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SPIE Photonics Europe news and photos


Photonics Europe in BrusselsThe SPIE Photonics Europe 2014 week ended on a high note, with two more well-received Hot Topics talks on Thursday, and numerous connections made during the week’s activities -– including new research partners, customers, and potential employees or employers.

As Gregory Baethge of Lovalite/Lumerical Computational Solutions put it, "I saw people from throughout the European research community, including many developing the integrated photonics and nanophotonics that our design and simulation software is best for. Many of our customers are also giving papers here. The exhibit space plus the networking at poster sessions and receptions helped me connect face-to-face with people doing design of photonics and optoelectronics."

Follow the links below for details, or browse by day.

Thursday 17 April

Hot Topics: Marc Sciamanna on the butterfly effect in laser diodes

Hot Topics: Michal Lipson on pushing the boundaries of silicon photonics

Wednesday 16 April

Growing markets and opportunities: industry executive briefings

Peter Peumans on integrated photonics for the life sciences

Reinhart Poprawe on 3D printing and additive manufacturing

Photonics Innovation Village winners

'Getting Hired' panel

Wednesday poster session

Tuesday 15 April

SPIE Fellows Luncheon

Hot Topics: John Sipe on classical to quantum nonlinear optics

Hot Topics: Frank Koppens on graphene quantum nano-optoelectronics

Francesco Pavone on extending light-sheet microscopy methods

Pablo Valdes on image-guided brain tumor surgery

Ewa Goldys on hyperspectral imaging for stem cells, diagnostics

Photonics Europe Welcome Reception

Monday 14 April

SPIE society awards

Hot Topics: John Dudley on IYL2015

Hot Topics: Wolfgang Boch on Horizon 2020

Hot Topics: Raymond Beausoleil on photonics circuits

Hot Topics: Brian Wilson on nanotechnology in healthcare

SPIE Student Lunch with the Experts

SCHOTT workshop on the properties of optical glass

Anke Lohmann at SPIE Women in Optics

Monday poster session

VIP reception for conference chairs

Sunday 13 April

Student Chapter Leadership Workshop


Thursday 17 April

The butterfly effect

Marc Sciamanna of Supélec opened Thursday morning's Hot Topic session with his presentation, "The butterfly effect in laser diode dynamics." Sciamanna's ground-breaking work in this field not only is deepening our understanding of the physics of lasers and chaos but also providing opportunities to translate that learning to practical applications.

Sciamanna began with a historical review on chaotic behavior and lasers including Maiman's 1961 paper which referenced erratic laser output, Lorenz's equations from 1963, and Haken's work in 1975 connecting lasers and chaos which led to the understanding that instability of laser output is driven by high pump power and high losses in the cavity.

Sciamanna observed that the behavior of diode lasers as damped nonlinear oscillators was not expected to demonstrate chaotic behavior. Despite this, work from the 1980s through 2013 demonstrated that one could drive optical chaos by current modulation, optical injection and optical feedback means.

The nature of this behavior in laser diodes and the role of polarization switching and mode hopping as well as the importance of non-orthogonal elliptically polarized states in understanding the deterministic chaos being observed was explained.

The final portion of the presentation described how to apply and optimize the phenomena to random number generators.


Pushing the boundaries

Michal Lipson from Cornell University provided Thursday's second Hot Topic presentation with her talk, "Pushing the boundaries of silicon photonics." Her exciting presentation demonstrated that rapid advances are taking place in the field and that, with approaches to key components in place, silicon photonics is nearing entry into the semiconductor manufacturing flow.

Lipson explained that the problem being addressed is power dissipation in computers; higher bandwidth drives larger power dissipation. This power dissipation is driven at the chip level by transmitting signals, not the computing or calculations being done by the chip, and the goal is to replace these transmission lines-oftentimes copper interconnects-with optics.

The constraints, though, are significant since the large CMOS infrastructure dictates compatibility with traditional semiconductor processing methods including the use of silicon.

Passive devices guiding light have been in place for a number of years. The challenge is to make active devices given the CMOS processing constraints. Since silicon is a centrosymmetric crystal, its second order susceptibility vanishes so electro-optical effects needed for devices such as modulators are not present. Lipson described work from her team to circumvent this issue, leveraging previous learning that one can inject carriers to change refractive index resulting in something like an electro-optical effect to construct a combined optical and electrical device (simply a p-i-n junction) to function as a modulator.

