As scientists seek to find solutions to issues concerning the Earth and its inhabitants, some are looking outside this world into the surrounding universe. NASA is currently involved in the Kepler Mission, a project seeking to find habitable, terrestrial planets. The Kepler Space Telescope, named after German astronomer Johannes Kepler, was launched in March 2009 and represents NASA's first search for Earth-size planets orbiting sun-like stars.
Resembling a foil-covered rocket, the Kepler Space Telescope includes a built-in spacecraft which provides the power, pointing, and telemetry for the photometer. During its four-year mission, the 0.95-meter diameter telescope, with a field of view of 105 square degrees, will remain pointed at a single group of stars and record data from that region regarding areas where liquid water and even life might exist.
To date, Kepler has discovered 15 exoplanets, including a system of six transiting a sun-like star, and it has identified more than 1200 candidate planets, including 54 that are in or near the habitable zones of their stars.
At SPIE Optics and Photonics, 21-25 August in San Diego, CA (USA), attendees will be able to learn more about the Kepler Mission from Jon M. Jenkins, a SETI Institute senior research scientist and analysis lead for the mission.
In his plenary talk, "The Little Photometer That Could: Technical Challenges and Science Results from the Kepler Mission," Jenkins will discuss Kepler's objective to explore the structure and diversity of planetary systems.
"Kepler will answer a question we've been asking for thousands of years," Jenkins says. "Are there other worlds out there like our own? What could be better than to be standing in the crow's nest and experiencing the thrill of discovering new worlds?"
Before launch, the Kepler photometer was installed in a vertical collimator assembly inside the thermal vacuum chamber.
Ball Aerospace images
Jenkins will be one of 26 plenary speakers at SPIE Optics and Photonics, one of the largest technical conferences covering solar technologies, astronomical instrumentation, solid-state lighting, bioelectronics, nanoengineering, space optics, and numerous light-driven applications and devices.
Open to all attendees, the plenary sessions will include technologies covered by four symposia: NanoScience + Engineering, Solar Energy + Technology, Photonic Devices + Applications, and Optical Engineering + Applications.
More than 3000 papers and presentations will be given alongside some 50 special events, including the SPIE Annual General Meeting, awards banquet, and a members' reception.
Where we are going
SPIE Fellows Naomi Halas of Rice University (USA) and Zhenan Bao of Stanford University (USA) will be the speakers for the symposium-wide plenary session.
For the past few years, Halas and her team have focused on nanoshells. Developed in her lab at Rice, nanoshells are composites of layered dielectric core and metallic shell. In her session, "Nanophotonics: Where We've Been and Where We're Going," Halas will discuss her discoveries and the nature of nanophotonics research.
The field of organic electronics shows promising potential for applications that could benefit from the use of organic materials. Bao will discuss current advances in the fabrication of chemical, biological, pressure sensors, and stretchable organic solar cells that are major constituents for a multi-modal sensing electronic skin.
"I am most excited about our electronic skin," Bao says. "We are trying to mimic the chemical, biological and pressure sensing abilities of real skin."
In her talk, "Organic Transistor-Based Sensors for Flexible Artificial Electronic Skin," Bao will note the benefits of using organic materials which could lead to the manufacture of electronic units for electronic skin. E-skin also has further applications in medicine, food storage, and environmental monitoring.
(See the January 2011 issue of SPIE Professional for more on this topic.)
Women in Optics: Going global
The speaker for Women in Optics this year will be Kashiko Kodate, professor emeritus of Japan's Women's University. In her talk, "Women in Science, Engineering, and Technology Shape the Future: Nurturing Female Scientists Through Research," Kodate will speak about her career as a researcher and an educator.
With more than 40 years' experience in optical research, Kodate's work includes a VPH grism (the combination of a prism and grating, constructed for the Subaru telescope in Hawaii) and an online video-matching application using optical correlation technology. Throughout her career, she has mentored many female students in Japan, where only 13.8% of researchers are women. (See the July 2010 article in SPIE Professional.)
