• About the Society
  • Community Support
  • Advocacy
  • Get Involved
  • International Day of Light
  • Awards Programs
  • Press Room
  • Media Contacts
    Press Registration
    SPIE Logos and Name
  • Jobs at SPIE
Print PageEmail Page

SPIE Optics and Photonics 2010 Event News and Photos

Thursday 5 August

Wednesday 4 August

Tuesday 3 August

Monday 2 August

Sunday 1 August

Saturday 31 July

View Photo Gallery

SPIE podcast: Panel discussion on "Commercialization of emerging photovoltaics"

SPIE.tv videos:
Plenary talks by Ed Moses (NIF) on fusion energy generation
Plenary talk by Jeffrey Tsao (Sandia Nat'l. Labs) on the solid-state lighting "revolution"
Banquet keynote talk by Nobel Laureate Charles Townes (Univ. of California, Berkeley)

Thursday 5 August

Transforming the future

By week's end, more than 4,250 scientists, researchers and developers of technologies that will transform the future had brought their latest advances to SPIE Optics and Photonics. With reports on significant new work in green photonics technologies such as photovoltaics for solar power, and solid-state and organic light-emitting diodes lighting as well as longstanding conferences on nanotechnology, photonics devices, and optical engineering, the event fulfilled its role as a unique synergetic forum for the field.

More than 233 exhibiting companies participated in the three-day exhibition, with many saying they were pleased with the quality and quanity of buyers visiting the show floor -- and looking forward to next year!

Wednesday 4 August

Honors for stellar work

The more than 200 people attending the annual awards banquet in the Marriott Hotel shared in the Society's recognition of outstanding accomplishments made by scientists and engineers from across the SPIE community.

Charles Townes (Univ. of California, Berkeley) was awarded the Gold Medal of the Society,2010 SPIE awards banquet the highest honor the Society bestows, in recognition of his extraordinary foresight in seeing the potential of the laser and coherent light 50 years ago and other achievements. Townes was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for work that helped lead to the invention of the laser. He has been among those honored at numerous events this year marking the 50th anniversary of the invention of the first laser, by Theodore Maiman.

Townes' banquet talk on his current research into the movements and composition of stars gave insights on what has motivated his work throughout his long and fruitful career: a fascination with questions that remain unanswered. "If something seems fun and interesting, and it is work no one else is doing, well, I want to do it," he said.

Other awards announced at the banquet were the SPIE President's Award to Kevin Harding (GE Global Research), SPIE Directors' Award to Malgorzata Kujawinska (Warsaw Univ. of Technology), Joseph Goodman Book Writing Award to Lihong Wang and Hsin-I Wu, Chandra Vikram Award in Optical Metrology to James Wyant (College of Optical Sciences, Univ. of Arizona), George Goddard Award to Moustafa Chahine (Jet Propulsion Lab), Dennis Gabor Award to Mitsuo Takeda (Univ. of Electro-Communications), Harold Edgerton Award to Gary Eden (Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), Technology Achievement Award to Akhlesh Lakhtakia (Pensylvania State Univ.), Rudolph Kingslake Medal and Prize to Juergen Jahns, Hans Knuppertz, and Michael Bohling, SPIE Educator Award to Nicholas Massa (Springfield Technical Community College), and Early Career Achievement Award to Alberto Salleo (Stanford Univ.). 

Twelve of the total of 62 new Fellows of SPIE named this year were announced: Juan Campos (Univ. Autonoma de Barcelona), Thomas Karr (Raytheon), Paul LeVan (Air Force Research Lab), Ching-Fuh Lin (National Taiwan Univ.), Hooman Mohseni (Northwestern Univ.), Iain Neil (ScotOpix), Peter Nordlander (Rice Univ.), Yukitoshi Otani (Tokyo Univ. of Agriculture and Technology), Richard Paxman (General Dynamics), Stanley Rotman (Ben-Gurion Univ. of the Negev), Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci (Johannes Kepler Univ. Linz), and Charles Townes (Univ. of California, Berkeley). Others have been announced at other SPIE events this year.

