Photonics innovation wanted: Prism Awards now accepting Applications

Annual innovation competition sponsored by SPIE and Photonics Media will mark 10th year

31 July 2017
Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation 2017 banquet

The Prism Awards banquet brings together industry leaders, venture capitalists, and
representatives of companies with outstanding new products; above, the 2017 pre-banquet reception.

BELLINGHAM, Washington, and PITTSFIELD, Massachusetts, USA — Applications are being accepted for the prestigious 2018 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation. The competition, sponsored annually by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and Photonics Media to honor groundbreaking technology and product inventions within the high-impact industry of optics and photonics, will mark its 10th anniversary next year.

"For 10 years, the Prism Awards have brought well-deserved attention to the most exciting and beneficial new products in the photonics field — products that have gone on to make their marks in an increasing number of industries," said Thomas Laurin, president and CEO of Laurin Publishing. "As a sponsor of the Prism Awards since their inception, Photonics Media celebrates not only the Awards' 10th year, but also the tremendous growth in the photonics field, one rich with discovery.  We look forward to another robust list of nominations from around the world."

Winners are announced by industry leaders at a gala banquet during SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco, California. With high-level presenters and an audience including the who's who of the photonics industry, the awards boost visibility, recognition, and brand equity for companies bringing innovative products to the market.

Among this year's presenters will be Akira Hiruma, President and CEO of Hamamatsu Photonics KK; Ray O. Johnson, former Senior Vice President and CTO of Lockheed Martin Corp.; and Peter Leibinger, Vice Chairman of the Managing Board of Trumpf GmbH and Co.

"The Prism Awards are a great way to acknowledge innovation, technology, and the advancement of science, which are core motivators that lead many of us to pursue careers in photonics," said Laurie Morgus, Ecommerce Sales and Marketing Manager at Thorlabs, a 2017 Prism Award winner. 

"In providing visibility to some of the most creative applications of optics and photonics technology each year, the Prism Awards help raise awareness about the importance of technology in general for economic growth, and the key role of photonics as an enabling technology in so many areas of life," said SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs. "Entries demonstrate the vast potential for photonics to improve our lives today and to help build a stronger future. In this way, the awards mirror the content found in SPIE conferences and other programs and the products shown in our exhibitions. It is rewarding to be part of this - encouraging invention and laying the foundations for meaningful careers."  

Prism Awards applications are judged by a panel of leading industry experts, venture capitalists, luminaries, and visionaries who select finalists and winners in several categories for new products. Application deadline is 6 October. Finalists will be announced in mid-November, and winners will be announced during the awards banquet on 31 January in San Francisco.

Winning companies  and products in 2017 were:

  • PolarOnyx (USA) Tungsten LAM: femtosecond fiber laser 3D printer
  • Rapid Biosensor Systems (UK) TB Breathalyser: disposable medical device for a fast test for active infectious tuberculosis
  • ALPhANov (France) GoSpectro: connects to a smartphone to assess water or food quality
  • TruTag Technologies (USA) Model 4100 Handheld Hyperspectral Imager: to decode the provenance of pills, foods, and embedded objects
  • QD Laser (Japan) 1030- and 1064-nm Ultra-short Pulsed Seeder for Fiber Laser: strong competitive light source to mode-locked lasers
  • Crystalline Mirror Solutions  (Austria) xtal mir: enabling discoveries in optical trace gas detection
  • Leica Geosystems (Switzerland) BLK360: laser scanner enables 360-degree reality capture
  • Nufern (USA) NuBEAM Flat-top fiber technology: for material processing, illumination, detection, defense, and medicine
  • Thorlabs (USA) Mid-infrared Supercontinuum Laser: with applications in environmental sensing of greenhouse gases as well as standoff detection in the field.

Other past winners and finalists are listed on the Prism Awards website:

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 brand 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 4 million unique 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. More information at


Amy Nelson
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