neurologic disorders.

In between it all, exhibitors, presenters and attendees were busy building business and collegial connections, planning collaborations, establishing formal partnerships and sharing their work. “In our core DNA, we’re a photonics company,” said exhibitor, SPIE Fellow and Luminar Technologies CTO Jason Eichenholz. “Photonics West is the natural place for us to come each year to meet with suppliers, find highest quality talent, and to display and share the application and commercialization of our photonics-based LiDAR system.” A Mercedes SUV, parked inside Moscone’s North Hall all week, offered attendees a sneak peek at Luminar’s latest LiDAR system for autonomous driving, which was awarded a Prism Award at this year’s gala event.

“This has been an incredible experience,” said Maryellen Giger, the 2018 SPIE President and the A.N. Pritzker Professor of Radiology / Medical Physics at the University of Chicago. “I was inspired by the scope of the BiOS Expo and conference, highlighting the latest in biomedical research and technology; by the exciting and innovative work showcased at our Startup Challenge; by the focused discussions at our Women in Optics’ Diversity and Inclusion event; and by the world’s largest gathering of lasers and photonics exhibitors. Once again, Photonics West offered an overarching view of the photonics community and the incredible commitment and prolific impacts that characterize it.”

“One of the great joys of Photonics West is being in the midst of the unique meld of skilled people from the innovation infrastructure,” said SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs. “Innovation is not linear, so the photonics industry’s premier event, by design, stimulates the crucial interchange of raw ideas, the experience of seasoned practitioners, and the product experts with their solid commercial rationale. With well over one hundred new products vying for the 10th anniversary Prism Awards, a sold-out exhibit, an oversubscribed startup competition, and packed programs for the hot AR/VR/MR and autonomous vehicles, the photonics industry is obviously enjoying a new period of explosive growth. More than 5,000 technical papers pointed the way to the future and made clear that Photonics West is the only event to showcase the full breadth of the photonics industry. SPIE looks forward to welcoming the industry back when more will be revealed at next year’s 25th Photonics West!”

SPIE Photonics West 2019 will run 2-7 February at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California

About SPIE

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, is 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 2017, SPIE provided $4 million in support of education and outreach programs.


Daneet Steffens
Public Relations Manager
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