Students excel

Photonic Devices and Applications Session Chair Zakya H. Kafafi, National Science Foundation, presents the Best Student Paper Award to Wei Wu, PhD candidate, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Northwestern University. Jörg Frischeisen, Diplom-Physiker, Institute für Physik, Universität Ausburg received the runner-up award.

Active day in the exhibit hall

Exhibit traffic continued strong throughout the second day, with exhibitors enthusiastic with the quality of leads.SPIE 2010 Optics and Photonics exhibition

"We got many good, qualified leads in the first two days. And not only did we meet people who were qualified but they had money to spend," said Jason Hammock of B&W Tek.

"Optics and Photonics 2010 was much bigger and better than we expected," said Arnie Bazensky of SCHOTT North America. "Attendance has been good. We got many solid leads and are looking at writing orders from some -- good crowd, good quality."

On photonics devices and applications

In a plenary talk on Electronic and Optical Processes in Organic Solar Cells: The Nature of the Donor-Accepter Interfaces, Jean-Luc Bredas (Georgia Institute of Technology) addressed the issues of exciton transport and eventual charge separation associated with the materials for organic photovoltaic devices. The nature of the excitons in molecular structures require new developments in modeling as standard charge transfer processes do not apply, he noted. The rates for exciton disassociation and charge separation will depend heavily on the local morphology of the materials.

In the session's second talk, Christof Brabec (Friedrich-Alexander Univ. Erlangern-Nuernberg) posed the question of what is needed to be able to supply 1 gigawatt per year output from organic photovoltaic technology. The three challenging areas include improvement in performance, viable manufacturing processes and improved lifetime. Improvements in device efficiency are taking place thru materials development. Viable manufacturing processes do exist in the form of spin coating, doctor blade processing, printing or spray coating.

Brabec said that experience indicates that transfer from the lab to manufacture, using any of these processes, does not degrade performance; they are robust processes for these materials. The major issue remaining is lifetime improvement, however degradation processes are not well understood at this time and much work remains in this area.

In the third talk, on photonic metamaterials, Costas Soukoulis (Iowa State Univ) presented a clear overview of the history, challenges, developments, and applications for the exciting growing field of metamaterials in the optical regime. Some of the proposed future directions include dispersion engineering, optical magnetism, and the perfect imaging or imaging with a super lens. Advances in these areas would open up applications in solar energy, ThZ Imaging, improved absorbers, Far IR filters and medical diagnostics.

Tuesday 3 August

Exhibition presents photonics for a better world

The 225-company exhibition opened its 3-day run, with more than 70 new products featured and a Photonics for a Better World pavilion presented by SPIE.SPIE 2010 Optics and Photonics exhibition Aisles were filled with exhibit visitors throughout the day, and a number of visitors commented that the energy is reflecting other signs of renewed vitality in the economy.

No one was seen kicking tires, but there were plenty of oglers inspecting the high-tech BMW and Toyota cars in the Photonics for a Better World pavilion. The pavilion showcases consumer-level applications of photonics technology as well as several projects bringing energy-efficient lighting and cooking capabilities to the developing world.

Another special display in the exhibition hall of more than 100 vintage lasers and a photo tribute to the technology and its developers is part of the year-long SPIE Advancing the Laser: 50 Years and Into the Future celebration.

Expectations for OLEDs and LEDS

Solid-State Lighting/OLEDs plenary speaker Yuan-Sheng Tyan (TCE*OLED) compared OLED and LED lighting applications, covering luminous efficacy, lifetime, and cost. Tyan said that current OLED devices are competitive with LED lighting in terms of efficacy and cost, but that there still needs to be some improvement in lifetime. While expectations for home lighting are different from office lighting, the overall lifetime needs to include shelf life, he said.

However, Tyan said, we should not compare OLEDs or LEDs to light bulbs, but rather to luminaires -- the entire lighting fixture with its optics, support, and electrical interfaces. Future lighting elements will be self-contained fixtures that make use of architecturally diverse designs to provide unique lighting solutions. Future lighting solutions will likely last as long as most lighting fixtures and the customers preference may set the expected lifetime for the lighting element as opposed to the operational lifetime of the device, Tyan said.

