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Event News

SPIE Optics and Photonics

Thursday 16 August

Wednesday 15 August

Tuesday 14 August

Monday 13 August

Sunday 12 August

Saturday 11 August


Event photo gallery


Thursday 16 August


What a great week!

Nearly 4,300 total registered attendees had participated in SPIE Optics and Photonics by the close of the last day.

The beneficial interchange between research and development continues to be a strong draw, with inspiration and ideas being shared by both sides along richly diverse topics.

As exhibitor Horst Broneberg of Checkpoint Technologies put it, "We've brought our newly launched product to OP to show it to the researchers at this event. We do so assuming that they will have ideas for applications and uses that we have not thought of."

A few technical highlights of the meeting were:

  • CO2 sensor applications for climate change, including significant results in radiometric stability of the JPL Atmospheric Infrared Sounder reported by Hartmut Aumann
  • insights on commercialization and long-range prospects for photovoltaics (see the report below on Tuesday's panel discussion)
  • advances in graphene with applications in areas such as communications and photovoltaics, with reports from Sasha Grigorenko, Kostya Novoselov, Liam Britnell, and Andre Geim at Univ. of Manchester, and Frank Koppens and teammates at ICFO and CSIC
  • laser beam shaping by Andrew Forbes of CSIR and Univ. of KwaZulu-Natal
  • new synthetic materials with photonic properties not found in nature, with applications in nanoscience and metamaterials.

Other important themes of the week -- inspired in part by the release and debut briefing of the National Academies report "Optics and Photonics, Essential Technologies for our Nation" -- were the issues of training the workforce for the next generation, and communicating with policy makers, CTOs, and others about the vital role of the field as an enabling technology in the economy.

SPIE Optics and Photonics will return to San Diego 25-29 August 2013 -- see you there!


Above, exhibitors pack up and get ready to head for home.


Wednesday 15 August


Toward commercialization: Organics

Christian Uhrich

Conference Chair Zakya Kafafi, National Science Foundation, opened the Organic Photonics + Electronics conference by honoring four winners of the Best Student Paper Award (see photos in event photo gallery).

Tied for first place, with a $500 cash prize for each, were:

  • Indranil Bose, "Polymer opto-chemical-electronic based module as a detection system for volatile analytes on a foil substrate"
  • Sebastian B. Meier, "In situ photoluminescence spectroscopy study of dynamic doping in sandwich-type light-emitting electrochemical cells."

Tied for second Place, with a $250 cash prize for each, were:

  • Eric Danielson, "Characterization of charge transport via in situ potentiometry in bulk heterojunction organic photovoltaic materials."
  • Rafal Sliz, "Organic solvent wetting properties of UV and plasma treated ZnO nanorods: printed electronics approach."

The awards preceded the week's final set of plenary talks, with speakers focusing on the issues related to research to commercial application.

Harry Coles (Univ. of Cambridge) described a prototype demonstrator that has been built and used for holographic projection, and discussed how paintable and ink-jet printed lasers have been been demonstrated and used fon plastic, paper, and metal foil substrates.

Marie O'Regan (DuPont Displays) spoke about manufacturing challenges and the future of OLED television. She said that hurdles do remain in commercialization but that prospects for overcoming them are good, with a potential for a manufacturing process that is 30 percent less costly than LCD display production.

A key is to optimize the efficiency of emitting-layer (EML) printing with nozzle-printed OLEDs, she said, and then scaling up to the same size and capacity as LCD production. DuPont is making significant progress in efficiency, and has already licensed its process to a large Asian display maker, according to O'Regan.

At the end of the talk, Christian Uhrich, head of R&D Physics at Heliatek, displayed for the audience one of the first roll-to-roll produced OPV cells from Heliatek's new pilot line in Germany (shown in the photo above).

