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SPIE Professional July 2007

SPIE Optics + Photonics

A little fine tuning makes Optics + Photonics better organized and more accessible.

By Beth Huetter

Optics + Photonics is one of the largest scientific symposia focusing on optical engineering, and covers a wide variety of technologies all under one roof. With its size, organizing conferences and events into categories that are logical and accessible to attendees becomes very important.

That in mind, Optics + Photonics organizers have done some fine-tuning and reorganization of the event, held this year from 26 through 30 August in San Diego, CA. The result is four symposia: Optical Engineering + Applications; Photonic Devices + Applications; and most notably Solar Energy + Applications, and the new symposia NanoScience + Engineering.

Small Science, Big Potential

“With the growth in this area continuing at a phenomenal pace, the adventurous decision was taken that it would best serve the community to further enhance the subject profile by establishing a fully fledged symposium,” says NanoScience symposium chair David Andrews of the University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK).

A combination of new and pre-existing conferences makes up this symposium. An especially hot area in nanotechnology right now fuses nanotechnology and biology. One of the conferences, Nanobiotronics, focuses on using bio-based materials in photonics and electronics.

“Biomaterials for organic field-effect transistors or organic light-effect diodes aren’t competitive yet compared to inorganic, but because we’re finding out we can dope these materials with some better performing guest materials, there’s a good potential we can come up with some organic-based materials which would have better performance than some of the inorganics,” says NanoScience symposium chair James Grote, U.S. Air Force Research Lab. (Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio).

Another facet of this interest is the health and medical potentials of nanotechnology.

“It is increasingly recognized that the special properties of nanoparticles extend to certain biological interactions, a fact that raises the profile of both the medical uses of nanotechnology for health intervention, and also concerns about other, possibly adverse effects,” says Andrews.

Two of the six nanotechnology plenary papers discuss this topic: “Nanotechnology: new tool for diagnostics and treatment of cancer,” by Michael Heller, University of California San Diego, and “High performance organic electronic devices based on nanoscale engineering,” by Yang Yang, University of California Los Angeles.

The other four plenary speakers and presentations are Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop, University of Queensland, Australia, “Optically driven mechanical micro/nanosystems in classical and quantum realms;” Liming Dai, University of Dayton, OH, “Plastic optoelectronics and aligned carbon nanotube nanodevices;” Akhlesh Lakhtakia, The Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA), “Brave new nanoworld, without apologies to Aldous Huxley;” and Sean Murdock, NanoBusiness Alliance (Skokie, IL), “Commercialization of Nanotechnology: A Business Perspective.”

The discussion about nanomedicine and health issues will continue with the session “Environment, Health, and Safety Issues for Nanotechnology,” which includes a panel discussion and audience participation.

“The health effects of nanoparticles in large part has yet to be determined, but given their size and the potential for introduction into biological systems, this represents a very important area to focus on,” says Kevin Liddane of Daylight Solutions (Poway, CA), and NanoScience symposium chair.

Sunny Ideas

But of course nanotechnology isn’t the only hot topic at Optics + Photonics. The Solar Energy + Applications symposium also showcases some amazing breakthroughs and R&D advances.

“We have added some important conferences this year including Optical Modeling and Measurements for Solar Energy Systems, and Photovoltaic Cell and Module Technologies. These areas complement well both our existing topics in the Solar Energy symposium as well as related conferences in other symposia,” says symposium chair Ravi Durvasula of Lightfleet Corp. (Camas, WA).

The seven Solar plenary papers feature some leading researchers from government, industry, and academia: “The solar-hydrogen economy: an analysis,” by Warren Reynolds, Eco-Engineers Inc. (Mount Ousley, Australia); “Solar hydrogen production by tandem cell system composed of metal oxide semiconductor film photoelectrode and dye-sensitized solar cell,” by Hironori Arakawa, Tokyo Univ. of Science, Japan; “New opportunities in concentrator photovoltaics with low-cost, 40% efficient multijunction III-V solar cells,” by Richard R. King, Spectrolab Inc. (Sylmar, CA); “Module design and development: progress and opportunities,” by Doug Rose, SunPower Corporation (San Jose, CA); “Delivering service at scale: old requirements for the new energy industry,” by Mark Culpepper, SunEdison (Beltsville, MD); “PV solar electricity market and technology development,” by Winfried Hoffmann, Applied Materials Inc. (Santa Clara, CA); and “The solar industry—DOE and NREL programs to accelerate growth,” by Stephen J. Eglash, consultant to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Palo Alto, CA).

Another standout feature of Optics + Photonics is the symposium-wide plenary session, which kicks off the week on Sunday 26 August. Danielle Merfeld, GE Global Research (Niskayuna, NY), will speak on “Technology to enable our solar technology future,” and Marlan O. Scully, Texas A&M Univ. (College Station, TX) and Princeton Univ. (Princeton, NJ), will address “The concept of the photon: updated.”

Make sure to visit the Optics + Photonics website to read about the symposia Optical Engineering + Applications and Photonic Devices + Applications, which cover developments in these more traditional areas of optics and photonics.

Special Events

There are also many exciting events happening beyond the symposia.

Kristina Johnson (Duke University; Durham, NC) and Michael Robinson (ColorLink Inc.; Boulder, CO) are presenting the workshop “Optics in Entertainment,” Thursday 30 August (see sidebar).

Joseph Goodman (Stanford University, CA) is being presented with the Gold Medal of the Society at the Annual Awards Banquet (29 August) where he will be the featured speaker, and is being honored with a tribute conference. (Read more about Goodman on page 24).

The Student Chapter Leadership Workshop is being expanded to two days. The Outreach Rodeo will be held Saturday, 25 August, and Sunday morning will feature workshop sessions open to all student members. The SPIEWorks Career Fair will be held Tuesday 28 August and Wednesday 29 August.

The exhibition hall is the place to see the latest trends and commercial developments in optical engineering, remote sensing, materials and devices, signal and image processing, illumination engineering, nanotechnology, x-ray optical technologies, and others. More than 280 exhibiting companies will present in two exhibition halls this year, providing half-hour demonstrations on the show floor.

Learn more about this important event online at SPIE.org/optics-photonics.xml.

Optics Goes Hollywood

Image quality has always been an important topic in the entertainment industry, now more than ever with home cinema sales booming and CGI becoming almost standard. New technologies are providing viewers with clearer, more realistic images, and with improved 3D display technology, more options for how to view them.

Kristina Johnson, dean of Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering (Durham, NC), and Michael Robinson, chief scientist at ColorLink Inc. (Boulder, CO), will chair the workshop “Optics in Entertainment” on Thursday 30 August.

The workshop will look at the potential future of display technologies, including making animation realistic; games for training, education, and entertainment; optical system design; digital and analog reflective, transmissive, transmission, and emissive displays; novel illumination devices; image capture; and processing storage and display. The ergonomic and human factors associated with visualizing new and innovative technologies will also be explored.

For more information, visit the special forums and events page at SPIE.org/x12771.xml.

Beth Huetter
SPIE Staff Editor 

DOI: 10.1117/2.4200707.09

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