She also showed that such modulators can be cascaded and constructed to operate at different wavelengths to allow wavelength division multiplexing thereby increasing bandwidth. The other active device needed is an isolator, which typically makes use of magnetic materials to break directional symmetry. Lipson provided a description and showed the performance of a scheme developed by her team to make optical isolators at the chip level.

Noting that the majority of work to date has been done with single mode light, Lipson moved on to discuss multimode photonics. She illustrated how to utilize changes in silicon film thickness to modulate the effective index of refraction of a waveguide to allow for multimode propagation and then discussed a means to multiplex these modes.


Wednesday 16 April


Growing markets and opportunities

A day-long programme of executive briefings on the growing markets and consequent business opportunities of photonics technologies and applications featured a distinguished panel, including Peter Hartmann (SCHOTT), Wenko Süptitz (SPECTARIS), Elisabeth Leitner (Deutsches Institut für Normung), Detlev Ristau (Laserzentrum Hannover), Augustin Grillet (Barco, Photonics21), Anthony Hillion (Aquiti Gestion), Els Van de Velde (IDEA Consult), Peter Peumans (IMEC), and Reinhart Poprawe (Fraunhofer ILT). Synopses of talks by Peumans and Poprawe follow.

Moderator Steve Anderson of SPIE presented on data developed by the society on the revenue and number of jobs generated by the core photonics components. The data compose the first report in an ongoing analysis on the size of the global photonics market, with the goal of drawing attention to the important contributions photonics technologies and applications make to the economy and to people's lives. Read more in the SPIE press release.


Integrated photonics for the life sciences

Integrated photonics from silicon and silicon-oxy-nitride waveguides are enabling new and reduced-cost life sciences applications including sensors, next generation diagnostics, DNA sequencing, lens-free microscopy, wearable spectrometers, single-molecule fluorescence detection, and blood cell sorters that can find rare, circulating tumor cells, noted IMEC's Peter Peumans. IMEC has strong capability in integrated photonics fabrication and is now applying this expertise to biophotonics devices on a silicon platform.

One project is designed to increase the performance of high-throughput screening for DNA sequencing that read larger base pairs or longer "phrases" of DNA, with parallelized single molecule fluorescence detection that increase accuracy and speed by monitoring 150,000 reactions simultaneously.

Cancer tumors become far more deadly when they spread via blood, but finding and distinguishing them is difficult because a medical device must sort through billions of cells to find one circulating tumor cell. Peumans outlined how IMEC work in cell sorting and lens-free microscopy offers the opportunity for significant improvements in cancer detection.

Peumans noted that early detection of certain diseases can significantly reduce healthcare costs because treatments later in the disease cycle may cost over five times as much as the options available to the patient at an earlier stage.

Approximately 75% of medical care expenses are devoted to patients with chronic disease, with ongoing monitoring requirements. To reduce cost and improve quality of life people generally prefer to be at home, even with chronic disease, so new methods to monitor patients and report key measurements are required.

Recent IMEC work has developed technology to use smart phones and pads that are now ubiquitous, rather than requiring investment in new remote monitoring instruments. These include a technical concept IMEC calls "iLab" that is being developed with Johns Hopkins University, which delivers next generation diagnostics using personal electronics.

IMEC is also experimenting with a wearable, high-performance spectrometer on a chip -- biophotonics on a silicon platform -- that they envision working as a wristband-style instrument.


'Bits to photons to atoms': 3D printing

The age of digital photonic production includes laser additive manufacturing, selective laser melting (SLM), laser metal Deposition (LMD) and controlled deposition of functional layers. These and related methods convert "bits to photons to atoms" in ways that reduce cost, reduce waste, and enable new complex forms and structures, said Reinhart Poprawe of Fraunhofer ILT.

Prototyping a new engine block can be achieved in four days rather than four months using additive manufacturing processes developed at Fraunhofer ILT, Poprawe said. For traditional milling of a jet engine turbine blade/hub assembly, the time may be reduced from 180 hours to 180 minutes.

Laser-induced forward transfer (LIFT) and selective laser etching have been demonstrated to produce gears and precise tolerance mechanisms arranged correctly from the time of manufacture. At even smaller dimensions, microfluidics devices for life sciences and healthcare can be prototyped and delivered with greater precision and speed than any time in history.

