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SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics 2015 event news and photos

SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics 2015 plenary audience


Record attendance, cross-disciplinary synergy

This year's Optics + Optoelectronics was the largest yet in the 10-year-old series, with 10% more papers and at least the same percentage of increase in attendance. The breadth of technologies and stature of presenters provided an outstanding experience for attendees and was particularly instrumental in enabling cross-disciplinary networking and interactions. Presenters and audience came from countries throughout Europe, as well as from Russia, China, the USA, Japan, Korea, and China.

Complementary topics encouraged synergy between conferences such as Laser Acceleration of Electrons, Protons and Ions, and Medical Applications of Laser-generated Beams; and High-Power, High-Energy and High-Intensity Laser Technology, and Research Using Extreme Light: Entering New Frontiers with Petawatt-class Lasers.

The meeting had representation from several major international projects, and provided an important venue for researchers, government funding agencies, and facility managers to come together to network and discuss the status, successes, and challenges ahead.


Laser technology, fusion materials, targets: Laser Energy Workshop Day Two

Colin Danson
Colin Danson
Akira Endo
Akira Endo
Pavel Bakule
Pavel Bakule

On Thursday, the Laser Energy Workshop focused on laser technology, fusion chamber materials, and targets, providing a unique opportunity for researchers in this area to meet and share learning and ideas on this important topic.

Among the speakers, Chris Edwards gave a progress update on diode-pumped solid-state laser technology at the Central Laser Facility in the UK.

Next up was Colin Danson with a talk in the Laser Technology session on the status of the laser and diagnostic development during the first two years of operation of the Orion laser system at AWE plc.

An update on the HiLASE thin disk laser development was given by Akira Endo of the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Endo also spoke in the Advances in X-ray Free Electron Lasers Instrumentation conference on the optimization of high-average-power FEL beam for EUV lithography applications (9512-63).

Pavel Bakule, Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, reported on the laser technologies under development as part of ELI Beamlines that are relevant to fusion applications.

Speakers in the final session of the workshop discussed issues around targets for inertial fusion energy.

Along with Chris Edwards, the organizing committee included Mike Dunne of the SLAC National Accelerator Lab/Linac Coherent Light Source and François Amiranoff, Ecole Polytechnique.


Data for synchrotron radiation facility design

Damage levels of inorganic materials in the presence of x-ray free electron laser radiation was the topic of a presentation given by Takahisa Koyama of the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (9511-6). The results provide important data for materials typically used in the design of optics for these facilities.

Systematic studies carried at the Japanese x-ray free electron facility SACLA included results from normal and grazing incident angle illumination of Si, SiO2,and metals including Pt, Mo, Ru, Rh, and W.

At normal incidence, threshold damage levels for Si of 0.78 µJ/µm2 and for SiO2 of 4.5 µJ/µm2 were reported.

Studies of 150-200 nm thick films of Pt with a 5 nm Cr adhesion layer on Si and SiO2 showed reduced damage thresholds for these substrate materials in the presence of the metal overlayers. Grazing angle studies of metals showed reduced damage threshold levels with increasing angle of incidence.


New uses for optical fibers in astronomy

New uses of specialty optical fibers in astronomy were discussed in a presentation by Simon Ellis of the Australian Astronomical Observatory (9507-12).

Optical fibers have a long history of use in astronomy having been employed for multiple object spectroscopy and to coherently link telescopes. This presentation dealt with using new forms of optical fibers to address issues with observations in the near infrared (NIR) spectral region of the night sky.

The NIR is of interest since Rayleigh scattering, which scales as the inverse fourth power of the wavelength, is less in this region than it is in the visible which allows for a better study of such phenomenon as star formation. In addition, light from the early universe is typically red-shifted into this region of the spectrum so studies in this field rely upon light in the NIR.

An issue with light in this spectral region is that OH emission lines are quite bright and can impact data collection and analysis. Fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) provide a solution path to filtering out these lines. Challenges with their use include the need for large bandpass and multiple channels -- issues that can be addressed with the use of aperiodic FBGs -- and the need to work in the multimode regime. This latter challenge can be dealt with through a combination of FBG's and photonic lanterns.

Ellis shared a design incorporating these elements and preliminary data from a prototype system tested on the GNOSIS unit on the Anglo-Australian Telescope. Initial results were encouraging.