Kodate began her career as a physicist in her mid-30s and says she wishes someone had told her back then of the importance of going global.
"In the 21st century," Kodate says, "it is only natural to belong to an international research community, but I simply did not have the time, as I had three children and aging parents to look after. Yet things have not changed that drastically, even today. Meeting the right mentor, receiving support from your family, and creating an environment where students and researchers from industry and government can collaborate freely are all still very important.
"I have been lucky enough to have had all of those," she says.
Tribute to Joseph W. Goodman
On Sunday, 21 August, H. John Caulfield of Alabama A&M University (USA) and Henri H. Arsenault of Université Laval (Canada) will chair a tribute to SPIE Fellow Joseph W. Goodman who, along with his wife Hon Mai Goodman, personally fund the Joseph W. Goodman Book Writing Award. The bi-annual award, co-sponsored by SPIE and OSA, recognizes publications that contribute significantly to the optics and photonics industry.
At the tribute, friends and colleagues will acknowledge Goodman's book-writing award and his many contributions to electrical engineering and physical optics.
"The speaker list is spectacular," Caulfield says. "These are all top players in Professor Goodman's field. One or two could not come, but I will read statements from them. We are a community of friends."
Caulfield believes that people are more important to a field than any particular contribution they make. He hopes younger scientists coming to the meeting will begin to understand this concept.
Tributes such as this show that while scientists may compete to invent something first, they also highly value their peers. Scientists at the top of any field appreciate having other colleagues to help in their research and push them toward success.
"In game theory," Caulfield says, "there is a much-studied game called 'zero sum.' If you win, I lose. Science is an infinite game. If you win, so do I. My field is enriched. These celebrations show that clearly."
Student events include Outreach Olympics
A series of student-focused events will offer students at SPIE Optics and Photonics opportunities to meet peers and professionals in the fields of optics and photonics. Student activities begin Saturday, 20 August with the 10th annual leadership conference where students can meet and network with alumni from past workshops. Topics of discussion will include funding, scholarships, travel grants, and other benefits of SPIE student membership.
The second annual Optics Outreach Olympics will be a friendly competition featuring optics and photonics educational projects from several SPIE Student Chapters. Afterwards, students can hang out with peers at the student social.
At the complimentary Lunch with the Experts, students can enjoy a casual meal with colleagues and professionals who will share their experiences in choosing a career path in optics and photonics. The luncheon will also feature an awards presentation for Newport Spectra-Physics travel grant winners.
A series of student chapter exhibits will feature the research and programs developed by some of SPIE's brightest student groups to increase science awareness and literacy in their regions.
Observing the stars and contemplating the wonders of the universe has been a passion of human beings for millennia. Johannes Kepler still inspires today's scientists such as Jon Jenkins and others working with the Kepler mission. Their work is already inspiring young scientists of the future.
In keeping with this inclination to continue looking up, all registered attendees and exhibitors are invited to view the magic of the San Diego night sky after the welcome reception Monday evening, 22 August.
A variety of telescopes will be set up by volunteers from the San Diego Astronomy Club, giving participants the opportunity to watch the skies, learn about different telescopes, and share their interest in astronomy and other related sciences.
Wide variety of courses
More than 55 courses and workshops (in 16 tracks) featuring top instructors, will be offered at Optics and Photonics 2011.
Through these classes, participants can improve skills, make new connections, and strengthen their career with ongoing education.
Program tracks include:
• Advanced metrology
• Astronomical optics and instrumentation
• Atmospheric and space optical systems
• Business and professional development
• Detectors and imaging devices
• Image and signal processing
• Optical design and systems engineering
• Optomechanics and optical manufacturing
• Organic photonics and electronics
• Remote sensing
• Solar energy and technology
• Thin films
• X-ray, gamma-ray, and particle technologies
SPIE Annual Meeting and Member Events
The SPIE Annual General Meeting will be held at the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina at 6 pm Tuesday, 23 August, in conjunction with SPIE Optics and Photonics.