And, while product design complexity can be high, unit volume or lot size can be low using these new manufacturing methods. Using laser additive manufacturing - often called 3D printing - even a single object may be created for testing, not simply with plastics or polymers but with strong metal alloys.

Recent experiments at Fraunhofer ILT have demonstrated that aluminum can be significantly strengthened by specific exposure to laser light, making it more appropriate for complex, high-load structures including, for example, aircraft components.

On the other extreme of durability, advancements in additive manufacturing for replacement bone structures, such as cheek bones that do not endure high loads, can now be manufactured with such biocompatibility that the human body can grow into and throughout the implant, which itself gradually dissolves into inert components leaving behind the proper structure.


Prize winning photonics innovation

Diane De Coster
Diane De Coster, VUB

Developed as a way to support and publicize research teams from universities, non-profit institutions and research centers who are working on research, new applications and product development, the Photonics Innovation Village brought together seven multi-lateral projects and six individual projects to showcase Europe's (and the world's) finest research programs and to encourage the transfer of optics and photonics research and technology into new and useful products.

The 6th edition of the Photonics Innovation Village was organized by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). By taking part in the competition, innovative researchers were able to showcase their latest research to industry innovators and other photonics visionaries.

Diane De Coster, SPIE Student Chapter president at VUB, introduced the jury comprised of Ronan Burgess, EC Photonics Unit; SPIE President Philip Stahl, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center; Peter Hartmann, SCHOTT; and Steve Anderson, SPIE. The jury's tough task was to rank the projects, with the outcome being "incredibly close."

The top prize in the category of "Best Innovation by an Individual Researcher" went to Josep Carreras from LEDMOTIVE Technologies S.L., for "Ledmotive®: A light engine with full spectral control."

The first runner-up was Markus Mangold from Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories Materials Science and Technology for his project "Portable mid-IR trace gas sensor for mobile applications."

Second runner-up was Christophe Caucheteur, University of Mons, Electromagnetism and Telecommunication Department, for his project, "IR radiation sensor for early fire detection."

The winners in the category of "Best Innovation by a Multilateral Project, Organisation or Company" were Gary Stevens, MINERVA, Vivid Components, FP7 project, UK, for their project "Mid- to near-IR spectroscopy for improved medical diagnostics."

The first runner-up prize went to Udo Weigel, ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences / HemoPhotonics S.L., for their project, "A portable diffuse optical Neuro-Monitor."

Second runner-up was Stephan Stockel with the Institute of Physical Chemistry, Friedrich Schiller University / Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology under the umbrella of the European Network of Excellence Photonics4Life, for their project, "The Bio Particle Explorer."

View photos of the winners in the Photonics Europe photo gallery.


Careers in industry

Timo Mappes, Viviane Deleu, Peter Hartmann, Bob Haynsie

Careers in optics and photonics outside the academic world was the focus of the SPIE "Getting Hired" panel. Attendees learned about the process for getting hired at tech-based companies and non-academic jobs directly from professionals in the optics and photonics sector. Panelists, from left above, were Timo Mappes, Carl Zeiss AG; Viviane Deleu, Insel, a Ransand Company; Peter Hartmann, SCHOTT AG; and Bob Hainsey, SPIE.


Posters popping!

Wednesday saw the final poster session of the week, for conferences 9131, 9132, 9133, 9134, 9135, 9138, 9139.

Yu-Heng Wu, Tsu-Chiang Yen

Yu-Heng Wu (left), and Tsu-Chiang Yen, both from National Sun Yat-Sen University, discuss their poster, "Critical slowing down in polarization switching of vertical-cavity surface emitting lasers." View more photos of Wednesday's poster session in the Photonics Europe photo gallery.


Tuesday 15 April

New Fellows, old friends

Valery Tuchin, Anna Mignani

Valery Tuchin, co-chair of Biophotonics: Photonic Solutions for Better Health Care (9129); and Anna Mignani, co-chair of Optical Sensing and Detection (9141), catch up at the SPIE Fellows Luncheon.

