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SPIE Professional April 2010

Innovators Win Prism Awards

Judges for the Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation honor 10 for excellence.

Several corporate and individual members of SPIE with cutting-edge photonics products and technologies were among 10 winners of the Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation in the annual awards for optics, lasers, and photonics systems.

The awards, co-sponsored by SPIE and Photonics Media, recognized advances in optical coherence tomography systems, microspectrometers, green lasers, power optimizers for solar PV systems, non-destructive testing equipment, and other innovations in the industry during 2009.

A panel of international judges selected the winners from 135 products and applications in nine categories. Agilent Technologies' Scanning Microwave Microscopy Mode and Lehighton Electronics' Mobility Mapping Unit tied in the Analytical, Test and Measurement category.

Jeffrey Ungar, founder, president, CEO, and CTO of Laser Operations - QPC Lasers, received a 2009 Prism Award from Kathleen Maiman at SPIE Photonics West in January. Maiman is the widow of Theodore Maiman who built the first working laser in 1960. At right is SPIE member Laurent Vaissie, vice president of marketing and sales at Laser Operations - QPC Lasers.

The winners, announced in January during SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco, along with the award presenters are listed below. More information.

Analytical, Test, and Measurement

scanning microwave microscopy mode SMM modeAgilent Technologies (USA, tie)
Scanning Microwave Microscopy Mode (SMM Mode)

Agilent's scanning microwave microscopy mode (SMM Mode) is an atomic force microscopy method to enable quantitative electromagnetic materials characterization at high resolution. SMM Mode, previously named an R&D 100 Award winner, can be used on semiconductors (no oxide-layer required), metals, dielectric materials, ferroelectric materials, insulators, and biological materials. SMM Mode measures properties associated with small variations in the electromagnetic interactions of a sample's different components with the incident microwave signal, either statically or dynamically.

1605 mobility mapping unitLehighton Electronics Inc. (USA, tie)
1605 Mobility Mapping Unit

Lehighton's mapping unit measures electron mobility, sheet resistance, carrier concentration, and density in a variety of substrates and materials in a noncontact, nondestructive manner, eliminating destruction of expensive wafers for measurement. The LEI 1605 reduces the cost of research in semiconductor and solar manufacturing processes by providing EM results instantly and allowing operators to make changes for optimal processing.

The award for analytical, test, and measurement was presented by John Dexheimer of First Analysis and Lightwave Advisors.

Detectors, Sensing, and Imaging Systems

MEMS Tunable Fabry-Perot interferometer microspectrometer for infrared absorption spectroscopyInfraTec Infrared (USA, SPIE corporate member)
MEMS Tunable Fabry-Perot Interferometer Microspectrometer for Infrared Absorption Spectroscopy

The MEMS tunable Fabry-Perot Interferometer Microspectrometer for infrared absorption spectroscopy targets mid-wave infrared gas analyzer and spectroscopic applications to identify substances by detecting their unique absorption signatures. The device is based on a bulk-micromachined spectrally tunable Fabry-Perot interferometer with an electrostatically tuned air cavity integrated into an infrared detector. The award was presented by SPIE Board Member Upendra Singh of NASA Langley Research Center.


Brightlock Ultra-GLaser Operations - QPC Lasers (USA)
Brightlock Ultra-G

The Brightlock Ultra-G is a compact, athermal, multiwatt green (532 nm) laser with near-diffraction-limited beam quality based on on-chip wavelength stabilization of high-brightness laser diodes. The Ultra-G series is specifically designed for medical, military, and defense applications that require high-power green light in a compact, passively cooled package. Benefits of the Ultra-G include its passive cooling system, its small size, low power consumption and cost effectiveness. The award was presented by Kathleen Maiman, widow of Theodore Maiman who built the first working laser in 1960.

Life Sciences

Lightlab Imaging Inc.LightLab Imaging Inc. (USA)
C7-XR Optical Coherence Tomography System (FD-OCT)

The C7-XR Optical Coherence Tomography System uses frequency-domain signal processing to provide cardiologists with an interior view of coronary arteries to enhance the diagnosis and treatment of vascular disease. Its ultrafast imaging speed, micron-scale resolution and 3D visualization capabilities streamline the clinician's work flow and redefine the possibilities of interventional cardiology imaging. SPIE President-Elect Katarina Svanberg presented this award.


