Product launches, the latest research highlight bigger, busier SPIE Photonics West 2017

Attendance grows at photonics industry's kick-off event of the year

06 February 2017

SPIE Photonics West Exhibition 2017

SPIE Photonics West 2017 was a busy week of making connections and learning about research
advances and new technologies; above, on the exhibition floor. (Bay Area Event Photography)


SAN FRANCISCO, California, and BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA — Busier, bigger SPIE Photonics West 2017 closed Thursday afternoon with approximately 23,000 total registered attendance, up yet again over the previous year. The largest growth was in technical attendance and in visitors to the more than 1,380 exhibiting companies in the Photonic West Exhibition, and 210-plus in the weekend BiOS Expo.

SPIE Photonics West is sponsored by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and ran 28 January through 2 February at Moscone Center in San Francisco.

“The energy and excitement on the show floor were palpable, with many companies reporting a strong business environment and the need to hire additional skilled employees,” said Andrew Brown, SPIE Senior Director. “The record attendance ensured that exhibitors were kept busy showing their new products and discussing opportunities for sales.”

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Characteristic among the comments, Photonics West exhibitor Kevin Fogarty of Canon U.S.A., Inc., said that traffic was strong from the first hour. “Within one minute of the doors opening on the first day there were people at our booth; within 30 minutes, we had very good customers in deep conversation,” Fogarty said.

BiOS Expo companies were also pleased. Among them was Scott Hamlin of MegaWatt Lasers Inc., who cited both strong volume and quality of leads. Hamlin said his company likes the traffic flow at BiOS because it allows more time to talk with visitors.

“Everybody I talk to is doing real business, selling real products, getting real orders, and scheduling more,” said venture-capital and private-equity advisor John Dexheimer of LightWave, who led a panel discussion on managing business through global changes.

“The success of Photonics West for attendees from industry, academia, and government labs is a powerful indicator of the vitality of the industry,” Brown said. “We heard repeatedly during the week just how important this event is for the community. At this event, they connect with valuable collaborators, present new research for the first time, introduce new products, learn about the latest photonics technologies, and meet vendors who can provide the right equipment for the lab, factory, or clinic.”

Conference rooms hosted some 4,700 presentations organized into topics in biomedical optics, lasers, and optoelectronics, with applications tracks in translational biophotonics, 3D printing, and brain research, all featuring talks from the field's leading scientists and engineers.

Among the highlights, Rafael Yuste, professor of neuroscience at Columbia University and a pioneer in optical methods for brain research, spoke on novel technologies for understanding the brain to enable better treatment for disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury.

Harald Haas, University of Edinburgh and pureLiFi, Ltd., gave an update on the latest advances in LiFi installations now proliferating around the world, using light generated by LEDs to stream data to computers.

Karsten Danzmann, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics and Leibniz Universität Hannover, described developments leading up to the historic detection by LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) in late 2015 of gravitational waves — and the exciting technology going forward. Advanced LIGO dramatically improved capabilities, he said, as has LISA Pathfinder, a satellite mission launched in December 2015 whose payload includes the first laser interferometer in space.

The comprehensive technical and course programs plus numerous networking activities and industry programs ensure that Photonics West remains the must-attend event for building business and research partnerships, and accessing the most current market and technology information, Brown said.

“From manufacturing to healthcare, consumer products to communications, all segments of our industry are seeing strong growth,” he said. “SPIE is delighted to be a key factor in fueling the ecosystem through the Photonics West conference and trade show.”

SPIE Photonics West 2018 will run 27 January through 1 February at Moscone Center.

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 2016, SPIE provided $4 million in support of education and outreach programs.


Amy Nelson
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