Yang Yang (Univ. of California, Los Angeles) discussed his team's work with plastic solar cells, a game-changing technology whereby cells potentially can be mass-produced using Earth-abundant materials. He noted that although organic photovoltaics currently show low efficiency when compared with other older technologies, their slope of improvement is much better, promising great potential for the future, and tests to date have produced results in the world's-record range for efficiency.


 Busy, busy exhibit hall

SPIE Optics and Photonics exhibition

Exhibitors reported seeing strong traffic throughout Tuesdsay and into Wednesday. "Tuesday we were blasted from opening until noon and the afternoon was busy, too," John Jewell of Sandia National Labs reported. "We heard from many of the other exhibitors that they had good traffic on Tuesday as well. And Wednesday was once again busy. "(See more photos in the event gallery.)


A tribute to William Wolfe

OP12 William Wolfe

Director of Development Kaye Rowan, Professor James Wyant, and Dean Thomas Koch of the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona presented William Wolfe with an award at the tribute luncheon held in his name; from left above, Rowan, Wyant, Wolfe, and Koch.

Friends, colleagues, and his wife, son and grandchildren were on hand to listen to some humorous stories detailing different times in Wolfe's long career. The luncheon was part of the special conference, "Tribute to William Wolfe."


The first briefing: National Academies 'Optics and Photonics' report

Alan Willner and Paul McManamon

A spill-over crowd stayed late in the exhibition hall to participate in the first post-release public briefing on the U.S. National Academies new report on the industry, titled "Optics and Photonics, Essential Technologies for Our Nation." Above, report co-chairs Alan Willner (Univ. of Southern California; at left) and Paul McManamon (Univ. of Dayton and Exciting Technologies) delivered their own views on the report's significance and potential value in advancing optics and photonics technologies.

SPIE Industry Analyst Steve Anderson provided perspective on jobs and revenue result from optics and photonics. SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs spoke to the potential impact that the National Photonics Initiative recommended by the study could have in the U.S., and illustrated with examples of what other regions have been able to accomplish through similar efforts.

The big take-aways for the community? Do what you can to ensure that more kids become and stay engaged in science and math, and spread the word among policy-makers, legislators, CTOs, voters -- everyone -- about the important impact and ubiquity of the enabling technologies of optics and photonics. (See more photos in the event gallery.)

Find out more about the report at opticsandphotonics.org.


President's party

Eustace Dereniak, Michael Eismann, Toyohiko Yatagai

SPIE President Eustace Dereniak (College of Optical Sciences, Univ. of Arizona; at left) welcomed guests at a pre-banquet reception. Among them were two newly elected officers of the society whose positions will be effective starting in January -- Board of Directors member Michael Eismann (U.S. Air Force Research Lab; center) and SPIE Vice President Toyohiko Yatagai (Utsunomiya Univ.; at right). (See more photos in the event gallery.)


Award winners honored

OP12 Banquet - Hernandez and Dereniak

The SPIE Awards Banquet was held Wednesday night in the Marriott Ballrooms. A gala crowd turned out to honor award winners, and be entertained by The Three Painters' amazing stage show.

Award winners included:

The Gold Medal of the Socety: Daniel Malacara Hernández, Centro de Investigaciones en Optica, A.C, León Gto (above)

SPIE Educator Award: Wei R. Chen, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma

Dennis Gabor Award: Yeshaiahu Fainman, University of California, LaJolla, California

Rudolf Kingslake Medal and Prize: Lucy E. Cohan and David W. Miller, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Frits Zernike Award for Microlithography: John H. Bruning, Pittsford, NY

Joseph W. Goodman Book Writing Award: R. Barry Johnson, Alabama A&M University

SPIE President's Award:Michael T. Eismann, US Air Force Research Lab, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, OH  



Tuesday 14 August


Optical Engineering and climate change

The afternoon Optical Engineering plenary talks focused on the planet and ways to better interact with our environment. Renowned telescope designer Roger Angel (College of Optical Sciences, Univ. of Arizona) talked about how optics can help address the climate change problem.

