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SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics 2017 news and photos

State-of-the-art labs, and the leaders in the field

SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017 tour of UFE

A lab tour Tuesday afternoon at the Institute of Photonics and Electronics (ÚFE)
of the Czech Academy of Sciences (above) was the first of two optional tours
that were among highlights enjoyed by attendees during the week.
Browse below for a look at more!




Opening with ELI: reports from the three pillars

SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017

Audiences crowded in Monday morning for opening day talks.

A Monday morning session detailed current status and plans for the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) program. Together, representatives from each of the program’s three pillars demonstrated the substantial progress that has been made towards the goal of providing the community with unique laser sources for studies ranging from fundamental physics to emerging applications.

Georg Korn from the Institute of Physics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, described in an invited talk how the ELI-Beamlines project balances fundamental science with applications by addressing six core research programs ranging from laser sources to varied applications in molecular and biological sciences and high-energy-density physics (10241-2).

Four laser sources planned for the facility provide up to 10PW of power and 100mJ of pulse energy. Plans are for facility readiness in time for user experiments in 2018.

Progress for the ELI-ALPS program in Hungary, with three primary laser sources, was discussed by Karoly Osvay (10241-3). Together, the trio of lasers enables studies of physics benefiting from radiation in the THz range to those needing PW power levels and the development applications in the attosecond and UV x-ray ranges.

  • The SYLOS system has completed factory acceptance and will be installed in July 2018. This system provides 4.5TW of power at 1kHz with a 10fs pulse width.
  • The HR1 laser, set for factory acceptance in May and installation later this year, delivers 1mJ pulses at 100kHz with 6fs pulses.
  • The third is the HFPW unit which provides 34J pulse energies at 10Hz with 17fs pulse widths, and is slated for a September 2018 installation.

Daniel Urescu of the National Institute for Laser, Plasma and Radiation Physics provided an update on the ELI-NP program in Romania (10241-4). The facility will feature sources vital to the study of nuclear physics including two 10PW systems and a tunable-energy gamma-beam source, and is slated to be operational in 2018.


Networking on the agenda

SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017

Connecting over coffee

After the first technical sessions on Monday morning, the networking began in earnest over coffee and pastries. More than 750 technical presentations were scheduled for the conference week.

SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017 SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017


SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017, Jirí Homola, Eva Zažímalová, Maryellen Giger

Jiří Homola, Eva Zažímalová, Maryellen Giger

A presidential welcome

Eva Zažímalová, president of the Czech Academy of Sciences, joined SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics general chair Jiří Homola of the Academy's Institute of Photonics and Electronics and SPIE President-Elect Maryellen Giger of the University of Chicago in welcoming participants to the meeting in Prague on Monday afternoon.

Along with Homola, Bedřich Rus of ELI Beamlines, Chris Edwards of the UK Central Laser Facility, Mike Dunne of the SLAC National Accelerator, and Ivo Rendina of CNR Istituto per la Microelettronica e Microsistemi are general chairs.


Tribute to Wolfgang Sandner

Carlo Rizzuto, SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017

Carlo Rizzuto

Carlo Rizzuto, Director General of the Extreme Light Infrastructure Delivery Consortium International (ELI-DC), offered a memoriam to renowned laser scientist Wolfgang Sandner, a past SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics symposium chair and long-time steering committee member. Sandner died in December 2015, and at that time held the position of ELI-DC director.

Rizzuto shared highlights of Sandner's career, and declared him "an exceptional person who gave a lot to science."


Congratulations, new Fellows!

Nigel Johnson, Maryellen Giger

Nigel Johnson, Maryellen Giger
Immaculada Pascual, Maryellen Giger

Immaculada Pascual, Maryellen Giger

SPIE President-Elect Maryellen Giger recognized two new Fellows of the Society before Monday afternoon's plenary talks began. Nigel Johnson, University of Glasgow, was honored for achievements in photonic crystals and metamaterials. Immaculada Pascual, Universidad de Alicante, was honored for achievements in holographic materials, optical storage diffractive optics, and visual optics.


Plenary talks: across the range of photonics

The opening-day plenary session on Monday afternoon featured talks from two well-respected researchers in fields that encompassed the range of technology and science showcased at SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics.

Jonathan Zuegel at SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017

Jonathan Zuegel

Jonathan Zuegel of the University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics described work being done at producing scalable technologies to upgrade the OMEGA EP laser system to enable pumping of the EP OPAL optical parametric amplifier line. The end goal is an output power density in excess of 1023W/cm2 with pulse widths on the order of 20fs.

