SPIE co-sponsors Winter College on Optics at ICTP in Italy

Photonics fundamentals theme highlights theory, devices, applications

05 March 2014
ICTP Winter College 2014 participants
Students and faculty met at the ICTP facility in Trieste in February for the 2014 Winter College.


TRIESTE, ITALY, and BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- Topics including electromagnetic optics and integrated optics with emphasis spanning research to technology transfer and applications in biomedicine, computing, and renewable energy occupied students and faculty from 45 countries at the recent 2014 Winter College on Optics.

The college was held 10-21 February at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy. SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, is a co-sponsor of the annual event, along with the International Commission for Optics (ICO) and several other organizations.

The Winter College included 105 students and 22 faculty, and followed the theme "Fundamentals of Photonics: Theory, Devices and Applications." Directors were SPIE Fellow Maria Luisa Calvo (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), SPIE Member Lorenzo Pavesi (Universita degli studi di Trento), Pavel Cheben (National Research Council of Canada), and Luis Ponce (Instituto Politécnico Nacional Unidad Altamira).

Main topics covered by faculty included:

  • Fundamental of photonics, electromagnetic optics, waveguides theory
  • Integrated optics, photonics circuits
  • Computational methods for photonic devices design and characterization
  • Waveguide platforms and optoelectronic circuits
  • Technology transfer
  • Photonics in biomedicine and renewable energy

The Winter College LAMP (Laser, Atomic and Molecular Physics) program provides participants with an opportunity to present their work in poster form or as a short oral presentation, with Best Paper prizes awarded by SPIE.

SPIE Past President Katarina Svanberg presented the awards, on behalf of SPIE, to:

  • First prize, SPIE Student Member Aminat Oyiza Suleiman, Stellenbosch University, for "Observation of structural dynamics of 1T-TiSe2 using femtosecond electron diffraction"
  • Second prize, Dainius Virganavicius, Kaunas University of Technology, for "Formation of regular structures employing holographic lithography technique"
  • Third prize, Nelson Alonso Correa Rojas, Universidad Nacional Sede Medellín, for "Multifunctional optical tweezers system"
  • Fourth prize, SPIE Student Member Nithyanandan Kanagaraj, Pondicherry University, for "A colloquium on the ultrashort nonlinear pulse propagation through optical fibers: modulational instability and supercontinuum generation."

Svanberg also congratulated University of Carthage professor Mourad Zghal, who is among 76 new Fellows of SPIE named in 2014, during the awards presentation.

The 2014 ICO/ICTP Gallieno Denardo Prize recognizing young researchers from developing countries was awarded to two recipients:

  • María Florencia Pascual Winter, Instituto de Nanociencia y Nanotecnología-Centro Atómico Bariloche (INN-CAB)
  • John Fredy Barrera Ramírez, Instituto de Física Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín; also a junior associate at the ICTP.

Svanberg and SPIE Past President María Yzuel (Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona) represented SPIE at a meeting on 18 February of the Trieste System Optical Sciences and Applications (TSOSA) Advisory Group, which advises on the coordination of ICTP activities in optics and photonics.

In addition to the annual Winter College on Optics, SPIE provides $30,000 annually to support an optics staff position at ICTP.

In conjunction with ICTP, SPIE provides free SPIE Digital Library access in participating countries through the eJDS (eJournals Delivery Service) program. Articles from scientific literature, primarily in physics and mathematics, are provided to individual scientists.

SPIE helps to fund a laboratory available to participants from developing nations pursuing novel research. The lab is housed at the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nuclear (INFN) and run in collaboration with the Institute for Nanoelectronics, Technische Universität München. In 2013, work in the SPIE Anchor Research in Optics Program included projects in quantum cascade lasers and optical tweezers for applications in the physical and life sciences.


SPIE Past President Katarina Svanberg (Lund University Hospital) presented Best Paper Awards for submissions in the LAMP sessions:

Katarina Svanberg and Aminat Oyiza Suleiman

SPIE Student Member Aminat Oyiza Suleiman, first place

Katarina Svanberg and Dainius Virganavicius

Dainius Virganavicius, second place

Katarina SVanberg and Nelson Alonso Correa Rojas

Nelson Alonso Correa Rojas, third place


Katarina Svanberg and Mourad Zghal

SPIE Past President Katarina Svanberg (Lund University Hospital) congratulated new Fellow of SPIE Mourad Zghal (SUP'COM, University of Carthage).


2014 Gallieno Denardo prize winners

Winners of the 2014 ICO/ICTP Gallieno Denardo Award were awarded their prizes during the Winter College. From left are African Laser Atomic Molecular and Optical Sciences Network (LAM) President Ahmadou Wagué (Université Cheikh Anta Diop), ICO Secretary Angela Guzmán (CREOL, College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida), prize winners John Fredy Barrera Ramírez (Instituto de Física Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín) and María Florencia Pascual Winter (Instituto de Nanociencia y Nanotecnología-Centro Atómico Bariloche), SPIE Member Joe Niemela (ICTP), and Miltcho Danailov (Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste).


Sponsors and organizers met to discuss future activities; among them:

Mourad Zghal, Angela Guzman, Maria Yzuel, Anthony Johnson

SPIE Fellow Mourad Zghal (SUP'COM, University of Carthage), ICO Secretary Angela Guzmán (CREOL, College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida), SPIE Past President María Yzuel (Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona), and OSA Past President and SPIE Member Anthony Johnson (CASPR, University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

Joe Niemela, Eugene Arthurs, John Dudley

SPIE Member Joe Niemela (ICTP), SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs, and European Physical Society President and SPIE Member John Dudley (Université de Franche-Comté)


SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Society serves more than 256,000 constituents from approximately 155 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional networking, and patent precedent. SPIE provided $3.2 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2013.


Amy Nelson
Public Relations Manager
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