"It's up to us to come up with something," to address global warming, he said. First he detailed what would be required for a sunshade in space. Reducing 2 percent of solar radiation could have a significant impact on the problem, but at a huge financial and technological cost, with an unlikely prospect of success.

Instead, Angel said the half of the CO2 in the atmosphere comes from generating electricity with carbon-based sources such as coal. That could be mitigated with various renewable sources, he said.

In 2009, Angel founded a company called REhnu, which uses the optical and mechanical elements from his astronomy work to develop concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems. Without the need for the extreme (and expensive) precision of telescope systems, the optomechanical and optical solutions apply directly to concentrating sunlight, which can be done at 1000x intensity with a dual-axis system of aligning concave mirrors.

Angel said he believes that once CPV systems are cost-competitive with conventional generation, it will be a natural transition to this new source of energy generation, which he said will tap into a demand for 2000 GW of new electrical generating capacity in the next 40 years -- a $50 billion per year opportunity.

'Instrumental' engineering for underwater imaging

Jules Jaffe of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, affiliated with the University of California, San Diego, gave a talk entitled "From Titanic to the Tiny," detailing his work on underwater imaging. Jaffe's work was "instrumental" in the discovery of the Titanic wreckage in the 1980s when working with Robert Ballard at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He developed sonar and optical scanning systems that were able to "locate with sound and verify with optics" the location of the ship.

Among his important contributions was to optimize and figure out where to place cameras and lights on Argo, the submersible Ballard used in the search for Titanic.

These days at Scripps, Jaffe explores the ocean with an array of instruments. In his talk he expressed his gratitude to the audience of optical designers and engineers for their "developments in lenses and portability of cameras that create wonderful opportunities" to discover new things in the ocean. He noted that the smaller the undersea life forms, the more dense -- in fact, microbial cells amount to 90 percent of the ocean's biomass. He has numerous projects in the works studying currents and organisms in the ocean.


Commercializing PV: what's ahead?

Commercializing PV

A future-gazing panel of photovoltaics experts moderated by Loucas Tsakalakos (GE Global Research) fielded questions on materials, technologies, metrics, and strategies Tuesday morning.

Regarding metrics, fellow panelists concurred with Billy Stanbery (HelioVolt) who asserted the importance of having a set of metrics, including and going beyond efficiency. And in developing the metrics, we need to nurture ideas for 20 years from now," said Garry Rumbles (National Renewable Energy Lab and University of Colorado at Boulder).

Strategies need to consider the "distinction between the research environment versus deciding when to commercialize technology," said Brandon Kayes (Alta Devices). "Some companies fail because their  technologieis are not sufficient different from others'." The question is, he said, can you compete 10 years from now or more.

Vahan Garboushian (Amonix) noted that disruptive emerging technologies will drive current costs down, and that the ability to warranty long-term efficiency will need to be part of a successful strategy.

Stanbery suggested that utility companies may find themselves facing "an existential challenge" as distribution methods evolve, depending on how power is supplied to consumers in diverse areas of the world.

(Pictured above, from left: Kayes, Rumbles, Stanbery, Garboushian, Tsakalakos)


Progress in OLEDs and SSL

plenary audience

Tuesday morning's plenary focus was on OLEDs and LEDs, with talks by Junji Kido (Yamagata Univ.) reporting on recent success in developing ultrahigh efficiency in blue phosphorescent OLED incorporating a novel charge genration layer unit, and Chih-Chung Yang (National Taiwan Univ.) on improvement of emission efficiency and enhancement of output power level of an LED by introducing nanorod structures and surface plasmon coupling mecahanism in fabrication. Above, an audience member questions Kido about his group's work. (See more photos in the event gallery.)


Exhibition is open!

exhibition opens

Exhibitors were ready and waiting for visitors as the exhibition opened this morning. Nearly 240 companies are in the hall this year, and traffic was strong as the three-day event began.