Primary challenges included development of appropriately sized broadband gratings with suitable damage threshold and ultrabroadband wavefront control and focusing to achieve the desired intensities.

Technical challenges will be retired using a mid-scale prototype system expected to further operational experience with such facilities and to be operational by the end of 2019.

Kishan Dholakia at SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017

Kishan Dholakia

In the second presentation, Kishan Dholakia of the University of St. Andrews discussed utilizing the forces resulting from the scattering of light from and refraction of light through micron-sized objects to manipulate such objects.

Optical manipulation of materials not only contains interesting physics but has found a variety of applications, particularly in the life sciences.

Dholakia described how the slow-light effect in photonic crystal waveguides enhances the speed with which one can move objects. He discussed not only translational motion of objects but also how to utilize circularly polarized light to effect rotation and the benefits in Q-factor seen when operating in vacuum which has implications in sensing applications.

Although this method has been around for over 40 years, Dholakia’s presentation showed that future applications in sensing and in conducting tests at the classical-quantum interface as well as other areas will keep it relevant and interesting in the future.


A festive and elegant welcome

SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017 welcome reception

Conference participants reconvened after the day's sessions for a welcome reception in the beautiful Kaiserštejnský Palác, enjoying music as well as good company and delicious refreshments.

SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017 welcome reception SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017 welcome reception
SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017 welcome reception SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017 welcome reception
SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017 welcome reception SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017 welcome reception




Plenary talk: promising future for multimodal fibers

Demetri Psaltis at SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017

Demetri Psaltis

Demetri Psaltis of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne gave a plenary talk Tuesday morning on imaging with multimode fibers, reporting on promising results that bode well for the future of multimodal fibers in endoscopic applications and in other imaging applications as well.

The research is motivated by the need for improvements in endoscopes which currently rely on fiber bundles of millimeter sizes in diameter. Bending of the fibers can be an issue, historically has required that the system be used as a rigid probe.

Multimode fibers provide a path to reduce these diameters into the hundreds of microns range albeit with larger core diameters than that found in single-mode fibers. This results in a deterministic scattering and modal dispersion which can be analyzed to produce high-quality images, something which was demonstrated in fluorescent imaging of neuronal cells. The large number of temporal and spatial degrees of freedom available with multimodal fibers enables high-resolution imaging in a compact operation.

Psaltis described recent work on speckle scattering microscopy which eliminates the need for calibration and demonstrates no bending sensitivity.


Suppliers and project partners connect in the exhibition

SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017 exhibition

Nearly 40 companies showing optical instruments and systems for industrial and research applications talked with booth visitors Tuesday on the first of the two-day exhibition. Members of the SPIE Czech Technical University Student Chapter (below left, with SPIE President-Elect Maryellen Giger) hosted a booth as well. Giger also visited the SPIE Charles University Student Chapter while in Prague.

Czech Technical University student chapter at SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017 exhibition SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017 exhibition
SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017 exhibition SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017 exhibition
SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2015 exhibition SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017 exhibition


Rich variety in x-ray free-electron studies

Felicie Albert at SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017

Felicie Albert
Richard Neutze at SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017

Richard Neutze
Nina Rohringer at SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017

Nina Rohringer

Three presentations in a joint session Tuesday afternoon between conferences on X-Ray Free-Electron Lasers and X-Ray Lasers and Coherent X-Ray Sources illustrated the rich variety of physics, chemistry, and biology which can be studied using x-ray free electron systems.

First up in the session highlighting the scientific applications of laser- and accelerator-based x-ray sources, Felicie Albert of Lawrence Livermore National Lab described the use of both x-ray free electron laser radiation and optical lasers to create states of warm dense matter subsequently probed with betatron radiation (10243-18).

Proof-of-principle experiments included studies of SiO2 at the O2 K-edge and Fe at the L-edge where changes at the precursors of the transition edges were shown to agree with theoretical expectations thereby enhancing understanding of these states of matter.

Next, Richard Neutze of the University of Gothenburg discussed the power of x-ray free electron sources for studies of biological systems (10237-1). He detailed time-resolved crystallography studies of structural changes in cells required to pump protons against gradients and through cell walls.

This eloquent work illustrated the pathways for proton transport in bacteriorhodopsin and the role that water molecules play in the process.

A third presentation in the session, given by Nina Rohringer of DESY, discussed nonlinear x-ray spectroscopy (10237-2). Coherent amplification of Kα emission in Mn-salt aqueous solutions wherein chemical information was preserved in the amplified spectra was demonstrated.