Four new Fellows we inducted into the Society:

  • Peter Hartmann of SCHOTT, for achievements in optical glass and glass ceramics
  • Ignacio Moreno of Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche, for achievements in applications of liquid-crystal spatial light modulators in diffractive optics and polarization optics
  • Min Qiu of Zhejiang University, for achievements in nanophotonic devices based on photonic crystals, plasmonics and metamaterials
  • Detlev Ristau of Laser Zentrum Hannover, for achievements in optical coatings.

View more photos from the luncheon in the Photonics Europe photo gallery.


Tuesday Hot Topics

From classical to quantum nonlinear optics in photonic structures

John SipeThe first speaker in Tuesday's Hot Topics session was John Sipe of the University of Toronto whose talk entitled "From classical to quantum nonlinear optics in photonic structures" illustrated the connections between classical nonlinear optics and its quantum counterpart.

Sipe introduced his topic showing that classical phenomena such as difference frequency generation (DFG) and four-wave mixing find their quantum analogs in spontaneous parametric down-conversion (SPDC) and spontaneous four-wave mixing wherein one can envision the seed in classical optics being replaced by quantum fluctuations for the equivalent quantum processes. The question, then, is how to connect classical and quantum effects.

To motivate this discussion, Sipe reminded his audience of the Einstein A and B coefficients used to describe spontaneous (A) and stimulated (B) emission rates. In both cases, the system evolves from an excited to a ground state with the emission of a photon but the stimulated case can be understood on classical grounds whereas the spontaneous case is purely a quantum effect.

That said, measurements to determine B through classical means results in knowledge related to its quantum counterpart, A. Sipe demonstrated similar logic can be applied to DFG and SPDC and illustrated the similarities in the expressions for the output power of the two phenomena.

When analyzing this case in terms of wave functions, Sipe demonstrated that classical experiments can provide insight on the biphoton wave function. The experimental arrangement used in this case was termed ‘stimulated emission tomography' or ‘virtual tomography' as it's now known. Overall, the concept that this connection exists and can be employed to more quickly and easily measure and understand quantum phenomena is a powerful one which could prove beneficial in advancing studies of optical devices for quantum information technologies.


Graphene quantum nano-optoelectronics: fundamentals and applications

Frank KoppensThe second speaker in Tuesday's Hot Topics session was Frank Koppens from the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), who presented on graphene in his talk, "Nano-optoelectronic 2D materials."

Graphene, a single layer of graphite laid out on a honeycomb lattice, demonstrates high conductivity, no bandgap, and massless charge carriers due its linear dispersion relationship at low energies. In terms of optoelectronic properties, it offers broadband absorption, fast response, and tunable plasmonic properties along with other unique characteristics including large surface-to-volume ratio.

Light absorption in the material has the unique attribute of being independent of material constants relying solely on the fine structure constant. Adding dopants allows moving the Fermi energy and tuning of optical properties.

Furthermore, its broadband response when coupled with patterning of given dimensions produces strong optical resonances at those dimensions. Being able to change the carrier density and tune plasmonic response by adjusting the Fermi level allows for customizing electrical response. Together, these properties result in a material ideal for applications in nanoscale optoelectronics, light harvesting, sensing, detecting, silicon photonics and nonlinear optics. Koppens' team is at the forefront of graphene research and continues their work investigating this novel material system.


Hot topics -- in the conference rooms, too

hot topics at Photonics Europe

Tuesday's schedule included more Hot Topics speakers (above) but the conference rooms were also busy with talks on the latest technologies -- a sample follows.


Extending light-sheet microscopy for whole-brain imaging

Presenting in the Neurophotonics session of the Biophotonics: Photonic Solutions for Better Health Care conference, Francesco Pavone of the Università degli Studi de Firenze discussed work his group has done to extend light-sheet microscopy methods.

This technique, known for its data acquisition speed but traditionally limited in resolution, was adapted to a confocal scheme. The resulting confocal light sheet microscopy (CLSM) method improves image contrast and reduces image blurring.

Coupled with image stitching software and cell counting software developed by the team, CLSM offers the ability to do whole brain imaging and track processes. Combining CLSM with two photon fluorescence imaging and correlating the resulting images enables a study of long term projection neurons ex vivo.

This work provides the potential for correlating single neuron functionality with morphology, studying plastic brain rewiring after surgery or sensory deprivation, and analyzing the sprouting response of different neuron types thereby deepening our understanding of neuron activity in the brain.


