SPIE will celebrate the International Year of Astronomy, marking the 400th anniversary of Galileo's telescope, at this year's SPIE Optics+Photonics, 2-6 August in San Diego, CA.
Events honoring the technology that has made so many discoveries possible will be encompassed within the Optical Engineering+Applications symposium, one of three symposia at the annual event focusing on emerging technologies and applications in nanophotonics, solar energy, and optical design.
Five plenary talks on the space sciences and a star-gazing party on Sunday, 2 August are among several activities at SPIE Optics+Photonics that will call attention to advances made with telescopes and other astronomical instrumentation.
"Understanding the past allows us to better appreciate the technology of today and tomorrow," says John Greivenkamp of the University of Arizona who will curate a display of telescopes, monoculars, opera glasses, and binoculars from the early 1700s through 1900.
Leading experts at the astronomy plenary sessions will cover everything from the small to the large, with talks on Adaptive Optics and Telescopes by Robert K. Tyson of University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Detection and Imaging of Exoplanets presented by Stuart Shaklan of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.
The conference-wide plenaries also focus on astronomy. Jerry Nelson from University of California, Santa Cruz, will give his talk on Four Hundred Years Through the Eye of the Telescope, and Tracey Delaney of the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research will speak on Peering into the Explosion: Using Stellar Archaeology to Unlock the Mysteries of Supernovae.
The welcome reception for all attendees will include an evening of star gazing. Volunteers will set up five telescopes aimed at different celestial objects, and there will be a live data feed from Australian observatories.
During the week, a collection of historical astronomy photos will also be on display. Ryan M. Hannahoe of Montana State University, curator of the collection, will offer 30-minute workshops on "How to Create Your Own Astro-Photos."
The Solar Energy+Technology symposium is the place for burgeoning new technologies and for hearing about opportunities in the solar energy industry. Many photovoltaic companies say they are within reach of achieving grid parity on solar energy, without subsidies, by mid-2010. David Eaglesham, First Solar LLC, will present Thin Film PV: The Pathway to Grid Parity while David S. Ginley, National Renewable Energy Lab, will talk about Progress in Organic Photovoltaics toward Low Cost PV at a plenary session on Monday.
MERCK solar panels (Courtesy PR Newswire Photo Service)
Nobel laureate Alan J. Heeger, University of California, Santa Barbara, will discuss his work with plastic solar cells in his plenary talk 'Plastic' Solar cells: Self-Assembly of Bulk Heterojunction Nano-Materials by Spontaneous Phase Separation.
A panel discussion on commercialization of next-generation solar technologies will take place at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday 4 August. International experts from academia and industry will debate what's next for the industry and how it will affect research and development. Moderators for the event will be Loucas Tsakalakos, GE Global Research, and Sean E. Shaheen, University of Denver.
Several winners of the 2008 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation will be on hand at the Prism Innovations Product Lab in the Exhibition Hall to show off their products and technologies. Company representatives will discuss the research behind innovations such as Daylight Solutions' broadly tunable, CW, mode-hop free laser system and Solyndra's solar photovoltaic systems.
Half-day and full-day short courses offered in the solar energy track feature everything from Thin Film Optical Coatings to Non-Imaging Optics to Radiometry Revealed.
A presentation on the Solar Cooker Project will be on 3 August.
The Women in Optics presentation and reception on Monday will be an opportunity to hear about the Solar Cooker Project as well as connect with peers. This year's speaker is Tzivia Schwartz-Getzug, executive director of Jewish World Watch, which is the main sponsor of the Solar Cooker Project at refugee camps in Chad for people who have been displaced by warfare in Darfur. Read more about how these simple devices are empowering and protecting women in the refugee camps.
As is common at SPIE Optics+Photonics, there will be a lot of crossover in the conferences. Zakya Kafafi, director of materials research at the National Science Foundation and chair of Photonics Devices+Applications, says there has been much progress with polymers combined with organic materials, particularly in plastic solar cells. "Rather than using a silicon chip, you can use a plastic substrate to print your electronic circuit," she says.
The symposium on NanoScience+Engineering showcases big applications of this small science.
Organized by long-time chairs David L. Andrews, University of East Anglia (UK), and James G. Grote, Air Force Research Lab (USA), this symposium is one of the few places to learn about bio-inspired technologies and nanophotonics for space environments within the same event.