Ian Ferguson's (Univ. of North Carolina, Charlotte) plenary overview of the future of lighting began with the practical problems of switching to LED lighting -- 33% of lighting is replaced annually, but DC power and fixture requirements mean that only during the 15-year building renovation cycle is it possible to make the systemic switch needed to move to LEDs. Ferguson summarized the current evidence that has accumulated for the positive health benefits of full-spectrum LEDs which provide an activation spectrum for melatonin, the regulator of circadian rhythms. Designing LEDs that can change their color spectrum to mimic the diurnal cycle of sunlight could add health improvement as the additional push needed to make LEDs more desirable by the public. Ferguson also received a plaque of recognition from Photonic Devices and Applications Symposium Chair Zakya Kafafi (National Science Foundation) for 10 years of dedicated service to the lighting conference.

Lens design: human guidance needed

Kevin Thompson (Optical Research Associates) surveyed the history of lens design computation and methods over the last 100 years up to 1966, when the first conference on Lens Design with Large Computers was held. Early lens design calculators consisted of human operators performing a linear series of calculations that propagated individual rays through the optical surfaces. Around 1944, mechanical computers became available that operated on rotating machinery that would perform basic arithmetic calculations to assist in ray tracing. Attempts to "program" these machines for automated lens design proved to be a nearly intractable problem and lens design depended on human guidance towards a solution.

Commercialization of emerging photovoltaics

Several hundred people listened as moderators Loucas Tsakalakos (GE Global Research) and Sean Shaheen (Univ. of Denver) gave an overview of the current commercial state of photovoltaic (PV) technology: in short, silicon prices have dropped and therefore silicon-based solutions are growing. While saying that he doesn't think "silicon will go away," Tsakalakos asked the panelists for their take on less widespread technologies such as thin film and CPV.

John Rogers (Univ. of Illinois) reported on a concentrating small cell using ball-bearing micro-optics to focus the light. It's the world's smallest solar cell, he said, and it delivered approximately 37% efficiency.

Gang Li (Solarmer Energy Inc.) announced that, using technology licensed from Univ. of California, Los Angeles, and the Univ. of Chicago, Solarmer's organic photovoltaics achieved world-record efficiency of 8.13%, certified by NREL just a couple of weeks earlier.

All the panelists agreed that finding and retaining funding for emerging technologies is a challenge, given the changing perceptions of the market on the part of venture capitalists and other funding sources. However, Rogers emphasized that researchers shouldn't focus so much on trying to calculate the costs of a technology. It's an inexact science with many variables, but ultimately, high efficiency means low cost, he said.

Panelists also included Chrisopth Brabec (Friedrich-Alexander-Univ. Erlangen-Nürnberg), Gavin Conibeer (ARC Photovoltaics Center of Excellence, Univ. of New South Wales), Anders Olsson (Abound Solar), and Tom Tibbits (QuantaSol).

In an invited conference presentation, Roger Angel (Univ. of Arizona; 7769-02) talked on "Development of a new system for utility-scale CPV." Angel is well known for his telescope-building career. He recently received the Kavli Prize for his work in telescope design along with Jerry Nelson and Ray Wilson, for innovations that have allowed glimpses of "ever more distant and ancient objects and events in the remote corners of the Universe."

But Angel has embarked on a new career -- applying the principles of astronomical telescopes to concentrating photovoltaics. Telescopes can focus sunlight on a small area, and promise great reductions in cost with increased efficiency for solar power generation. With the cheapest materials -- steel and glass -- Angel's CPV design uses sophisticated mechanical structures to create a system that can be mass-produced at about $10 per square foot.

See the video: Roger Angel talks about the cost-effectiveness of CPV in a clip from an SPIE Newsroom interview.

Get a job!

Douglas Chabinsky, hiring manager for BAE Systems, and Paige Lawson,  a recruiter with Exotic Electro Optics, gave sage advice to job-seekers during the panel discussion, "Getting Hired in 2010 and Beyond," with tips on everything from resumes ("I'd rather read too much than see a large omission," said Chabinsky) to relationships (people who have knowledge in your field can be the connections for incredible opportunities). The panel was one of numerous activities offered for students during the week.

