Photonics West 2014

Tech transfer is the focus in San Francisco, 1-6 February.

01 January 2014
Karen Thomas

SPIE Photonics West, 1-6 February in San Francisco, with more than 4600 technical papers on all aspects of theoretical and applied photonics, will have an increased focus on helping applied photonics research transfer into commercial applications.

Along with well-established technical conferences in biomedical optics, optoelectronics, lasers, MOEMS-MEMS, and green photonics, Photonics West will feature an expanded industry and business conference track with free, business-focused workshops and panel sessions aimed at photonics technology transfer.

In addition to annual events such as the Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation and the SPIE Startup Challenge, industry sessions will cover US export controls, intellectual property, marketing of photonics technologies, and financing of life-science and healthcare ventures.

An “accelerator forum” aimed at photonics startups will be held as well as a keynote talk on the economic impact of photonics and a technology transfer showcase hosted by SPIE Fellow David Wick, Sandia National Labs’ licensing executive.

Photonics West will also feature two exhibitions at the Moscone Center with more than 1300 companies, 70 professional development courses, a free Job Fair, and a virtual symposium within BiOS dedicated to translational biophotonics research.

Sunny projections for solar energy

Among events in the new conference track for industry and business is a green photonics panel moderated by SPIE Fellow Stephen Eglash, executive director of the Energy and Environment Affiliates Program at Stanford University (USA), that will focus on what Eglash calls “a solar revolution.”

“The solar industry is stronger than ever,” says Eglash, who also chairs the Green Photonics virtual symposium. “Companies along the photovoltaic food chain have figured out how to make money and disruptive innovations promise a new generation of technologies.”

The energy-generation industry is on the verge of a technological transition that will see solar photovoltaics, “become the main source of new electricity generation over the 2020-2030 period,” according to panel member Martin A. Green of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics at University of New South Wales.

Green says the transition will be driven by the decreasing costs of solar energy in an environment where traditional energy source costs are escalating.

Two other panelists discussing growth opportunities and the future of the solar industry are Raffi Garabedian, CTO of First Solar (USA), and Homer Antoniadis, global technology director of DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions (USA).

Workshops and other events on commercializing optics

A panel discussion on investing in life sciences and healthcare ventures is also expected to have an upbeat message. Companies in this sector are working to address market challenges with an interdisciplinary mix of technologies and see biophotonics as a key enabling technology, says SPIE Senior Member Linda Smith, president of Ceres Technical Advisers (USA) who will moderate a panel of representatives from leading investment and venture capital firms.

“Biophotonics is fertile ground for investment and economic growth,” Smith says in the Ceres newsletter. “Public markets aside, the market for private placements in development-stage and high-growth biophotonics businesses is robust.”

The Technology-Transfer Showcase is a new addition to the Photonics West program and will focus on licensing and how the latest research can be transferred into new applications. Representatives from universities and laboratories who are currently seeking commercialization partners will be on hand for the discussion.

“I see the Technology-Transfer Showcase as an opportunity to connect creators with companies,” says moderator David Wick. “Labs and universities are hotbeds of wildly creative ideas. The trick is turning those ideas into cost-effective, reliable products and introducing them to the marketplace.”

Wick says he hopes participants will see these “incredible new technologies, recognize potential market opportunities, and start leading some of us out of the proverbial ‘Valley of Death.’”

Another business-focused workshop designed to instill essential skills for business is “Commercialization of Photonics Technology,” led by SPIE member David Krohn of Light Wave Venture Consulting (USA). Krohn is the author of the SPIE Press book, Commercialization Basics for the Photonics Industry, which covers fundraising strategies, government contracts, marketing and manufacturing basics, and the all-important employee recruitment process for anyone considering starting his/her own photonics business.

(Read more about Krohn’s ideas on photonics commercialization.)

BiOS to highlight optical coherence tomography

logo for BiOSThe BiOS symposium, chaired by SPIE Fellows R. Rox Anderson of Massachusetts General Hospital (USA) and James Fujimoto of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, includes three sessions focusing on understanding the brain through new imaging techniques. A new conference will cover optical elastography and tissue biomechanics.

Technology transfer and translational research will also be a theme at the BiOS Hot Topics sessions.