BOA pulse compressorSwamp Optics (USA)
BOA Pulse Compressor

The BOA Pulse Compressor works like a snake by shortening ultrashort pulses in real time. The compact package uses only one prism, a roof mirror, and a precisely manufactured corner cube to reflect the beam back to the prism precisely parallel with the beam entering it. The Bother-free Optimized Arrangement avoids the problematic beam distortions of two- and four-prism designs (including angular dispersion, spatial chirp, and pulse-front tilt). Because the prism-corner-cube distance is tuned (and not the prism insertion as in conventional compressors), the BOA Compressor can accommodate pulses with large, as well as small, bandwidths. This award was presented by Stephen Krenitsky of Schott North America.

Other Light Sources

160 kV open-type microfocus x-ray sourceHamamatsu Corp. (USA, SPIE corporate member)
160 kV Open-Type Microfocus X-ray Source

The 160 kV Open-Type Microfocus X-ray Source is a microfocus x-ray source (MFX) with .25 µm resolution for x-ray nondestructive inspection and computed tomography. A small focal point prevents blurring of x-ray images and delivers a sharp enlarged image. The L10711 open-type x-ray source includes a built-in high-voltage power supply and operates in a dual cathode mode. The award was presented by Jennifer Ernst of the Palo Alto Research Center.

Photonics Processes

strong tether fiber optic cableLinden Photonics (USA)
Strong Tether Fiber Optic Cable

Linden Photonics has patented its strong-tether fiber optic cable (STFOC) which uses extruded liquid crystal polymer on commercial-grade optical fibers. The STFOC has moisture-barrier properties and eliminates the need for metalized fiber in hermetic packaging of optoelectronic components. The crush-resistant cable was originally developed for the Navy's Mark48 wire-guided torpedo. The award was presented by Gary Speigel of Newport Corp.

Photonics Systems

iCure thermal spot curing systemIRphotonics (Canada)
iCure Thermal Spot Curing System

The iCure Thermal Spot Curing System provides localized heat via high-intensity infrared radiation in a portable unit that can be integrated into a production line. The inline fiber optic system delivers pinpoint and accurate control for temperature sensitive substrates and complex devices. Applications include pot curing of thermal epoxies; bonding and fixing of plastic and glass components; fixing of lenses; temporary fixing of miniature components; precision assembly and bonding of semiconductor components; focused energy for micro soldering; and localized heat welding of thermoplastics. The award was presented by Karl Spanner of Physik Instrumente.

Sustainable/Green Technology

solarmagic power optimizerNational Semiconductor (USA)
SolarMagic Power Optimizer

The SolarMagic optimizer provides an electronic solution to long-standing challenges with solar arrays, enabling systems to realize their full power-producing potential. Using advanced algorithms and mixed-signal technology, SolarMagic minimizes the negative effects of panel mismatch caused by real-world conditions such as system aging, varied tilts and orientations, and debris or shade. Field-testing has shown that SolarMagic can recoup up to 57% of power losses. SPIE Fellow Steve Eglash of Stanford University presented this award.

Prism Awards 2010 Call for Entries

Do you have an innovative product or technology coming to market in 2010? You could be the next winner of a Prism Award for Photonics Innovation.

The deadline for applying for a 2010 Prism Award will be 17 September. More information.

Photonics Media Donates Funds for SPIE Scholarship

Photonics Media President Thomas Laurin announced at the Prism Awards banquet that the publishing firm would donate funds to the SPIE scholarship fund in memory of his sister, Diane Laurin.

Diane Laurin, who was instrumental in creating the Prism Awards in 2008, died in August 2009. Diane Laurin was influential in helping the industry, 30 years ago, embrace the all-encompassing name "photonics" to define itself.

Visit SPIE.org for more information on how the SPIE scholarship fund helps students pursue their careers.

Write to us at spieprofessional@spie.org.  

DOI: 10.1117/2.4201004.04

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