New officers, board members

Election of new officers and directors was announced at the Society's general meeting during the week

Officers for are 2011 President Katarina Svanberg, professor and Chief Physician in Oncology at Lund Univ.; President-Elect Eustace Dereniak, professor at the College of Optical Sciences, Univ. of Arizona; Vice President William Arnold, Chief Scientist and Vice President of Technology Development Center at ASML USA; and Secretary/Treasurer Brian Lula, president and CEO of PI (Physik Instrumente).

Elected as Directors for three-year terms starting in 2011 were:

  • Peter Hartmann, Director, Market and Customer Relations, Advanced Optics, SCHOTT AG
  • Joseph Howard, Optical Engineer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Lisa Tsufura, Marketing Manager/Product Manager, CVI Laser Group
  • Toyohiko Yatagai, Professor, Utsunomiya Univ.

Is there anybody out there?

"Life on Earth began only once -- above the ground, below the ground, in the air, and under the oceans -- but isn't it wonderful?" So said Nobel Laureate Charles Townes, this year's moderator of the popular Life in the Cosmos panel discussion organized by Richard Hoover, Astrobiologist Group Lead at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

Townes (Univ. of California, Berkeley) talked about the possibility of intelligent life on other planets. "Just think if there's another civilization only 1000 years ahead of us?" Townes speculated. "Advanced life may well know we're here, even if we don't know that they are. The search for life is uncertain, but it's enormously important that we look for it."

Hoover gave an overview of his work relating to microbial extremophiles and the search for chemical biomarkers and microfossils in ancient terrestrial rocks, glacial ice, and meteorites. His findings support a theory that life on Earth was seeded by meteorites. Hoover said that he recently was given tissue samples from the ancient baby mammoth Lubya, found in 2007, for study.

The panel also included Jill Tarter of the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute. SETI is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2010. Tarter shared a highly visual presentation which included profound questions about humankind's search for life on other planets. "We all live on a fragile island of life, in a universe of possibilities, searching for someone else's technology," she said. The amount of seeking SETI has accomplished is similar to "one cup of water out of an entire ocean."

Monday 2 August

Nano plenaries draw large audiences

Plenary speakers on nanoscience and nanoengineering drew capacity audiences Monday morning, addressing topics ranging from advances in construction of flexible 3D periodically patterned nanomaterials with unique optical properties to use of nanostructures for solar energy production using CO2 recycling.Question for the plenary speaker

Jeremy Baumberg (Cavendish Lab, Univ. of Cambridge) gave an engaging presentation on soft nanophotonics. He showed that 3D photonic crystals could be easily made through shearing a colloid of core-shell nanoparticles. Because heat can be controlled better at higher volumes, these periodic structures can be created at great scale, on the order of a kilometer.

Such opals, as he called them, display structural color and have a number of applications when made elastic. As he demonstrated, the stretching of these materials changes the particle spacing, which thereby changes the color. This structural color property can be used in thermochromic sensors or in fabric coloration to replace carcinogenic dyes, and, he suggested, is likely the dominant means that nature itself displays color, rather than through reflection.

Lorenzo Pavesi (Univ. of Trento) followed, with a compelling argument for concentrating efforts in photonics on a single material: silicon. Using silicon microelectronics for comparison, he showed that microelectronics was able to keep up with Moore's Law because it used a single building block, single material base, and a dominant manufacturing process to drive costs down. Photonics has had many building blocks, materials, and manufacturing processes, and so has failed to similarly scale.

However, he said, there is an opportunity to leverage the CMOS infrastructure, integrate many photonic devices, and integrate communications with computing. Silicon photonics, being a mature technology, allows the fabrication of thousands of photonic components on one chip, enabling the integration of everything from sources and modulators to photodetectors and low-loss waveguides. This, Pavesi said, will merge electronics and photonics for novel functionalities well beyond the realm of communications.