He concluded with a short discussion of other specialty fibers including multi-core designs incorporating FBG's and the use of femtosecond laser processing to write FBGs directly into more complex design schemes. The versatility and superior filtering ability of FBGs allow them to continue to find utility in new fields and interesting applications.


Around the conference rooms

Mark Wiggins
Mark Wiggins
Kyriacos Kalli Eleni Diamanti
Kyriacos Kalli Eleni Diamanti
Francesco Baldini Christian Rewitz
Francesco Baldini Christian Rewitz
Saša Bajt Henry Chapman
Saša Bajt Henry Chapman

Mark Wiggins from University of Strathclyde gave a talk on undulator radiation driven by laser-wakefield accelerator electron beams, in the conference on Relativistic Plasma Waves and Particle Beams as Coherent and Incoherent Radiation Sources (9509-21).

Kyriacos Kalli of the Cyprus University of Technology along with fellow Micro-structured and Specialty Optical Fibers conference chairs Jiri Kanka (Institute of Photonics and Electronics of the Czech Academy of Sciences) and Alexis Mendez (MCH Engineering LLC) organized an excellent conference on the current state of the art of specialty fibers featuring speakers from the international community.

Eleni Diamanti from Télécom Paris Tech gave an invited talk on practical secure quantum communications in the Quantum Optics and Quantum Information Transfer and Processing conference (9505-22). She reported on the state of the art in long-distance fiber optic experiments for continuous-variable quantum key distribution (CV-QKD), including the resistance of CV-QKD systems to eavesdropping attacks based on auxiliary information channels that are typically not taken into account in security proofs, and avenues to exploit the standard components employed in such systems with the goal of developing silicon photonic chips for quantum key distribution. The results open the way to the widespread use of this technology for high-security applications.

Francesco Baldini (Istituto di Fisica Applicata Nello Carrara), Jiří  Homola (Institute of Photonics and Electronics of the Czech Academy of Sciences), and SPIE President-Elect Robert Lieberman (Lumoptix LLC) chaired the Optical Sensors conference.

Christian Rewitz of Bayer Material Science AG, a supplier of advanced materials to the holography industry, was one of numerous people from industry who leveraged their presence at the conference by giving talks on research activities in their company of relevance to the audience. Rewitz spoke in Holography: Advances and Modern Trends conference on 2nd harmonics HOE recording in Bayfol HX (9508-18). Because 2nd harmonic components allow replay of diffraction angles that are normally only accessible with edge-lit writing configurations, Rewitz said, this approach significantly simplifies master recordings for vHOEs with edge-lit functionalities, which later can be used in contact copy schemes for mass replication. He discussed selected materials and recording parameters to influence 2nd harmonic efficiency and compared experimental and simulated results.

Saša Bajt of Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron, conference chair for Damage to VUV, EUV, and X-ray Optics, chaired a session on Damage to Samples in which Henry Chapman (also of Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron) gave an overview on how to avoid radiation damage to samples when using X-ray FEL pulses in atomic-resolution imaging of biological macromolecules (9511-14). Chapman reviewed the interaction of intense femtosecond X-ray pulses with materials and discussed the implications for structure determination. He identified various dose regimes, concluding that the strongest achievable signals for a given sample are attained at the highest possible dose rates, from highest possible pulse intensities.


Pushing the boundaries of laser science: Peter Moulton plenary

Jiří Homola, Peter Moulton, Eugene Arthurs
Jiří Homola, Institute of Photonics and Electronics of the Czech
Academy of Sciences, at left, and SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs, at
right, talk with plenary speaker Peter Moulton of Q-Peak.

Material challenges and amplifier approaches used in ultrahigh-peak-power lasers was the topic of Wednesday's plenary presentation by Peter Moulton of Q-Peak. The talk gave an excellent overview of various amplifier approaches being explored for high-peak-power systems, and insight into the challenges and solution paths for each approach.

Sub-hundred femtosecond pulse lasers first were realized in the 1980s through the use of organic dyes which gave way in the 1990s to more reliable Ti:sapphire sources.

Amplifying such pulses presents interesting challenges. A large gain bandwidth is required since the amplification process reduces pulse bandwidth extending pulse width. This effect can be countered using spectral shaping elements. This leaves the issue of amplifying these pulses and producing high peak powers without damaging the optics. Chirped pulse amplification (CPA), first proposed in the mid-1980s by Mourou and Strikland, addresses this issue and has enabled significant progress in femtosecond amplification schemes.

