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SPIE Professional January 2010

Photonics West

SPIE's Biggest Event Gets Even Bigger In San Francisco 23-28 January 2010.

By Beth Kelley

SPIE Photonics West

For SPIE Photonics West, bigger is definitely better: big names, big breakthroughs, and bigger exhibition space.

Already the largest photonics technical symposium and exhibition in North America by attendance, SPIE Photonics West moves to The Moscone Center in San Francisco later this month to allow for expansion of the exhibition halls and the technical conferences. Attendance is expected to match or exceed last year's, 18,000, and abstract submissions have topped last year's record number with more than 3,600 papers.

"This is the first time the conference is held in San Francisco, in a larger venue, and thus testimony of the wonderful growth of the science and technology of light," says OPTO symposium chair E. Fred Schubert, a Rensselaer Polytechnic University (USA) professor and SPIE Fellow.

"The move to San Francisco is an exciting one, and we look forward to having the room to expand that will go along with the move," says MOEMS-MEMS symposium chair Thomas Suleski, an SPIE Fellow from the University of North Carolina Charlotte (USA).

Taking place 23-28 January, Photonics West's conferences are organized into four symposia: BiOS, LASE, MOEMS-MEMS, and OPTO.


Long-time BiOS chairs and SPIE Fellows James Fujimoto (MIT) and R. Rox Anderson (Massachusetts General Hospital) once again lead this influential symposium that kicks off Photonics West.

The BiOS Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to Reginald Birngruber, Medizinisches Laserzentrum Lübeck GmbH (Germany), at the Hot Topics session, 7-9 pm, Saturday, 23 January.  

Reginald BirngruberBirngruber (left), a long time contributor to SPIE events and publications, will open the Hot Topics session with "Observations on the Past and Future Developments in Biomedical Optics."

"I will be discussing the development of ophthalmic laser therapies, and the newest ideas in short-pulsed refractive surgery," Birngruber says.

Two standout Hot Topic speakers are industry representatives. "Retinal Functional Imaging," will be presented by Amiram Grinvald, Optical Imaging Inc. (Israel), and "Intravascular OCT Extends Reach to Clinical Practice" will be presented by Joseph Schmitt, Lightlabs Imaging (USA).

Hours for the Biomedical Optics exhibition (23-24 January) have been extended this year, at the request of exhibit visitors. For the first time, the BiOS exhibition will have room to host product demonstrations for suppliers who provide solutions for the thousands of optical engineers, biophotonics researchers, clinicians, and others who attend this yearly event.

The BiOS symposium will also host its own student "Lunch with the Experts" event. On Sunday, 24 January, students can mingle with industry experts and experienced medical researchers at the 12:30 pm lunch.


SPIE is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the invention of the laser through its Advancing the Laser tribute, and is a founding partner and sponsor of LaserFest, a community-wide celebration. A series of events held at Photonics West will help showcase the influence of the laser.

This includes a "Cirque du Lasaire" reception, a panel of industry insiders discussing "The Making of an Industry: 50 Years of the Laser and Beyond," and displays of archival photographs, laser equipment, and videos illustrating past achievements and future possibilities.

The plenary session for the LASE symposium, held Wednesday, 27 January, includes:

  • Paul B. Corkum, University of Ottawa (Canada), "Attosecond-Angstrom Science"

  • Andreas Tünnermann, Friedrich-Schiller University Jena (Germany), "Ultrafast Fiber Laser Technology: Status and Prospects"

  • Holger Lubatschowski, Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (Germany), "Challenges and Prospects of Ultrafast Lasers in Ophthalmology"

The MOEMS-MEMS symposium hosts more than 225 research papers in two tracks: Micro- and Nanofabrication and Devices, Applications, and Reliability.

"We are very excited to have three excellent plenary speakers this year," Suleski says. The MOEMS-MEMS plenary takes place on Monday, 25 January and features:

  • Yogesh B. Gianchandani, University of Michigan (USA), "Emerging Research in Microsystems: Opportunities and Challenges in Health-Care and Environmental Sensing Applications"

  • Wilfried Mokwa, RWTH Aachen University (Germany), "MEMS Technologies for Artificial Retinas"

  • Thomas Bifano, Boston University Photonics Center (USA), "Shaping Light: MOEMS Deformable Mirrors for Microscopes and Telescopes"

Solid-state lighting is an up and comer in the world of photonics this year. "This technology will wipe away conventional lighting technologies such as incandescent and fluorescent light sources," Schubert says.

This year's OPTO plenary speakers discuss the latest breakthroughs in solid-state lighting technologies and include Shuji Nakamura of the University of California, Santa Barbara (USA), developer of the blue laser and the first to make an LED that would emit bright blue light. Nakamura will speak on"GaN-based nonpolar/semipolar LEDs, laser diodes and bulk crystal growth."

Plenary speaker Jeffrey Y. Tsao of Sandia National Labs (USA) will speak on "Solid-state lighting: science, technology and economic perspectives."

Even with severe market challenges in 2009, new solar energy technology and market development continues to grow. The talk, Hot Markets in Photonics: Solar, 3:30, Tuesday 26 January, is part of the Industry Perspectives program. Paula Mints, Energy Practice Navigant Consulting, and Patricia Glaza, Clean Technology and Sustainable Industries Organization, share the stage to discuss the direction of solar technology, worldwide markets, and opportunities for business. From core optical engineering to nanotechnology, materials science to funding and economic policy, both speakers bring a forward-looking understanding of market and technology trends on the path to widespread commercialization.

The 2009 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation, cosponsored by SPIE and Laurin Publishing, will be awarded in nine categories at Photonics West. The awards program was introduced in 2008 to recognize the best in innovative technology in optics and photonics. For a list of finalists and more information, see page 17.

SPIE Photonics West also offers an extensive program of 65 courses and workshops, including 15 new courses. A professional development speaker series features top-level young optics professionals discussing leadership, communications, proposal writing, and entrepreneurship, and a student "Lunch with the Experts" is scheduled for 12:30, Tuesday, 26 January.

iphoneSPIE iPhone Application In San Francisco

Explore the Photonics West program from your iPhone or iPod Touch with the SPIE iPhone application, available on iTunes and spie.org/mobile.

The iPhone app will let you lay out your schedule for the week, direct you to the technical conferences and special events you want to attend, even tell you where a supplier is on The Moscone Center exhibition floor. spie.org/mobile

Two Exhibitions

advancing the laser"The vendor exhibition is still the best place to gather information on the state of the art in the optics and photonics industry for new projects," says MOEMS-MEMS symposium chair Thomas Suleski.

The Photonics West exhibition, 26-28 January, is North America's largest covering light-driven technologies. More than 1100 suppliers have reserved space in the Moscone Center, including approximately 175 companies who will launch new products there.

Exhibition space for both the weekend Biomedical Optics (BiOS) exhibition and the mid-week Photonics West exhibition will exceed previous years' events.

Exhibitors will include several regional technology clusters representing the U.S. states of New York, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, and the Carolinas as well as Germany, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, France, Scotland, and China.

The laser tribute at the Moscone Center will include historic images and artifacts illustrating the evolution and applications of coherent light over the past 50 years. Read more about SPIE's celebration of the laser anniversary at spie.org/advancingthelaser.

Everything you need to know about SPIE Photonics West, The Moscone Center, and San Francisco is at spie.org/pw.

Beth Kelley 
Beth Kelley is an SPIE editor. 

Have a question or comment about this article? Write to us at spieprofessional@spie.org.

DOI: 10.1117/2.4201001.18

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