 Among comments from first-time exhibitors:

"We were ready to launch our new product, scanned all the available conferences and exhibits and selected Optics and Photonics as the best match," said Peter Iskra of KETEK. "We had good interest the first morning."

Horst Groneberg of Checkpoint Technologies said, "We have known SPIE for a long time and came to Optics and Photonics because we are ready to expand into areas beyond semiconductors. We are here to 'fish' the attendees for new customers because we want to be in front of people who build things. In addition to finding new customers we are looking to create new relationships with other exhibitors who will become our suppliers. We have had more positive response this morning that at the other (un-named) scientific society events that are more academic in focus." (See more photos in the event gallery.)


Fellows old and new

OP12 Fellows Luncheon - Theodore Hodapp

Theodore Hodapp (American Physical Society) engaged a banquet room full of SPIE Fellows in thinking about the ramifications of low representation among women and minorities in physics and of low interest in physics among U.S. students in general  -- and fired up about programs and actions to help improve those realities.

Hodapp noted that the field of physics experiences the greatest shortage among specialty-qualified high school teachers in the U.S., reflected by the fact that one-third of all high school physics teachers in the country have a degree in the field.

He described how the NSF-supported Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program and other efforts are working toward the "cultural change" that will be required to change the picture.

Hodapp spoke after the SPIE President Eustace Dereniak introduced 9 of this year's 75 new Fellows of the Society.


Sign me up!


Technical conference participants and exhibition visitors continued to flow through the registration area Tuesday. Attendance is healthy, with many conferences seeing larger audiences than in recent years.


Student Chapter mixer

Student Chapter mixer

A Student Chapter mixer in the exhibit hall gave students a chance to show off their accomplisments and network with exhibition visitors including SPIE Vice President Phil Stahl, above left. SPIE is on the verge of setting a milestone in Student Chapter participation, as the Board of Directors is being asked this week to approve new chapters that would push the total number of SPIE Student Chapters and Clubs over 200! (See more photos in the event gallery.)


Opportunity knocks

OP12 Career Choices Panel 

Professionals in the optics and photonics sector provided answers to questions posed by students in the panel discussion: Getting Hired in 2012 and Beyond. Attendees learned about the corporate hiring process, and gained valuable insight in to the interviewing and hiring process.


Society election results announced


SPIE President Eustace Dereniak chaired the Annual General Meeting, where members heard a report on the state of the society, the Treasurer's report, the recently concluded election results, and a Q & A with SPIE officers. Seated from left are 2012 President Elect Bill Arnold, Treasurer Brian Lula, and Vice President Phil Stahl.


Unwind and socialize

OP12 Member Reception

The SPIE Member Reception provided an enjoyable interlude from the busy week. Members mingled on the Marriott Coronado Terrace while enjoying a beverage and delicious meal in the light winds and warm sun of San Diego. (See more photos in the event gallery.)


' "Light" happens when you're busy making other plans'

OP12 Richard Hoover

John Lennon's famous quote was somewhat revised by SPIE Past President Joseph Houston (Houston Research Associates; above), at Tuesday night's technical group, "An Optical Believe It or Not: Key Lessons Learned." Houston presented his insights in to what he's learned during his long career as an optical scientist.

Other technical panels and discussions included such topics as lens design, penetrating radiation, x-ray mirrors, and life in the cosmos.



Monday 13 August


Plenary talks: NanoScience and Solar Energy

Michael Köhl

The plenary presentation room was busy all day, starting with talks on NanoScience and Engineering in the morning and continuing with Solar Energy talks in the afternoon. Michael Köhl (Franhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme) gave the final plenary talk of the day, speaking on a modeling solution for shortening the duration of stress tests of PV systems. (See more photos in the event gallery.)