Satoshi Kawata (Osaka Univ. and RIKEN) described his quest to realize the dream of having an optical microscope to see molecules on nanometer resolution. Given that the resolution of an optical microscope is limited by diffraction, which in turn is dependent on the speed of light, slow light is required to go below the typical 0.34 micron resolution. Kawata found that surface plasmon polaritons could provide the slow light, and when combined with a mechanical pressure that deforms the sample locally, 4 nm resolution was possible.

Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci (Johannes Kepler Univ. Linz) reviewed the history of solar energy use, from Archimedes' solar mirrors for military use to today's energy crisis as we face the end of cheap oil. He addressed some common concerns in solar energy harvesting, the first being the low efficiency due to limited spectral range in absorption. Simply shifting to the IR just displaces the range of wavelengths lost in harvesting, so Sariciftci suggested a couple of solutions: tandem solar cells or creating an energy cascade using different-sized nanoparticles.

Another issue with solar energy adoption is the transference of the energy from the places that harvest the energy to the places that will use the energy. Sariciftci introduced a means of using solar energy to reduce carbon dioxide into hydrocarbon-based synthetic fuels, thereby alleviating the transport and storage issues of solar power.

See the video: Symposium Chair David Andrews (Univ. of East Anglia Norwich) talks about the symposium in a video clip from an SPIE Newsroom interview.

Solar progress: cheaper and more efficient

Solar technology reports were in the plenary spotlight in the afternoon.

First up, James Yardley (Columbia Univ.) spoke about work at his university's Energy Frontier Research Center, one of the government-funded university centers for energy research. Their charter is the understanding of the fundamental processes and the fundamental limits of organic devices as photovoltaics. The center has three thrust topics: understanding of charge generation, understanding of charge collection, and understanding the possibility and potential of charge multiplication.

Yardley talked about several projects aimed at increasing the efficiency of organic solar cells. He explained that p-type and n-type materials naturally fit together like a ball and socket, and that "shape-complementary" solar cells based on that tendency can dramatically improve efficiency of the donor-acceptor interface.

He also said that graphene in cheap and large-scale sheets can substitute for indium tin oxide (ITO) and offer excellent thermal and chemical stability as well as high transparency.

John Wager (Oregon State Univ), spoke of the advantages, advances, and applications of transparent electronic materials. He discussed the material base for binary transparent electronic oxides and how there are still many combinations to be investigated. The goal is to find the fight material combination that also provides for environmentally safe materials.

Two application examples he discussed were using transparent electronics for controlling optical tracking systems for solar collection and the development of processes for apply thin films of the oxides in solution, rather than the current deposition processes.

Yang Yang (Univ. of California, Los Angeles) talked about the significant advances in organic photovoltaics (OPV) over the past five years, using polymer materials. Single-element polymer OPV devices have reached efficiencies of 8%. The developments that have led to this result are material improvements, enhanced contacts, better fill factors, and proper tuning of the open circuit voltage. There has also beenYang Yang gives a talk in the Solar Energy plenary session progress on tandem OPV, but there are many more challenges with these devices. The optical efficiency and transparency needs improving, both of which are driven by the interfaces between materials.

Hans-Joachim Freund (Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Geselschaft) talked about investigations of the electronic structure of supported metal nanoparticles, using scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy as well as x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.

Kent Whitfield, director of reliability for MiaSolé, talked about reliability and durability issues of thin-film solar in his presentation. He said that standards are still evolving and that manufacturers have devised their own testing because existing standards-based qualification tests can't ensure reliability. He said that many failures of thin-film installations can be traced to electrical or mechanical failures, such as various cleaning or installation problems. Module failure can also be affected by defects introduced during construction or even in the cleaning process.

Success stories from the conference rooms

Among reports in the conference rooms were:

"Writing a success story: lessons learned from the Spitzer Space Telescope," (7796-03) by Robert Gehrz (Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities) et al. Gehrz listed several lesson from the mission, including:

  • It is difficult to simulate space conditions, particularly temperature, in ground test; researchers can only work with their best attempts.
  • Face-to-face site reviews are the most useful when working through problems.
  • The end-to-end optics test including flight software uncovered the most issues and was most important in resolving them.
  • Keeping the system as simple as possible is most effective, including avoiding moving elements as temperature extremes cause issues.