Three primary amplifier approaches exist: bulk format amplifiers, optical parametric chirped pulse amplifiers (OPCPA), and fiber amplifiers. For any amplifier, the amount of energy extracted depends on the fluence of the input pulse. A low saturation fluence allows for extraction of energy with a minimal risk of optical damage. An ideal medium would have low saturation fluence, long storage time and a large linewidth but achieving this is problematic and so compromises must be made.

In the case of bulk format amplifiers, Ti:sapphire provides suitable saturation fluence and linewidth but is lacking in storage time, an issue that can be addressed by storing energy in the pump laser and using a q-switching scheme. Using these methods, systems such as the 1 terawatt BELLA laser at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have been demonstrated. Other materials, such as rare earths, have wide bandwidths and Yb:YAG systems utilizing multi-pass regenerative amplifier designs provide another pathway to high peak powers.

OPCPA designs, based on the use of nonlinear crystals, many of which demonstrate large bandwidths, have demonstrated high peak power as well. These designs enable high gain in a single stage and provide a wider range of wavelengths than do their bulk format counterparts but place additional requirements on the pump source including the need for high peak power and uniformity.

Scaling single shot systems and average power based on these amplifier schemes presents interesting challenges. To scale average power, for example, it is necessary to increase the pump laser repetition rate while mitigating resulting thermal effects. Similar considerations in terms of thermal effects must then be considered when dealing with both the bulk format and OPCPA amplifier approaches.

Fiber amplifier formats, on the other hand, do provide methods to mitigate thermal effects. The thin diameter of the fibers provides a shorter thermal path for heat dissipation and thermal effects can be distributed over the length of the fiber. Large gain bandwidths are also possible.

That said, a number of issues exist with fiber amplifier approaches including amplified spontaneous emission buildup, self-focusing effects, and self-phase modulation. Larger mode diameter fibers suffer from thermal lensing effects and thermal mode instabilities. Despite these concerns, multiple gigawatt peak-power systems have recently been demonstrated.

The presentation concluded with a brief discussion on mid-IR sources where Cr:ZnSe is providing some encouraging initial results. It is clear that great advances have occurred in these areas and that much interesting work remains to be done. This work will require much engineering effort but the payoff promises to be new sources which further push the boundaries of laser science and the fields that rely upon these high-powered-sources for their investigations.


Advances in quantum optics, sensors, 3D writing

The Quantum Optics and Quantum Information Transfer and Processing conference began on Wednesday with an opening session on quantum key distribution (QKD). Masato Koashi of the University of Tokyo described a round robin differential phase shift QKD methodology. Based on a laser interferometer with delay lines and photon detectors, the method demonstrated high bit-error tolerance, requires only a single verifiable assumption of the source, and has no need for precise extraction of disturbance.

Bernd Fröhlich of Toshiba Research Group Europe discussed methods and challenges and shared experimental results for combining QKD with existing networks. The results demonstrated QKD can coexist with small-scale gigabit-capable passive optical networks (GPON) and that larger-scale shared-scheme networks would require a second feeder fiber. In those dual feeder designs, GPON signals were demonstrated in field studies to be capable of being transmitted at full power for cases up to 128 users.

In the final talk of the session, Takehisa Iwakoshi of Tamagawa University demonstrated that fake state attacks could work in round robin distribution systems and discussed countermeasures to modify the network to avoid attacks. The session provided a lively start to the conference and demonstrated the progress towards making quantum systems part of our everyday lives.

Babora Spackova Peter Herman
Babora Spackova Peter Herman

The Optical Sensors conference was well attended and covered a wide range of relevant subjects including plasmonic sensing. In her talk, Barbora Spackova from Institute of Photonics and Electronics of the Czech Academy of Sciences described a novel optical biosensor based on a propagating mode supported by a sparse array of metal nanoparticles (9506-29).

In Integrated Optics: Physics and Simulations, Peter Herman of the University of Toronto gave a talk in the Materials and Fabrication session on research in femtosecond laser 3D writing which examined the formation of optical circuits in fiber cladding on three levels, using various approaches to enhance the optical functionality of optical fiber (9516-27).