Facilitated by SPIE member Sergio Fantini of Tufts University (USA), the Hot Topics sessions will highlight advances in optical coherence tomography (OCT) and other biomedical technologies.

Eric Swanson, editor of OCT News, notes that while OCT has matured in some applications, its potential is expanding into many fields. Swanson will discuss the future of the OCT market in “Clinical Translation in OCT: Role of Research, Funding, and Entrepreneurism.”

(For more on OCT, see State of the Industry: OCT and an SPIE Newsroom video on the growth of the OCT market).

SPIE member David Boas of Massachusetts General Hospital will present, “Optical Spectroscopy and Tomography of Oxygen Delivery: From Macro to Micro and Back,” highlighting noninvasive imaging. Boas has been appointed editor of the new SPIE journal Neurophotonics. (Read more about this new journal.)

SPIE Fellow Bruce Tromberg of Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic (USA) will discuss the development of diffuse optical imaging in breast cancer treatment during his Hot Topics presentation. Tromberg also serves as chair for the new Translational Research virtual symposium. Some 200 papers submitted to BiOS that show how photonics technologies can help meet current challenges in cancer, heart disease, and neurological disease will be eligible for Translational Research best paper awards.

On Sunday, February 2, Tromberg will also lead a translational research lunchtime forum, featuring select speakers from the Translational Research virtual symposium presenting their work in evidence-based medicine.

Other BiOS speakers and their topics include:

  • SPIE member Eric Seibel, University of Washington (USA), “Scanning Fiber Endoscopy: Multimodes of Guided Intervention”
  • SPIE Fellow Lihong Wang, Washington University in St. Louis (USA), “Photoacoustic Tomography: Ultrasonically Beating Optical Diffusion and Diffraction”
  • Jelena Vuckovic, Stanford University (USA), “Single-cell Photonic Nanocavity Probes”
  • Paul Selvin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA), “New Small Quantum Dots for Neuroscience”
New laser applications and sources at LASE

logo for LASEThe LASE 2014 symposium, co-chaired by SPIE Fellows Andreas Tünnermann of Fraunhofer-IOF and Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena (Germany), and Bo Gu of Bos Photonics (USA), features the latest research on new laser sources and applications. Program tracks include Laser Source Engineering, Nonlinear Optics, Semiconductor Lasers and LEDs, Laser Micro-/Nanoengineering, and Laser Applications.

International experts on 3D printing, laser additive manufacturing (LAM), and other laser manufacturing technologies and applications will also present papers during several sessions on those topics.

Professionals involved in theory and applications of free-space laser communications, remote sensing, and supporting technologies are invited to participate in an open discussion on laser communications.

LASE plenary speakers are:

  • SPIE Fellow Koji Sugioka, RIKEN (Japan), “Femtosecond Laser 3D Micromachining and its Applications to Biochip Fabrication”
  • Photonics21 president Michael Mertin, JENOPTIK (Germany), “Photonics21 and the Perspectives from the European Photonics Industry”
  • Michel Meunier, Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal (Canada), “A New Plasmonics Enhanced Ultrafast Laser Multi-Nanoscapel”
Optoelectronics for holography, displays, and lighting

logo for OPTOOPTO 2014 topics include optical interactions, optoelectronic materials, semiconductor lasers and LEDs, solid-state lighting, photonic integration, displays and holography, nanotechnology in photonics, photonics packaging, and optical communications, along with the commercial applications of these technologies.

Technical events include a session in holography chaired by SPIE Fellow Hans I. Bjelkhagen of Glyndŵr University and Hansholo Consulting (UK). This session focuses on recent developments in new materials, color display holography, computer generated holography, and holographic optical elements.

OPTO plenary speakers are

  • SPIE member Michal Lipson, Cornell University (USA), “Pushing the Boundaries of Silicon Photonics”
  • SPIE member, Ursula Keller, ETH Zurich (Switzerland), “The Previously Unbelievable Performance of Ultrafast Thin Disk Lasers”

Symposium chairs for OPTO are SPIE Fellows David L. Andrews of University of East Anglia (UK) and Alexei L. Glebov, CEO and president of OptiGrate (USA).

Sessions on microfluidics and adaptive optics at MOEMS-MEMS

Logo for MOEMS-MEMSThe MOEMS-MEMS symposium explores how these technologies enable mass-produced miniaturized products and integrated systems. Presentations feature the latest on optical MEMS, biomedical MEMS and sensors, microfluidics, micro-optics, and adaptive optics research.