Image-guided brain tumor surgery

Pablo Valdes from Dartmouth College described work done in conjunction with Britton Chance Award winner Brian Wilson from the University of Toronto in his presentation, "A translational paradigm for quantitative multiplexed fluorescence image guidance for brain tumor surgery." The goal of the joint research program is to improve upon the use of fluorescence techniques in tumor detection.

Valdes noted that today such techniques are largely qualitative relying either on microscope observation or camera image viewing to guide surgeons during procedures. This qualitative nature limits accuracies to 60-70% in identifying and removing tumors. Developing an approach to measure tissue optical properties allowing for a correction factor to be applied to the raw fluorescence signal thereby enabling extraction of the intrinsic fluorescence moves the method from the qualitative to the quantitative realm.

Initial clinical results using a probe designed by the team to measure tissue properties resulted in 80-90% accuracy, a significant improvement over the accuracies obtained with purely qualitative means. Acting on feedback from clinicians who were more comfortable with traditional microscopy methods, the team integrated their system into a microscope enabling 3D imaging with a 1-2 second/image capture rate.

Valdes added that multiple biomarkers can be used to enhance information capture and that the technique is extendable into the near IR portion of the spectrum. Future work will look to incorporate stereoscopic methods and make use of endogenous markers. The work represents a significant improvement to a traditional surgical method and the effectiveness of translational research in improving health care.


Hyperspectral imaging for stem cells, diagnostics

Hyperspectral imaging (HSI), widely used for decades in mineralogy, surveillance and the food industry, is now showing great promise for cell characterization -- including stem cells -- and could be used to aid medical treatment of a wide range of conditions. In an invited talk in the Biophotonics conference, Ewa Goldys noted that the vast range of cell types presents a major identification challenge.

Classic characterization techniques tend to be slow and cumbersome, and while fluorescence typically relies on the use of biomarkers and staining compounds, a new label-free approach by Goldys and her Macquarie University colleagues in Australia requires only the natural autofluorescence of biological tissue to work. Read more in the optics.org article.


A cultural welcome

Photonics Europe Welcome Reception

Hundreds of attendees gathered at The Royal Museums of Fine Arts for the Photonics Europe Welcome Reception. The Museums' collections trace the history of the visual arts from the 15th to the 21st centuries.


Monday 14 April


Society awards and Hot Topics start the day

Francis Berghmans

Symposium chair Francis Berghmans, Vrije Univ. Brussel, welcomed the large crowd to 2014 SPIE Photonics Europe.

First up was the presentation of two SPIE society awards.

SPIE President Philip Stahl presented the 2014 Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award to Brian Wilson (Ontario Cancer Institute) in recognition of his outstanding lifetime contributions to the field of biomedical optics through the development of innovative, high impact technologies. The award particularly honors pioneering contributions to optical methods and devices that have facilitated advancements in biology or medicine.

The 2014 Dennis Gabor Award was presented to Pramod Rastogi (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in diffractive wavefront technologies, especially those which further the development of holography and metrology applications; particularly his groundbreaking research in the development of high resolution and multi-component parametric phase formulation methods for the simultaneous estimation of multiple phases and their derivatives from holographic interference patterns.

View award photos in the Photonics Europe photo gallery.


'Window to the universe'

John DudleyEuropean Physical Society President and SPIE Member John Dudley (Université de Franche-Comté) inaugurated the week's Hot Topics with a talk entailing plans for the International Year of Light (IYL2015) and light-based technologies. A partnership of over 100 scientific societies and organizations from more than 85 countries has successfully led an initiative to have the year 2015 declared the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies by the United Nations.

Dudley stressed that this is not "business as usual." Whether in industry, academia, or government, scientists need to raise public and international political awareness about the importance of light for the future of global society. Advances in light-based technology are crucial for sustainable development, they open up new educational horizons, they preserve cultural heritage, and address issues of climate change.

IYL2015 will raise public and international political awareness of the importance of light for the future of global society. Stating that photonics is the "window to the universe," he urged his colleagues to become involved any way they can to spread the word about all of the possibilities light can bring to society. Dudley made special mention of the possibilities for developing countries. "Study after sunset is not possible in many countries, let's help bring light to the entire world."


'Departure from the past'

Wolfgang Boch, Head of Photonics Unit in the European Commission (EC), provided an overview of Horizon 2020, the new European Wolfgang Boschprogramme for research and innovation, highlighting the most significant novel features and what it will mean for photonics research, development and innovation in Europe.