A second technique, stimulated resonant inelastic x-ray scattering (SRIXS), promises to be a more comprehensive method for the study of chemical structure. The authors demonstrated this method in Ne and established a protocol to detect signals in the presence of small Raman gains.


ÚFE: specializing in specialty fibers

UFE tour UFE tour

Participants enjoyed a tour Tuesday evening of the laboratory for fabrication of specialty optical fibers for fiber lasers and optical fiber sensors, at the Institute of Photonics and Electronics (ÚFE) of the Czech Academy of Sciences.




Commercializing EUV and SXR for biological imaging

EUV radiation, with wavelengths in the 10-120nm regime, provides good spatial resolution and high absorption in thin layers, while soft x-rays (SXR) with wavelengths in the 0.1-10nm range provide good contrast for imaging in the water-window wavelength range, making this source well-suited for imaging biological samples.

Migrating these sources into laboratory settings from their traditional large facility environments not only allows for interesting science but provides a path forward for low cost operation and potential commercialization.

In a talk Wednesday morning (10243-23), Przemyslaw Wachulak of the Institute of Optoelectronics at the Military University of Technology, Warsaw, highlighted the use of a double-stream gas puff jet experimental arrangement for use in three imaging schemes. He demonstrated the advancement of these laboratory sources towards commercialization and their ability to provide unique imaging capabilities.

  • The first, a Fresnel zone plate SXR microscopy arrangement, was shown to provide high-quality imaging with 60nm resolution at a 2.88nm wavelength.
  • An EUV imaging microscopy system operating at 13.8nm with 50nm resolution was shown not only to provide good imaging of ZnO nanowires and thin films but the high absorption of this wavelength in biological samples was exploited to study connections between cells.
  • A SXR contact microscopy arrangement with 80nm resolution was shown to be suitable for imaging biological samples including chromosomes and cell organelles, epidermal cells, and cancer cells.


Plenary talks: first light and steps forward

SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017
Robert Feidenhans’l

Robert Feidenhans’l
Constantin Haefner

Constantin Haefner

Wednesday afternoon’s plenary session featured presentations highlighting the range of laser technology found at SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics.

First light is expected in May at the European XFEL GmbH facility, said facility Management Board Chair Robert Feidenhans’l, in a progress report Wednesday afternoon.

Once fully operational, the system will provide a peak brightness which exceeds that available through synchrotron sources by a factor of 108 with photon energies in the range of 0.3-24keV. Designed to operate at 10Hz, the system has pulse widths on the order of 10-100fs.

Building on good progress toward achieving first light next month, operational commissioning is anticipated in July, and first user experiments in September. The European XFEL will enable applications development in the areas of structural dynamics, nanoscale imaging, and non-linear x-ray science.

Constantin Haefner of the National Ignition Facility and the Photon Science Directorate, Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL), discussed the development of high-repetition petawatt lasers and in particular the High-repetition-rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (HAPLS).

HAPLS was developed at LLNL in conjunction with the ELI-Beamlines team with the goal of installing the system at ELI-Beamlines in 2017. It represents a significant next step forward in taking high-power systems towards higher repetition rates in anticipation of eventually moving towards commercial applications.

The system produces 1PW at 10Hz as demonstrated during its commissioning run in late 2016 conducted by the ELI team working at LLNL. Measuring 17m x 4.6m, the tabletop system takes advantage of eight core technologies including gas cooling for the amplifiers and high-average-power gratings to meet specifications.


Commercial applications: continuing the discussion

SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics 2017 panel discussion

The concept of commercial applications of new-generation high-repetition high-peak-power laser systems was discussed by a panel following Wednesday’s plenary session talks, moderated by Ric Allott of the Association of Industrial Laser Users (AILU).

Plenary speakers Feidenhans’l and Haefner were joined by Tomáš Mocek of HiLASE and Dave MacLellan of the AILU discussed challenges towards commercialization and fielded questions on topics such as the importance of reducing cost and finding high-volume applications that could enable such cost reduction.

The consensus was that good progress has been made but more work is needed both in technology and application development to match laser performance to market opportunities.


Interactive poster sessions

The interactive poster session on Wednesday provided attendees with an opportunity to enjoy networking and refreshments while reviewing poster papers.