A tribute to Michael Berns

Gabriel Spalding, Michael Berns, Kishan Dholakia

A special session organized in honor of Michael Berns (center), co-founder of the Beckman Laser Institute at the University of California, Irvine, highlighted the afternoon in the conference on Optical Trapping and Optical Manipulation. With Berns are conference chairs Gabriel Spalding (Illinois Wesleyan Univ.), left, and Kishan Dholakia (Univ. of St. Andrews). Berns led off the session with a paper on the use of laser tweezers and scissors to study cells and their organelles, followed by papers on femtosecond laser applications in surgery and research.


Women in Optics: opportunities

OP12 Women in Optics - Hodapp

Theodore Hodapp, Director of Education and Diversity at the American Physical Society was the featured speaker at the SPIE Women in Optics Reception. Hodapp's presentation, "Improving Representation of Women in Physics (and Optics!)," focused on programs that advocate issues relevant to minorities and women, in areas of education and careers.

"Women have long been underrepresented in physics, although they continue to make advances" says Hodapp. "There are many programs addressing this issue." He stressed the fact that unemployment for PhDs in the United States, after one year, is only 1 percent, and women should be encouraged to seek higher education in math and sciences.


 Plenty of posters

 poster session

A hall full of posters from conferences on Solar Energy and Optical Engineering and Applications drew a crowd to continue the technical exchange at the end of the conference day.(See more photos in the event gallery.)


San Diego-style welcome

Welcome reception

The symposium welcome reception at sunset on the convention center terrace literally brought the ball game to the fans, with appearances by San Diego Padres Cy Young winner Randy Jones, the Padres Squad, the Padres Friar, and on-screen baseball broadcasts around the terrace. (See more photos in the event gallery.)


Sunday 12 August


Green photonics, latest progress

Sasha Grigorenko at SPIE Optics and Photonics

Green photonics topics were among popular draws as the Optics and Photonics week started Sunday morning. Conferences on metamaterials, plasmonics, OLEDs, and optics for illumination and solar concentration drew the largest audiences in the convention center. Above, Sasha Grigorenko (Univ. of Manchester) presents on "Graphene nanoplasmonics," in a latest-progress special keynote session in the Plasmonics: Metallic Nanostructures and their Optical Properties conference.

A sampling of Sunday morning presentations includes:

Robert Boyd (Univ. of Ottawa) discussed in paper 8458-01 the possibilities of controlling optical forces using slow light methods and explained the conceptual understanding of this approach. He noted that under some circumstances pulse-shape changes can be misinterpreted as the effects of slow light. To confirm that true slow-light effects are taking place, one should create a true-zero intensity in the beam and monitor the propagation of this zero. This was accomplished by inserting a phase shift in the incoming pulse, creating a zero in the pulse through interference. The time delay of this zero cannot be explained by pulse reshaping and thus true slow light propagation must be the cause.

Nikolay Zheludev (Optoelectronics Research Ctr.) noted in paper 8457-01 that over the past years several super-resolution microscopy techniques have been developed. All of these have implied that resolution beyond the Rayleigh limit required some form of near field interaction (through plasmonics) or multiple-photon fluorescence particle location (as in STED). The work of this paper indicated that this is not the case, and that arbitrarily small resolution can be achieved in the far field by employing super-oscillatory fields.

In the first of two talks from this group (8457-02), Sasha Grigorenko (Univ. of Manchester) presented several examples of how graphene layers can be used to both augment plasmonics as well as how plasmonic techniques can be enhanced through the use of graphene. The desired outcome of each method is the development of active plasmonics, a field where plasmonic phenomenon can be used to control light modulation and or absorption. The second talk (8457-04), presented by Kostya Novoselov, carried this work further by employing 2D heterostructure materials with graphene to demonstrate the photovoltaic properties of these crystals.

Federico Capasso (Harvard Univ.) in paper 8457-10 discussed how the principles of holography with surface waves are demonstrated to produce non-diffracting beams (both free space and surface waves). These techniques are used to create focusing plasmonic couplers of these beams. In addition, a new form of non-diffracting surface waves, called cosine beams, can be created and are found to propagate without spreading at the interface between metal and dielectric layers.