In "Development and manufacture of reactive-transfer-printed CIGS photovoltaic modules," Louay Eldada (HelioVolt Corp.; paper 7771-20) reported on his group's work with CIGS (copper indium gallium (di)selenide) devices performing at 12%. Much attention has been placed on packaging as this is crucial to the reliability and performance of the solar cells. Their process for the CIGS materials produces large grains for good energy extraction along with small grains that provide multiple scatter points. The overall cell looks a deep dark gray, almost black.

The group uses high-quality glass for encapsulation and paid special attention to edge sealing. Reliability testing program includes 85-85 (humidity and temperature), impact and long term aging, among others. They provide a 25-year warranty with their devices for degradation of less than 20% in efficiency over that lifetime.

Lighting for the future: LEDs

Panelists and audience at the Illumination technical group meeting agreed that while today's LED lighting does not offer the full advantages of the technology, it will lead the way to truly new lighting solutions that realize the full potential of OLEDs and LEDs. Those future generations of lighting will take advantage of updated infrastructure and go beyond being merely replacement bulbs.

Panelists Franky So (Univ. of Florida), Julius Muschaweck (OSRAM), and Marten Sikkens (Phillips) provided an overview of issues, challenges and advantages of OLED and LED lighting solutions. The panel was chaired by Jake Jacobson (Optical Research Associates).

Newport and Spectra-Physics support studentsStudent lunch with the experts

A recognition luncheon for the Newport Spectra-Physics travel grant winners brought together professionals in the field willing to share their experience and wisdom on career paths in optics and photonics with students.

Grant winners accepting their awards included Igor Aharonoich, Pei-Yu Chung, Jun Gao, Alex Goldstein, Hezi Joseph, Tony Kerzmann, Kama Kishor, Anna Vozianova, Khushi Vyas, and Wei Xiong.

The Newport Spectra-Physics Research Excellence Travel Awards Program provides financial support for university students to attend the two largest SPIE meetings in order to present their research. Newport Spectra-Physics representatives on hand to bestow the grants were Kim Abair, Kevin Bonnet, Ben Boucher, Beda Espinoza, Keshav Kumar, Tom Miller, Rick Sebastian, and Anna Wang.

More than pretty pictures

Science photographer Felice Frankel, featured speaker at the Women in Optics reception, delved into the science of photography at the nano-scale. Her incredible photographs, one of which was seen on the cover of Science magazine in 1992, help to communicate visual thinking needed to reach-out to non-scientists.

Frankel holds concurrent positions at Harvard Univ., Harvard Medical School's Systems Biology, the Wyss Institute, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Working in collaboration with scientists and engineers, Frankel has published images in over 300 journal articles and covers and other features for general audiences.

Posters create evening buzzMonday evening poster session

The first of the week's two poster sessions was the place to be as conferences closed for the day. Papers displayed work from conferences on Optical Engineering and Applications, Plasmonics, and Photonics Fiber and Crystal Devices.

Sunset on the terrace at welcome reception

Hundreds of SPIE Optics + Photonics attendees relaxed on the terrace at the San Diego Convention Center during the symposium welcome reception. Cool weather and remarkable sunset provided the perfect setting after a full day of plenary talks, short courses, and conference presentations.

Sunday 1 August

Off to a running start in the conference rooms

The SPIE Optics + Photonics week began strong, with particularly large audiences in conferences on metamaterials and organic photovoltaics.

Among the first papers of the week:

In a presentation on "Transforming light with tunable and active metamaterials," Vladimir Shalaev (Purdue Univ.; paper 7754-01) noted that transformation optics is the descriptor of the technology that provides the "ultimate" control over the manipulation of light. Transformation optics is the realm of metamaterials, negative index materials and nano lasers. Shalaev's talk covered the current developments in sources and materials needed for the realization of transformation optics in the visible spectrum.