In particular the Photonics Public-Private Partnership (PPP) which has recently been launched will play an essential role in determining the research and innovation priorities for future funding rounds. The key objectives of this partnership are to use research excellence, boost the innovation eco-system to drive Europe's competitiveness, and secure industrial leadership in this highly innovative and economically significant global photonics market; thus creating economic growth and jobs. Boch said that this effort is a "departure from the past."

New efforts will focus on solutions for society's challenges such as health and aging, energy, and climate. "A key enabling technology with enormous economical potential, photonics has achieved broad recognition in Europe," said Boch. "Photonics is central to driving innovation in the 21st century. To exploit Europe's full potential in photonics collaboration along the value-chain and networking is crucial. The PPP with its working groups is relevant for your work and open to all. Get involved," he urged.


Photonics circuits in the mainstream

Raymond BeausoleilLarge-scale integration presents numerous opportunities for continued research, understanding, and eventual migration into the mainstream for photonics circuits, as demonstrated by Hot Topics speaker Raymond Beausoleil, an HP Fellow in Systems Research at HP Labs.

Accessing resonant modes in photonic micro- and nanostructures producing increases in spectral density, energy efficiency, and local-field intensity, all without the use of metal, can enable large-scale integrated photonic circuits and could introduce an optics version of Moore's Law, Beausoleil said.

Three different domains in applying photonics to information technologies were explored in the course of the talk.

In classical optics for classical computing, Beausoleil described the design and advantages of a photonics-based high radix switch. An integrated photonic I/O results in low power and low latency and provides a port bandwidth which is scalable with processor performance. Use of such a switch in a dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) CMOS photonics approach provides a path to scale bandwidth at merchant silicon cost.

Beausoleil highlighted recent work in off-chip comb lasers and micro-rings as well as on-chip hybrid lasers, describing how to build a photonic ASIC, or "PhASIC," and highlighting the need for a photonics development kit paralleling and integrated with the traditional electronics kit to allow co-design and co-packaging.

In quantum optics for quantum computing, Beausoleil highlighted some of the criteria for quantum technology adoption, saying it needs to be integrated, packaged, and interconnected to enable scaling and that defect tolerance needs to also be considered. Cavity quantum electrodynamics (cavity QED) in diamond was described in the context of an application to create single photons for entanglement which then led to work with photonic bandgap crystals.

Beausoleil concluded with the somewhat paradoxical -sounding concept of using quantum optics for classical computing. Harnessing coherence effects could make photonics circuits more efficient and effective. Implementation and trade-offs with optical switching devices were described as was a semi-classical simulation approach suitable for


Emerging nanotechnology in healthcare

Emerging nanotechnologies enabling new promise for improvements in endoscopy were outlined by Hot Topics speaker Brian Brian WilsonWilson of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Technical Institute at the University of Toronto in Canada.

Beginning with an overview of the history of endoscopy and highlighting the introduction of the optical fiber as a game-changing technology, Wilson noted that endoscopy is now ubiquitous, being used in every body space for both surgical and standalone procedures. Flexible and rigid endoscopes are available and capsule approaches are now gaining interest.

Approximately 50 percent of non-skin cancers arise as thin lesions in hollow organs, and curability decreases rapidly with advancing stage, emphasizing the need for effective early detection to enable diagnosis and treatment. Wilson discussed two examples: esophageal cancer and lung cancer.

In the former case, treatment today, due to difficulty in seeing lesions, can consist of sampling biopsies along the length of the esophagus searching for tumors.

In the latter, Wilson showed recent National Cancer Institute (NCI) results demonstrating a high degree of false positives implying the potential for non-essential surgical procedures.

Both cases illustrate the need for minimally invasive techniques for diagnosis and treatment, and personalized treatment is another important factor. In terms of instrumentation, these facts translate to a need for better sensitivity and specificity, molecular profiling and precise guidance.

There are several approaches to addressing this collection of medical and instrumentation needs, and Wilson focused his discussion on means to exploit other light-tissue interactions.

Fluorescence provides high sensitivity but low specificity, Raman scattering provides high accuracy but in a point-sampling mode, and coherent backscattering, although fast, is limited in its imaging depth.

