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SPIE Professional: Bonus Web Content

Ten Receive Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation

Innovative technology and products recognized at SPIE Photonics West

SPIE Photonics WestSPIE and Laurin Publishing, publisher of Photonics Media, have named Luxtera's "Blazar" entry as the overall best of show winner in the 2008 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation, the premier competition for the photonics industry worldwide.

Winners were announced Wednesday, 28 January in San José (CA) during SPIE Photonics West, the largest event in the field of optics and photonics. The winners in all nine categories are:

  • Aragon Photonics Labs, "BOSA-C Compact High-Res Optical Spectrum Analyzer" (Analytical, Test and Measurement)
  • NoblePeak Vision, "TriWave Camera" (Detectors, Sensing, and Imaging)
  • Tessera, "OptiML WLC" (Optics)
  • Coherent, "OPSL 577-3 Solid-State Laser" (Lasers; Tie)
  • Daylight Solutions, "Broadly tunable, CW Mode-hop-free Laser System" (Lasers; Tie)
  • Sensor Electronic Technology, Inc., "Deep UV Light Sources" (Other Light Sources)
  • Luxtera, "Blazar" (Photonics Systems and Best of Show)
  • Princetel, "FP180 Hand Polisher" (Photonics Processes)
  • Solyndra, "Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System" (Sustainable/Green Technology)
  • JPK Instruments AG, "JPK NanoTracker" (Life Sciences)

The Prism Awards, introduced for the first time in 2008, recognize the best in innovative technology within the multi-billion dollar business of optics and photonics. A distinguished panel of 28 independent judges, acknowledged as experts in their respective fields, selected the winners from more than 130 entries.

"The successful launch of the Photonics Prism Awards demonstrates how committed we are to the future of photonics technology and its impact on the planet for years to come," said Thomas Laurin, vice president of Laurin Publishing.

"Response to the awards in the first year was very strong, and the products and processes submitted for review are world-class. They reflect both the leadership and expertise of the organizations in this field."

SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs said the winning inventions demonstrate the "remarkable creativity of the photonics community, the restless inventive energy that is what SPIE is all about.

"I expect that many of these or their derivatives will be successful new products--the lifeblood of any company," Arthurs added. "They will help customers be more effective and so be a part of the great photonics enterprise that has already contributed so much to enhance our lives and that will play an increasingly important role in a sustainable future." 

Luxtera's Blazar optical active cable, Prism Award for Photonics InnovationLuxtera has integrated high-performance optics directly with silicon electronics on a monolithic CMOS chip, giving birth to the Silicon CMOS Photonics industry and bringing direct "fiber-to-the-chip" connectivity. Luxtera's "best of show" entry, the Blazar 40G Optical Active Cable at right, is based on its CMOS Photonic Intellectual Property.

Four of the winners are exhibiting at SPIE Photonics West this week: Tessera (Booth 1007), Coherent (Booth 1119), Daylight Solutions (Booth 6362 South Hall), and Sensor Electronic Technology (Booth 6414, South Hall).

Michael Bereziuk, executive vice president, Imaging & Optics at Tessera said it was a privilege to receive a Prism Award for Photonics Innovation for its OptiML Wafer-Level Camera technology. “As devices such as cell phones get smaller, innovative imaging solutions such as our OptiML WLC technology will transform next-generation handsets by enabling higher levels of functionality for consumers while providing a smaller, lower-cost, more reliable camera module solution for manufacturers,” he said. 

OptiML WLC technology reduces the size of camera modules by up to 50%. The innovative technology enables thousands of tiny lenses to be formed on a wafer at the same time, substantially lowering total manufacturing costs.

By using reflow-compatible materials for the lenses, the technology makes it possible for camera modules to go through high-heat soldering of up to 200 degrees Celsius without damage. This means they can be mounted directly onto phone boards using the same reflow process used to assemble other electronics, which reduces costs.

NoblePeak Vision, which won in the detectors, sensors, and imaging category, was founded in 2002 by SPIE members Clifford King and Conor Rafferty, both graduates of Stanford University and colleagues at Bell Laboratories. The company holds numerous patents in germanium-based processing for imagers.

NoblePeak Vision's TriWave camera won a Prism Award for Photonics InnovationNoblePeak Vision's novel TriWave imager, right, is a germanium-enhanced CMOS image sensor technology with sensitivity in the visible to SWIR (400nm to 1650nm) part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The imager is important because split-second decision making in the battlefield, on the road, or protecting high value assets requires clear visibility for instant recognition of potential hazards, particularly at night.

Growing thick, pure germanium with negligible defect density is novel because of dislocation trapping. Dislocations at the silicon-germanium interface propagate at an angle of 60° to the interface, and terminate on the sidewalls of the aperture, according to its award application. The body of the germanium island, much larger than the aperture, is defect free. This innovative growth technique is used to integrate germanium islands with the silicon transistors and metal layers of a standard foundry based CMOS process.

In April 2008, the TriWave technology won "Best of Show" honors at the International Security Conference's New Product Showcase, and it was named the world's best security startup in the Global Security Challenge in 2007.

To participate in the 2009 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation, go to photonicsprismaward.com, spie.org/photonics-west.xml, or photonics.com

Posted 28 January, 2009. Updated 29 January, 16 February, 18 February.

DOI: 10.1117/2.4200901.50

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