Shalaev noted that the smallest nano laser source has been developed and realized in the form of a quantum dot of metal (gold) material core with an exterior shell of amplifier material (optical dye). The amplified optical fields are coupled to the plasmon modes of the gold nanoparticle and produce coherent output at a visible wavelength. The laser properties are confirmed through threshold behavior, spectral narrowing and photon statistics. There are no natural magnetic materials that are useful, for transformation optics, in the visible spectrum.

Metamaterials are created from a lattice network of metal and dielectric to provide the appropriate refractive index response. While these have the required negative index they suffer from high losses. Shalaev talked about how to overcome these losses by adding gain material to compensate for the losses. The key is to locate the gain material where it can most effectively make use of the highest local fields to produce the gain and the right amount of gain to overcome the losses but not change the resonance of the refractive index.

In "Grabbing the cat by the tail: Discrete steps by a DNA packaging motor and the inter-subunit coordination in a ring-ATPase,"Carlos Bustamante (Univ. of California,Berkeley; paper 7762-06) -- a pioneer in the field of using optical traps to understand the dynamics of biological molecules -- related how optical trapping techniques of monitoring forces are used to uncover the mechanism behind biomotor activity. Biosystems operations are carried out by machine like entities. Chemical energy is turned into mechanical energy producing work to perform an operation on a biological structure.

Bustamante reported on the packing of a DNA strand into a small bacteriophage virus capsid. When packaged the internal forces of the compressed DNA reach 60 atm (atmospheres). The optical force monitoring provided by the optical trapping system, along with controlled exposure to the energy source (the biological element ATP, ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism) and clever experimentation produced a consistent model of the mechanical operation. The motor sequentially binds to several DNA sites (the dwell phase) and then compresses them into the capsid in a burst mode that encapsulates 10 base pairs of DNA in 4 steps.

Roland Winston, director of the Energy Research Institute at the Univ. California, Merced, Energy Research Institute, gave an invited paper (7785-11) titled "Design principles of the first fixed 4X solar concentrator." In it he reviewed the calculations that he says will make possible an increase in efficiency of solar concentrating power generation, which he said is limited by sun-earth geometry, with the maximum concentration subject to the laws of nonimaging optics. Winston expects to be able to achieve 5X efficiency by "maximally matching the acceptance of concentrators to the Sun's direction."

New path for publication

Starting this year, authors in conferences on OLEDs and organic photovoltaics are participating in a new publishing model, with their manuscripts being reviewed as submissions for a special section in the new SPIE Journal of Photonics for Energy, instead of for proceedings publication. Others from other conferences as well as other prospective authors are invited to submit manuscripts for review as well. The journal will launch in January, with Zakya Kafafi (NSF) as editor. The journal will be available as open access for the first year.

Plenary speakers envision energy-efficient future

In the first of two symposium plenary talks, Ed Moses, Ed Mosesdirector of the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, reported on recent progress at the NIF, which was dedicated last year. Moses said that the facility is progressing toward its goal of using with 192 laser beams to achieve ignition of a small target containing deuterium and tritium.

There are already significant developments to report, he said, including laser scatter losses of under 10 percent and remarkable improvements in the surface finish of fused silica optics, in response to the stringent demands of the high-power system.

He explained the LIFE (laser fusion energy) system, which is one potential outcome of NIF success -- a system of power generation from fusion energy that might power a million homes with a facility the size of NIF.

Moses said there is a lot of work still to be done, including a 50-fold increase in capacity and a 2X cost reduction, before LIFE plants could become a reality. But he predicted that there would be a prototype plant about 10 years after ignition is achieved, and a commercial power plant another 10 years after that.

He said that power utilities have high hopes and great confidence that LIFE will become a reality. "They believe that this industry, this community, can do this," Moses said.

See the video: View a clip from Ed Moses' soon-to-be-released SPIE Newsroom interview.

Look for the solid-state lighting (SSL) revolution in 2012, said symposium plenary speaker Jeffrey Tsao (Sandia National Labs).Jeffrey Tsao That's when he predicts that SSL will surpass compact fluorescent lighting in cost efficiency with sufficient color-conversion quality to become the most viable lighting solution available. He cautioned the SSL industry not to become too distracted by the money to be made, but to stay focused on improving the product. To surpass fluorescent, SSL needs only 20-25% efficiency; there is still much progress to be made.