Poster session draws a crowd

A crowded poster session provided conference attendees with the opportunity to discuss the latest research results on display, network with colleagues, and establish new connections; among the authors, at lower left, was Ivo Nascimento of the Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores (INESC) do Porto, whose paper reported on measuring magnetic fields with a fiber-laser-based sensor.

Poster session, Optics + Optoelectronics Poster session, Optics + Optoelectronics
Ivo Nascimento, Optics + Optoelectronics poster session Poster session, Optics + Optoelectronics


Narrowing the energy supply-demand gap: Laser Energy Workshop Day One

The potential of laser energy as a means to narrow the gap between global energy supply and demand is a topic of intense interest. Wednesday afternoon saw the start of a two-day workshop on this subject featuring project updates from the European HiPER (High Power laser Energy Research facility) program as well as progress reports from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) National Ignition Facility (NIF) program and the French Laser MegaJoule (LMJ) project.

The first day of the session provided attendees with good updates on projects in progress as well as highlighting some of the challenges of the technology and the variety of approaches possible to obtaining ignition.

Chris Edwards, UK Science and Technology Facilities Council
Chris Edwards
Thierry Massard, Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique
Thierry Massard
John Edwards, Lawrence Livermore National Lab
John Edwards

Opening session chair Chris Edwards of the UK Science and Technologies Facilities Council -- and also a 2015 Optics + Optoelectronics symposium chair -- noted that laser energy requires a number of puzzle pieces to come together. Ignition and high gain must be combined with high-efficiency, low-cost laser drivers as well as resilient materials and mass production capability of fuel capsules to realize the promise of this technology.

Thierry Massard of the Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique provided an update on the LMJ-PETAL project. Output specifications for the PETAL beamline include a 3kJ maximum pulse energy, currently limited to 1kJ due to damage threshold limits with mirrors, and picosecond scale pulse widths. The PETAL line is due to be commissioned later this year with limited user access to begin in 2016 followed by full user access in 2017.

Lessons learned at NIF during the National Ignition Campaign (NIC) and future plans were the subject of a presentation by John Edwards of LLNL. The failure to achieve ignition provided valuable learning on the engineering fundamentals of the hohlraum and capsule design. The two implosion schemes explored both encountered limiting factors associated with poor control of the implosion symmetry and hydrodynamic instability seeded by the capsule support mechanism.

The last two years have provided much opportunity for learning how to improve these scenarios and good progress has been made. There appears to be a clear direction towards controlling instability and attention is now focused on improving hohlraum symmetry.

The second afternoon session of the workshop dealt with theoretical work, modeling and simulations, and experiments on the topic of fusion physics.

Stefano Atzeni of Sapienza Università di Roma discussed simulation work demonstrating that shock ignition is a promising alternative to conventional ignition schemes, while Robert Bingham of STFC Rutherford Appeton Laboratory described theoretical work illustrating that collisionless shock could be used to accelerate ions to ignite pre-compressed fluid.

The feasibility of magnetically assisted fast ignition was the topic of a presentation by Wei-Min Wang of the Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH.

Experimental work demonstrating planar targets show rich laser plasma interaction spectroscopic features and that these interactions are impacted by filamentation and self-focusing effects was presented by Leonida Gizzi of Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche.

In the day's final presentation, Vasilis Dimitriou of the Technological Educational Institute of Crete described simulation work and experimental results on nanosecond pulse and strong current plasma generation.


On the tour: ELI Beamlines and HiLASE

SPIE leaders including President-Elect Robert Lieberman, CEO Eugene Arthurs, and Senior Director Andrew Brown visited the ELI Beamlines and adjacent HiLASE facility, hosted by Bedrich Rus and Pavel Bakule of the ELI Beamlines project and joined by Jon Zuegel of the University of Rochester. The tour included the impressive clean room facilities at HiLASE, where the operation of a range of laser hardware was described (at left), as well as the ELI Beamlines site (at right).

HiLASE tour ELI Beamlines site visit


Solving problems with photonic integrated circuits: Andrea Melloni plenary

Andrea Melloni
Andrea Melloni

Progress in photonic integrated circuits and the use of optical probes as sensors was the focus of Tuesday's plenary talk by Andrea Melloni of the Politecnico di Milano. Melloni demonstrated advances in photonic integrated circuits and the useful application of those advances in practical problems and sensing applications.