State of the art

Phil Stahl, Vladimir Shalaev, Bahaa Saleh, Eustace Dereniak

Updates on the latest in metamaterials and trends in optics and photonics by symposium-wide plenary speakers Vladimir Shalaev (Purdue Univ.) and Bahaa Saleh (CREOL, Univ. of Central Florida) drew a large audience at the end of opening day. From left are SPIE Vice President Phil Stahl (NASA), Shalaev, Saleh, and SPIE President Eustace Dereniak (College of Optical Sciences, Univ. of Arizona). (See more photos in the event gallery.)


Vision for the future

Vision 2025

Vision 2025  panelists Paul Davis (Goodwin Procter), Paul McManamon (Univ. of Dayton and Exciting Technology), M.J. Soileau (Univ. of Central Florida), and James Trolinger (MetroLaser) explored topics ranging from the "crisis" of poor STEM performance among American students, to the implications of the distinction between invention and innovation, to the need for a national strategy for photonics technology.

The panel was part of the conference on Photonics Innovations and Solutions for Complex Environments and Systems, and was moderated by chairs Akhlesh Lakhtakia and Judith Todd of Pennsylvania State Univ. (at far left above, with conference speakers and panelists).

Nearly all companies but the U.S. have implemented strategies that establish priorities for certain technology directions, McManamon said. Without such direction to guide university-industry-government partnerships, the country is at a competitive disadvantage.

Panelists and audience members explored issues around why student interest and performance in STEM subjects begins to fall off at around 11 years old, with several agreeing that the trend represents a crisis. Lakhtakia suggested that the lack of heroes to emulate is a factor, and Soileau pointed out that parental interest and socio-economic factors also take a toll.

Audience members praised the FIRST robotics programs as a novel way to engage children in optics, electronics, computer programming, physics, and science in general.

Regarding innovation, Trolinger and McManamon noted that the creative nature of engineering problem-solving and brainstorming often results in unanticipated solutions to problems that weren't the focus of the work. While there are many innovations along the way, the patent process is costly, and decisions must be made around when and whether to patent, Trolinger said.


Optics Outreach Olympics impress

OP12 Optics Outreach Olympics

As the Olympic Games wound down in London, nearly 220 people attended the SPIE Optics Outreach Olympics at Optics and Photonics Sunday night. Sixteen chapters representing 9 different countries presented their best outreach demonstrations that they use with schools around the world. In 2011, members of SPIE student chapters promoted science outreach with over 9,000 school students. The goal is to showcase effective, original educational activities organized by SPIE Student Chapters to present at schools in their communities. Chapters winning the 2012 Outreach Olympics are:

Gold Medal: "The Magic of the Human Eye," Univ. Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, presenter Perla Viera Gonzalez and Guillermo Sanchez Guerrero.

Silver Medal: "Light!," National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli, presenter Gowrishankar Subramaniyam.

Bronze Medal: "Laser Propagation Demonstration," Air Force Institute of Technology, presenters: Mark Spencer, Michael Steinbock, Michael Bensor, Mu Kim, Melissa Sawyer, and Shane McConnel.

Congratulations to all!


Saturday 11 August

SPIE Student Chapter Leadership Workshop

SPIE Student Chapter Leadership Workshop

The week kicked off with SPIE student events. Nearly 190 SPIE student chapter leaders from around the world gathered on Saturday for the SPIE Student Chapter Leadership Workshop. The lively interaction was facilitated by Sherry Nooravi, principal of Strategy Meets Performance. Student leaders worked on chapter problem solving, serving as a motivation to return to their chapters with new skills that they're eager to share with their peers. (See more photos in the event gallery.)


Back in town

SPIE Optics and Photonics attendee bag

Signs that SPIE Optics and Photonics is back in San Diego were evident Saturday evening in the form of green attendee bags such as the one seen here at Seaport Village. Early birds registered Saturday evening for conferences and course starting Sunday morning. See you around!



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