Interactive poster session Interactive poster session
Interactive poster session Interactive poster session
Interactive poster session Interactive poster session




Workshop: Intense, high-average-power lasers

Ceri Brenner at SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics

Ceri Brenner
Masakazu Kobayashi at SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics

Masakazu Kobayashi
Michael Pisarik at SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics

Michael Pisarik
Chris Edwards at SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics

Chris Edwards

A workshop on Thursday chaired by Tomáš Mocek of HiLASE, Ric Allott of Rutherford Appleton Lab, and Chris Edwards of the Science and Technology Facilities Council covered topics in technology and applications of intense, high-average-power lasers, opening with a session on Applications.

Laser-driven sources inducing micro-particle acceleration give rise to both photons and particle beams which can be made tunable and selectable through the use of different target materials. The opportunity to produce bright, point-like output providing high spatial resolution and high throughput is attractive for imaging applications, and the potential for short-duration pulses allows for the capturing of ultrafast dynamics and transient material processes.

Ceri Brenner of the SFTC Central Laser Facility discussed applications in medicine, including 3D imaging and medical tomography along with applications in security where x-ray imaging allows for depth profiling of samples (WS100-1).

Nuclear interrogation of materials, useful for analyzing the contents of shipping containers, and captures of rotating turbine blades were other use cases cited. Brener demonstrated that these traditionally scientific laser sources provide some unique capabilities for commercial applications.

Other speakers in the Applications session were Masakazu Kobayashi of Gigaphoton Inc., Chris Armstrong of the University of Strathclyde, and Michael Pisarik of HiLASE.


Moving fluorescent spectroscopy from the lab to the field

An overview of the variety of designs and uses of optical biosensors was discussed by Sabato D’Auria of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche in an invited talk Thursday morning (10231-41), highlighting the diverse methods and capabilities of these types of sensing techniques and their promise for everyday use beyond the lab.

Of particular interest was the use of proteins as fluorescent sensors in fluorescence correlation spectroscopy for single molecule detection and for sensitive protein folding and structural studies. Such experiments give detailed insight into complex structures.

D’Auria also noted the use of silver islands in metal-induced enhanced fluorescent studies coupled with total internal reflection fluorescent excitation resulting in a portable sensing system thereby taking the methods and technology from the lab to the field.


Developing a hard x-ray wavefront for the XFEL

In a talk Thursday morning, Sebastien Berujon of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility demonstrated the impressive science and engineering work which contributes to the viability and success of these large user facilities, in a discussion fo the development of a hard x-ray wavefront sensor for use in the European XFEL beamline (10237-19).

The beamline is expected to be operational and available to users later this year. Criteria for the sensor include beam wavefront characterization for each pulse in a non-invasive fashion.

An especially challenging aspect of the design results from the fact that within the 10Hz repetition rate pulse train lies individual pulses within each burst at a 4.5MHz repetition rate. Characterizing each of those pulses requires fast optical components.

Several approaches to at-wavelength metrology exist, and the team adopted a new approach leveraging near-field speckle properties. The resulting setup relies upon two streaming cameras and low-absorbing, fast-decay-time scintillators to image the beam with minimal disturbance.

Particularly impressive was the implementation of an x-ray speckle scanning mode capable of reaching single nano-radian accuracy.


Photonic crystals for microchip lasers

Kestutis Staliunas of the Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats discussed in a presentation Thursday afternoon the use of photonic crystals for beam filtering in microchip lasers (10227-27).

Microchip lasers are attractive as compact sources of coherent radiation but often suffer from rapid degradation in beam quality and brightness with increasing pump power. The form factor of microchip lasers limits the options for intracavity spatial filtering since traditional methods deployed in larger footprint lasers are not available in this case.

To address this issue, the researchers investigated the use of photonic crystals for this application. Simulation and experimental results presented demonstrated that insertion of asymmetric photonic crystal filters into the microchip cavity significantly improved beam quality and produced a threefold brightness enhancement.

Further improvements are predicated upon improvements in photonic crystal materials and fabrication techniques.




Touring ELI and HiLASE

Approximately 40 people went along on a tour of ELI and HiLASE on Friday morning following the conference, and the hosts of both facilities were very welcoming providing informative presentations. Participants were able to take a virtual tour of the ELI facility and laser beamlines in the virtual reality demonstration laboratory.

At HiLASE, participants heard about their state-of-the-art lasers including their record breaking laser "Bivoj" named after a mythical Czech strongman, and learned about their use in industrial applications.

ELI Tour ELI Tour
ELI Tour ELI Tour

SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics

24 – 27 April 2017
Prague, Czech Republic


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