A system-on-chip paradigm utilizing feedback and control is needed since devices are sensitive to such effects as thermal drift, cross-talk, and fabrication tolerances. The key to large-scale integration will be to maintain control of the photonic devices. Towards this end, sensors are needed to detect physical effects, control and calibration architectures are required for corrections, and actuators are needed for implementing the corrections.

Today, thermal devices are the primarily means of actuation. Work on actuators for influencing phase or intensity of light is ongoing and progress in this area is needed to realize enhanced system capability. Good sensors can be obtained by recognizing that waveguide electrical conductivity changes with surface state absorption which provides a sensitive mechanism for detecting photons passing through waveguides.

The fabrication and implementation of a contactless integrated photonic probe providing capacitive access to a waveguide and enabling measurements of the change in the waveguide conductance was described. This non-invasive sensing method, referred to as "CLIPP" by Melloni, was shown capable of measuring a waveguide effective index of refraction change of 0.5ppm.

Melloni demonstrated the flexibility and power of the technique, with a description of applications for fiber alignment with waveguides and wavelength feedback locking.


Cross-disciplinary connections

Thomas Tschentscher
Thomas Tschentscher

Thomas Tschentscher from the EU XFEL project gave an invited talk in the FEL conference, chaired by Sandra Biedron of Colorado State University, providing an update on the status of the XFEL and addressing the instrumentation challenges that they face, and another talk in a session on Extreme Light Sources and Facilities.

He noted the cross-disciplinary nature of the meeting and how important it is for the FEL community to be connecting to the traditional optics community: Optics + Optoelectronics provides such a venue.

Researchers, government funding agencies and facility management are coming together to network and discuss the status, successes, and challenges ahead. This includes hiring talented scientists and engineers from the optic and photonics community to ensure the success of these challenging and world-class projects.


More -- and more -- applications for fiber Bragg gratings

The flexibility of fiber Bragg gratings (FBG) and their use in various applications was highlighted in an invited talk provided by Tong Sun of City University London in Tuesday's Optical Sensors conference. These devices continue to find new applications given their resistance to electromagnetic interference, their ability to be assembled into multiplexing systems and their tolerance to harsh environments. Sun illustrated how the devices provide valuable tools for an increasingly expanding and varying portfolio of sensing applications.

A wide variety of practical examples was provided. The use of FBG's in optimizing concrete curing processes in microwave ovens to achieve similar compressive strength as that obtained through a method using steam ovens requiring more energy shows their utility in providing comparable performance in a cost effective and more environmentally sound fashion.

Their use in pantograph monitoring to provide clear indications of the magnitude and location of applied forces for safe and continuous running of electrical trains over a wide temperature range highlighted their capability of contributing to the transportation infrastructure. Engineering modifications to the devices adds further to their usefulness.

Adding a polymer film over the fiber and relying upon swelling of the film in the presence of moisture to produce strain in the grating provides a sensitive monitor of moisture content and relative humidity. Changing the composition of the FBG's provides a means to extend their temperature range providing a pathway for additional high temperature applications.


Exhibition showcases products, suppliers

A two-day exhibition opened Tuesday, featuring nearly 30 suppliers of optical instruments and systems to meet the needs of industrial and research applications in imaging and vision, defence, telecommunications, space, transportation, industrial process control, and other areas.

Exhibition, SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics Exhibition, SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics


Observing molecular and atomic processes in real time: Ferenc Krausz plenary

The use of attosecond pulses to study and control electron processes was the subject of the opening talk in Monday's plenary session, delivered by Ferenc Krausz of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and the Ludwig Maximilians University. Recent results and continued evolution of short-pulsewidth laser architectures show the promise of using this technology to deepen our understanding of the fundamental processes in nature and being able to observe complex molecular and atomic processes in real time.

After describing the formation of attosecond pulses and their characterization through the use of light-driven streak cameras, Krausz described various applications related to capturing and controlling electron processes. Examples included the use of strong fields to induce long-lived intra-atomic electronic coherence and tracking of nonlinear polarization effects where the presentation highlighted the ability of a few cycle laser pulse to drive a giant reversible increase in refractive index of a material.

Ferenc Krausz and Sang-Hyun Oh
Ferenc Krausz and Sang-Hyun Oh gave the week's first plenary
talks, to a standing-room-only audience.