"Optical devices and components based on plasmonics are rapidly moving closer to wide technological applications," Andrews says. "There is a huge research effort in this area right now, and the nano symposium includes two very tightly packed conferences on plasmonic topics."
At the Photonics Devices+Applications symposium, attendees and presenters will discuss what's new in LEDs, organic photovoltaics, organic field-effect transistors, organic LEDs, liquid crystals, and IR detectors.
Plenaries cover everything from OLEDs to metamaterials to quantum dots, with High Performance OLEDs for General Lighting, by Junji Kido, Yamagata University (Japan); Photonic Metamaterials: Optics Starts Walking on Two Feet by Martin Wegener, Institut für Angewandte Physik (Germany); and Talking Between Quantum Dots and a Quantum Well by Gregory J. Salamo, University of Arkansas (USA).
Kido has achieved nearly 100% internal quantum efficiency with LEDs. "Big progress has been made," says Zakya Kafafi, symposium chair, "and device lifetime has significantly improved, using a multiphoton structure approach."
Peer to Peer Networking
Career and networking opportunities abound at SPIE Optics+Photonics. The event is a cost-effective opportunity to connect with more than 4500 scientists, researchers, and exhibiting companies. Fifty-five courses and workshops, more than 3100 papers, and 26 plenaries will all be happening in one place.
Up to 200 exhibitors are expected to attend, including CVI Melles Griot, Edmund Optics, FLIR Systems, Inc., KLA-Tencor, Newport Corp., Optical Research Associates, and SCHOTT North America, Inc.
Learn about the corporate hiring process directly from professionals in the optics and photonics sector at the panel discussion, Getting Hired in 2009 and Beyond, from 2:30 to 3:30 pm Tuesday, 4 August. Professionals in the optics and photonics sector will provide key knowledge about the corporate hiring process.
There are many other opportunities for students to meet and network with potential employers or peers in their field. Among them:
• Professional Skills Workshop, 9 am to 12:30 pm, Sunday. Open to both students and early career professionals, sessions will include a science education workshop and a luncheon with SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs as the keynote speaker.
• Student Lunch with the Experts, 12:30 to 1:30 pm, Monday. Experts share their experience and wisdom on optics and photonics careers at this popular event at which Newport Spectra-Physics travel grant winners will be acknowledged. Registration at the SPIE Marketplace ends at 10 am Monday.
David L. Andrews of University of East Anglia (UK), the NanoScience+Engineering symposium chair, calls SPIE Optics+Photonics "by far the most stimulating and profitable symposium in my calendar."
"Ensure attendance at the main social events and poster sessions, which almost invariably lead to new contacts and unexpected discussions," he says.
More information: spie.org/op
For more information about the collection of historic telescopes at University of Arizona: www.optics.arizona.edu/antiques/.
Charles M. Vest, president of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and President Emeritus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the speaker for the awards banquet and 2009 recipient of the Chandra S. Vikram Award in Optical Metrology (Read more about 2009 Award winners). Vest's talk is titled, "Why Science and Engineering Matter in the 21st Century." The banquet is at 7:30 pm, 5 August. Banquet tickets may be ordered on the registration form or purchased on site.
Richard Hoover will receive the 2009 Gold Medal of the Society at the banquet for his work in X-ray and EUV optics. See the article about Hoover's career.
Call For Entries
The 2009 award competition will recognize new photonics products and processes that generate revenue, break with conventional ideas, and solve real life problems. Winners will be announced in January 2010 at SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco.
The Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation, sponsored by SPIE and Laurin Publishing, is an international competition for companies that brought a laser device, new light source, green/sustainable, biophotonic, or other photonics innovation to market between September 2008 and August 2009.
The deadline for applying for the second annual Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation is 22 September.
2008 Prism Award Winners
• Aragon Photonics Labs (Analytical, Test, and Measurement)
• Coherent (Lasers, tie)
• Daylight Solutions (Lasers, tie)
• JPK Instruments AG (Life Sciences)
• Luxtera (Photonics Systems and overall Best in Show)
• NoblePeak Vision (Detectors, Sensing, and Imaging)
• Princetel (Photonics Processes)
• Sensor Electronic Technology, Inc. (Other Light Sources)
• Solyndra (Sustainable/Green Technology)
• Tessera Technologies (Optics)
Enter your product!
Beth Kelley is an SPIE editor.