Nanoparticles offer some benefits when compared to the other methods including signal amplification for better detection, biomarker multiplexing for enhanced diagnosis and multi-functionality for improved therapeutics. In examples of nanoparticle use, Wilson highlighted the use of a scanning-fiber endoscope developed by Eric Seibel at the University of Washington.

General issues with nanoparticles around toxicity effects and cost were discussed, and Wilson noted that soft nanoparticles would be more likely to be cost effective than would hard nanoparticles and, given their organic composition, come with the added benefit of being biodegradable.

Read the optics.org article on Wilson's Hot Topics talk.


Focus on the next generation

SPIE President Philip Stahl wlecomed nearly 200 students and established professionals to the SPIE Student Lunch with the Experts.

In 2013, SPIE gave out US$3.2 million in support of education and outreach programs including individual scholarships, travel grants for student authors to present at conferences, student chapter leader training, and lunches like today's event.

SPIE scholarship winners

SPIE scholarship winners gathered for a photo at the luncheon: Yevheniia Chernukha (Taras Shevchenko National Univ. of Kyiv), Valadimir Korenev (Saint-Petersburg Academic Univ. of RAS), Marianna Kovalyova (Taras Shevchenko National Univ. of Kyiv), Anastasiia Mykytiuk (Taras Shevchenko National Univ. of Kyiv), Christy Sheehy (Univ. of California, Berkeley), and Madhura Somayaji (Manipal University). You can view more photos in the Photonics Europe photo gallery.


The business side of the photonics industry

Peter Hartmann

Peter Hartmann (SCHOTT) at the SCHOTT Workshop on the properties of optical glass and special optical materials. Other industry events and sessions will provide valuable business information and networking opportunities throughout the week.


Academia to business to start ups; SMEs to large corporations

Anke LohmannInvited speaker for the SPIE Women in Optics presentation and reception Anke Lohmann (at left) with Electronics, Sensors, Photonics' Knowledge Transfer Network (ESP KTN), UK's fastest growing ESP Community, has done it all.

Lohmann's talk, "Linking up UK photonics industry: the Knowledge Transfer Network and how it helps connecting organisations across the innovation supply chain," outlined how her experience took her from applied research and product development through to the commercialization of products.

She said, "I am passionate about technology and its importance to the UK economy. With my work at the ESP KTN I am in a position to drive this forward."

View more photos of the Women in Optics presentation and reception at the Photonics Europe photo gallery.


Monday posters

Attendees enjoyed light refreshments and networked with colleagues at the poster session for conferences 9126, 9128, 9130, 9136A, 9136B, and 9141.

Christoph Schöler

Christoph Schöler (Westfälische Wilhelms-Univ. Münster) describes his poster, "Generation of standard and elegant Gaussian beams for optical micromanipulation."


Conference chairs' gala VIP reception

Photonics Europe Conference Chairs’ gala VIP reception

The Concert Noble Society was founded in 1785 by Archduke Albert de Saxe-Teschen and Marie Christine of Austria, and in 1873 Leopold II asked architect Henri Beyaert to design a building and reception rooms to host the Belgian aristocracy. This evening's reception hosted the aristocracy of SPIE Photonics Europe! Invitees enjoyed champagne and hors d'oeuvres, while relaxing amongst the splendor of the Louis XVI style rooms.


Sunday 13 April


Student Chapter Leadership Workshop kicks off a busy week

Margaret Ledwith

Margaret Ledwith (shown) and Frances Mitchell, both from Innovation Academy University College in Dublin, facilitated a lively workshop focused on "re-thinking leadership in the 21st century." Nearly 70 SPIE student chapter leaders from as far away as Cameroon, Pakistan, and Colombia focused on developing key skills that they can grow and develop in order to become a new type of leader for the 21st century.

SPIE President Philip Stahl spoke to the students before their luncheon, telling them that he has been attending scientific conferences for many years and find they still have a way of energizing him. He said he always comes home with new ideas, new contacts, and the opportunity to play a part in the development of our field of science. View more photos in the Photonics Europe event photo gallery.


SPIE Photonics Europe

14-17 April 2014
Square Brussels Meeting Centre



Event photo gallery

Event website

On Twitter: #PhotonicsEurope


International Year of Light 2015
International Year of
Light 2015


Celebrate the photon!