The field continues to evolve with femtosecond lasers moving from dye laser technology to Ti:sapphire technology and now towards technology based on the broadband optical chirped pulse parametric amplification of visible-infrared continua driven by ytterbium disk lasers.

The use of thin disk gain modules enables scalability. Preliminary results of this third generation of short pulse technology obtained in the speaker's lab were shared where greater than 100 millijoules at 5 hertz and 10 millijoules at 100 kilohertz have been demonstrated.


Fabricating through atomic layer deposition: Sang-Hyn Oh plenary

Precise layer-by-layer deposition of dense, conformal metal oxide films through atomic layer deposition (ALD) methods enables the fabrication of structures providing unique plasmonic and optoelectronic characteristics. Sang-Hyun Oh of the University of Minnesota described the use of ALD in his lab to fabricate high aspect ratio metal-insulator-metal structures with insulator gaps as small as 1 nanometer. The work presented highlighted the value of ALD in providing precise control of device performance and the variety of applications that can benefit from using the technique.

Jan Šafanda, Jiří Homola, Robert Lieberman
From left, Jan Šafanda, vice president of the Czech Academy of
Sciences; symposium chair Jiří Homola, Institute of Photonics
and Electronics of the Czech Academy of Sciences; and
SPIE President-Elect Robert Lieberman of Lumoptix LLC
welcomed participants to the week's events.

In particular, applying these techniques to create annular gap structures allows for varying plasmon resonance wavelength with gap dimension as well as varying transmission through the structure. Such control could be useful in nonlinear optics, biosensing, optical trapping, and spectroscopic applications.

Varying ring size and coupling the structures with graphene results in performance which could be of interest in optoelectronic devices. The dynamic light control demonstrated by combining these nanometer-sized gaps with two dimensional materials also has applications in mid-IR and Raman spectroscopy, and the use of these "nanogaps" as nano-electrodes in dielectrophoresis to trap molecules was demonstrated.

A final demonstration of the utility of ALD made use of silicon, which after a KOH etch can be used as a template for the ALD process, to form ultrasharp probes for scanning probe microscopy.


High-energy, high-power lasers

Among first-day conference topics, the future of high-energy and high-power laser systems and facilities was on display in the opening sessions of the conference on Research Using Extreme Light: Entering New Frontiers with Petawatt Lasers.

The talks clearly demonstrated the rapid advancements in high-energy laser sources and their affiliated facilities. Their scientific output promises not only to advance our understanding of basic physics at the atomic and subatomic levels but also will have significant societal impact given the industrial and practical applications being emphasized in these programs.

Christopher Barty, Wolfgang Sandner, Nicolae-Victor Zamfir
Christopher Barty, Wolfgang Sandner, and Nicolae-Victor Zamfir
were among speakers in opening sessions.

In the keynote session, Christopher Barty of Lawrence Livermore National Lab presented the pathway to National Ignition Facility (NIF) exawatt capability. The use of mixed media amplifiers and upgraded gratings when paired with a method combining chirped pulses with chirped beams, creating multiple beams prior to final pulse compression, and coherently adding the compressed beams provides a means to realize exawatt level powers. Much of the design is compatible with current materials, methods, and fabrication schemes.

In the second keynote talk, Jonathan Wheeler of Ecole Polytechnique described a two-step approach to reach zeptosecond pulses and zetawatt powers. The first step involves generating single-cycle pulses with energies of 10-100 joules, and work in this area is underway using thin plastic films for spectral broadening. A proposal for a compressor based on such materials was presented. The second step would be the relativistic temporal compression from femtosecond to subattosecond pulses using a plasma mirror process. A theoretical description of the workings of this process was shared. Potential applications of this technology include high energy physics, vacuum physics, and high energy particle astrophysics.


ELI sources and facilities

The final morning session featured a series of presentations on the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI).

The status of the ELI beamlines was presented by Georg Korn of the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Science. Four beamlines with seven experimental stations and six additional multipurpose stations are planned with first user operation expected in 2018. The four laser sources range up to 10 petawatt and end stations include the capability for a diverse set of investigations including x-ray diffraction, phase-contrast imaging, and fluorescence studies.