All SPIE members are encouraged to attend to hear results of the 2011 election and reports from SPIE President Katarina Svanberg and SPIE Executive Director Eugene Arthurs.
An SPIE members-only reception will follow at 7 p.m.
Thirteen new SPIE Fellows will receive their promotion certificates during a Fellows luncheon on Monday, 22 August. Fellows interested in attending the luncheon should RSVP to brentj@SPIE.org.
Sunday 21 August
• Nanophotonics: Where We've Been and Where We're Going, Naomi J. Halas, Rice University (USA)
• Organic Transistor Based Sensors for Flexible Artificial Electronic Skin, Zhenan Bao, Stanford University (USA) Astronomical Optics + Instrumentation
• The Little Photometer That Could: Technical Challenges and Science Results from the Kepler Mission, Jon Jenkins, NASA Ames Research Center (USA)
• Large Binocular Telescope Adaptive Optics System: New Achievements and Perspectives in Adaptive Optics, Simone Esposito, Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory (Italy)
Monday 22 August
NanoScience + Engineering
• Transforming Light with Optical Metamaterials, Vladimir M. Shalaev, Purdue University (USA)
• Quantum Dot Nanophotonics: From Optical Science to Practical Implementation, Yasuhiko Arakawa, University of Tokyo (Japan)
• Lessons from Nature About Solar Light-Harvesting, Gregory D. Scholes, University of Toronto (Canada)
• Integration of Natural Silk Fibroin to Organic Optoelectronics and Photonics, Roberto Zamboni, National Research Council (Italy) Solar Energy + Technology
• Film Crystal Silicon Photovoltaics by Hot-Wire Chemical Vapor Deposition Epitaxy on Seed Layers, Howard M. Branz, National Renewable Energy Lab (USA)
• Thermodynamic and Economic Potentials of Organic Photovoltaics, Sean Shaheen, University of Denver (USA)
• A Solar Revolution, Frank van Mierlo, 1366 Technologies (USA)
• CPV: Competitive Now, Plenty of Headroom, Vahan Garboushian, Amonix (USA)
• Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems (SEGIS) Adding Functionality While Maintaining Reliability and Economics, Ward Bower, Sandia National Labs (USA)
Tuesday 23 August
OLEDs + Solid State Lighting
• OLED Lighting Solutions: Achievements, Trends, and Prospects in Technology, Thomas D. Dobbertin, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors (Germany)
• Is Solid State Lighting Ready for the Incandescent Lamp Phase-Out? Nadarajah Narendran, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (USA) Remote Sensing
• Exploring the solar system: the view of planetary surfaces with VIR/IR remote sensing methods, Gabriele Arnold, University of Münster (Germany)
• How Active Sensing Technology Investments Enable the Future, George J. Komar, NASA Earth Science Technology Office (USA)
• Using Invariant Physics-Based Spectral/Spatial Methods for the Analysis of Hyperspectral Images, Glenn Healey, University of California, Irvine (USA) Optical Engineering + Applications
• The History of Telescopes and Binoculars: An Engineering Perspective, John E. Greivenkamp, University of Arizona (USA)
• Mirror Technologies for Giant Telescopes, James H. Burge, University of Arizona (USA)
Wednesday 24 August
Photonic Devices + Applications
• Organic Photovoltaics: Towards Low-Cost Solar Energy, Samson A. Jenekhe, University of Washington (USA)
• Organic Spintronics, Z. Valy Vardeny, University of Utah (USA)
• Photonic Crystals and their Applications, Kai-Ming Ho, Iowa State University and Ames Lab. (USA)
X-Ray, Gamma-Ray, + Particle Technologies
• Synchrotrons and XFELs: X-ray Source Development, John R. Arthur, SLAC National Accelerator Lab (USA)
• Biomedical Spectral X-ray Imaging: Promises and Challenges, Erik L. Ritman, Mayo Clinic (USA)
• Molecular Breast Imaging: How and Why It Will Become One of the Top Clinical Procedures in Nuclear Medicine, Bradley E. Patt, Gamma Medica (USA)
Have a question or comment about this article? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.