Will cheaper light lead to more light pollution and more consumption, Tsao was asked. Probably, he said; those challenges also will need to be addressed as the technology advances.

Well done, ALOP!

Minella Alarcon, project leader for the UNESCO program ALOP (Active Learning in Optics and Photonics), was surprised Sunday morning with an award honoring her work and her organization's success in promoting science education. ALOP has been training trainers around the world to increase understanding of science through optics and photonics since 2005.

The award was presented by SPIE President Ralph James (Brookhaven National Lab)Ralph James, Minella Alarcon, Kathleen Robinson just before Alarcon's talk in the conference on Optics Education and Outreach, chaired by Groot Gregory (Optical Research Associates).

ALOP is supported financially by UNESCO, SPIE, and ICTP (the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics), and has held 13 workshops and trained more than 400 teachers to date. Participants in the program are encouraged to follow up with additional local trainings. Alarcon noted that has been particularly successful in in Morocco, where local follow-up ALOP trainings have been held for more than 1,000 teachers.

The need is great, Alarcon said. A 2007 report by the UN Institute of Statistics estimated that an additional 1.9 million more teachers would be needed around the world by 2015.

Passion for science is secret to success

Over 60 students and early career professionals heard perspectives on career paths from three panelists of differing backgrounds, who offered common-sense guidance aimed at helping attendees make decisions for their future.

Panelists included SPIE 2010 President-Elect Katarina Svanberg, Chief Oncologist at Lund Univ. Hospital. She spoke about the difficulties, yet rewards, of changing careers. Svanberg started her career as a history teacher, and then decided to follow her passion to be a doctor. "You must have courage in yourself, motivation, and initiative," she said.

Lisa Tsufura works in industry as the Marketing Director for CVI Melles Griot. She urged attendees to "love what you do. Find your life's passion and pursue it!"

Noah Finkelstein is an associate professor of physics at the Univ. of Colorado at Boulder and conducts research is in physics education. He says students should take advantage of fellowships and grants to get their foot in the door. Although he's been in the academia world most of his professional life, he noted that "if you don't switch careers once, you're not trying hard enough."

Light fantastic: Student Chapters show their stuff

Students from SPIE Student Chapters throughout the world competed in an Optics Outreach OlympicsOptics Outreach Olympics judges and winners on Sunday evening, demonstrating the educational projects they have organized to illustrate and promote optics and photonics in everyday life.

Optics toys -- kaleidoscopes, periscopes, and 3D glasses -- garnered a "gold medal" for the team from the Optics Department at Instituto Nacional de Astrofisíca Óptica y Electrónica. The "silver medal" went to the Three Rivers Community College chapter, and a "bronze medal" to the Univ. of Toronto chapter for its "Lighting Up the Lab with Laser Graffiti" project.

Judges were SPIE Senior Members Theresa Axenson (Lockheed Martin) and Cristina Solano (Centro de Investigaciones en Óptica), Melanie Stuart (San Diego State Univ.), and Marc Nantel (Ontario Centres of Excellence).

The event also included a tournament of the laser game, Khet; a laser light show by Sean Kearney (LaserGuy Productions), and a demonstration of simple telescope optics by Richard Youngworth (Light Capture).

Saturday 31 July

How to have a 'laser-sharp' career

SPIE Student Chapter leadership workshop speaker Alaina Levine (Quantum Success Solutions) offered practical advice about the care and feeding of careers in science to more than 170 students gathered for the day-long training on Saturday. Levine reminded students that perception is reality, when it comes to reputation, and had practical advice on how to prepare for an interview, tips for making a presentation, and more -- everything for a "laser-sharp" career.Student Chapter leaders hear Alaina Levine

With the addition of 12 new Student Chapters earlier this year, SPIE now sponsors more than 150 Student Chapters, comprising more than 4,300 members in 24 countries. Students stay in touch via Twitter @SPIEstudents,Facebook.com/SPIE.Students.

Connect online with SPIE

Twitter @SPIEtweets #SPIE #SPIEOP
LinkedIn/SPIE Group