Karoly Osvay of the ELI-HU Nonprofit Kft. discussed the ELI Attosecond Light Pulse Source (ELI-ALPS) whose mission is to make a wide range of ultrafast light sources accessible with a spectral range from the extreme ultraviolet (XUV) to x -rays and pulse widths from femtosecond to attosecond time scales. Three laser sources with pulse energies up to 500 millijoules are planned and projects pertaining to diode-pumped lasers, nonlinear optical methods, and temporal contrast issues have been funded. All areas are expected to be up and running by mid-2018.

The third pillar of ELI, ELI-NP, focusing on nuclear physics, was described by Nicolae-Victor Zamfir of the Horia Hulubei National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering. Six laser sources are planned for this facility including two 10 petawatt sources. The research objectives for this thrust includes nuclear physics experiments to characterize laser-target interactions, exotic nuclear physics and astrophysics and investigations of applications based on high intensity lasers and high brightness gamma beams.

Wolfgang Sandner, lead of the ELI Deliver Consortium International Association, explained how the management of the three ELI pillar facilities will come under one organizational structure following the build phase during which they are beingseparately managed and funded.


Synergistic topics

Martin Weisskopf Kenneth Ledingham
Martin Weisskopf Kenneth Ledingham

In other conferences, EUV and X-ray Optics saw a robust start. Opening talks by Martin Weisskopf (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center) -- on "Beyond Chandra: the future for high resolution x-ray astronomy" -- and others have helped build and maintain a constant level of interest in the first part of the week, as has Nonlinear Optics and Applications chaired by Mario Bertolotti (Sapienza Università di Roma) and his colleagues.

The conference on High-Power, High-Energy, and High-Intensity Laser Technology, chaired by Joachim Hein (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena) got underway with papers from Europe, Russia and China. Synergy between this conference and others is enabling a dynamic interchange.

The conference on Laser Acceleration of Electrons, Protons, and Ions, chaired by Eric Esarey (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab), complimented the conference on Medical Applications of Laser-Generated Beams, chaired by Kenneth Ledingham (University of Strathclyde) and colleagues.


Much to celebrate

Miriam Vitiello, Mario Bertolotti
Early Career Professional Award winner Miriam Vitiello and
conference chair Mario Bertolotti, at the welcome reception.

Miriam Vitiello, NEST, CNR Nanoscience Institute and Scuola Normale, and Mario Bertolotti, Sapienza Università di Roma,(at right) were among some of the Optics + Optoelectronics participants who enjoyed the sympoisum welcome reception Monday evening at the Kaiserstein Palace (below).

Earlier in the day, Vitiello had been presented with the SPIE 2015 Early Career Achievement Award, Academic Focus, in recognition of her research in semiconductor laser sources and electronic high-frequency nanodetectors. The award noted that her work has opened new frontiers in terahertz photonics and optoelectronics. Vitiello's honor marked the inaugural presentation of the Early Career Achievement Award with Academic Focus.

The award was presented by SPIE President-Elect Robert Lieberman at the start of the afternoon plenary session.

SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics reception at the Kaiserstein Palace


All photos © SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, except where noted. 

SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics proceedings now available


Click below or browse at left for meeting highlights:

Thursday 16 April

Record attendance, cross-disciplinary synergy

Laser technology, fusion materials, targets: Laser Energy Workshop Day Two

Data for synchrotron radiation facility design

New uses for optical fibers in astronomy

Around the conference rooms

Wednesday 15 April

Pushing the boundaries of laser science: Peter Moulton plenary

Advances in quantum optics, sensors, 3D writing

Poster session draws a crowd

Narrowing the energy supply-demand gap: Laser Energy Workshop Day One

On the tour: ELI Beamlines and HiLASE

Tuesday 14 April

Solving problems with photonic integrated circuits: Andrea Melloni plenary

Cross-disciplinary connections

More -- and more -- applications for fiber Bragg gratings

Exhibition showcases products, suppliers

Monday 13 April

Observing molecular and atomic processes in real time: Ferenc Krausz plenary

Fabricating through atomic layer deposition: Sang-Hyun Oh plenary

High-energy, high-power lasers

ELI sources and facilities

Synergistic topics

Much to celebrate



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International Year of Light 2015


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Links to more:
"Europe is big on lasers," SPIE Professional, April 2015
"Saudi laser lab focuses on attosecond science,", 18 February 2015