Symposium chair for MOEMS-MEMS is David Dickensheets of Montana State University (USA). Holger Becker, cofounder of microfluidic ChipShop (Germany), is co-chair. Becker will moderate a panel on “Prospects and Future of Microfluidics,” featuring discussions on the gains and setbacks made in the product development and marketing phases of microfluidics-enabled devices.

Plenary speakers for MOEMS-MEMS are:

  • SPIE member John Rogers, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA), “Bio-Integrated and Bio-Inspired Optical Microsystems”
  • Roger Howe, Stanford University (USA), “Electrostatic Nano Electromechanical Switches (NEMS) for Energy-Efficient Digital Systems”
  • Cornelia Denz, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (Germany), “Tailoring Light for Optically-Guided Nano- and Microassembly: From Bio-Hybrid Robots to Droplet Cages”

Green Photonics is a virtual symposium for sustainability

logo for SPIE Green Photonics symposiumThe Green Photonics virtual symposium will highlight 200 papers presented at Photonics West on the latest photonics and optoelectronic tools and materials to reduce power consumption, enable cleaner manufacturing, and create new energy generation for a broad range of applications.

Papers from all areas of Photonics West that feature some aspect of green photonics will be eligible for the Green Photonics Best Paper Awards.

Symposium chair is SPIE Fellow Stephen Eglash of Stanford University (USA).

Brazilian biophotonics researchers to present advances

In May 2013, SPIE and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) sponsored a biophotonics school at the Advanced School on Modern Trends of Biophotonics for Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer and Microbial Control (Brazil). For nine days, 100 students from 21 countries heard talks on spectroscopy, PDT, microscopy and imaging, microbiological control, and cancer diagnostics. From that event came the idea of bringing biophotonics research from Brazil to SPIE Photonics West.

Three biophotonics experts from Brazil will do just that at a discussion session and reception on 4 February in San Francisco.

Panel moderator Carlos H. de Brito Cruz, science director of FAPESP, will discuss biophotonics research programs offered by FAPESP, a public foundation that provides grants, funds, and programs to support research, education, and innovation in São Paulo. Its programs include support of foreign scientists working at research institutions in São Paulo, post-doctoral fellowships, young investigator awards, and visiting researcher grants.

Carlos Lenz Cesar of Universidade Estadual de Campinas will discuss the development of a multimodal photonic microscopy platform and present examples of how this platform is used to observe single cell processes.

Helena B. Nader of Universidade Federal de São Paulo will highlight research on the drug Heparin and its derivatives in antithrombotic therapy.

SPIE events at Photonics West for career help

Photonics West also offers networking opportunities and student events throughout the week.

The SPIE Startup Challenge invites new entrepreneurs to pitch their light-based technology product to a team of business development experts and venture capitalists. Three winners will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to attend a weeklong entrepreneur workshop where they can refine their winning ideas.

JENOPTIK is founding sponsor of the SPIE Startup Challenge. Additional support comes from Edmund Optics, Trumpf, Open Photonics, and IP law company Knobbe Martens.

Sonia-Garcia-Blanco of Universiteit Twente (Netherlands) will serve as moderator for the SPIE Women in Optics panel discussion, "Transitions: Graduating from Academia to Industry."

Open to all attendees, this discussion and reception on Tuesday, 3 February, features six recent university graduates who now work in the optics and photonics industry.

A panel discussion, “Getting Hired in 2014 and Beyond,” offers tips on seeking employment at tech-based companies and non-academic jobs.

Student events include Lunch with the Experts, a casual meal with optics and photonics experts sharing their career experiences; a student chapter meeting; and a “No Ties” student social.

Leaders from regional optics and photonics clusters are invited to a cluster reception that will include a keynote presentation on the economic impact of photonics.

Connecting @PhotonicsWest in San Francisco

Follow events at SPIE Photonics West on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media networks.

Tweet with us about your favorite presentations and events.

Use the hashtag #PhotonicsWest, and follow @PhotonicsWest and @SPIETweets.

Follow daily news updates at and through the official “Photonics West Show Daily,” distributed on site Tuesday through Thursday.

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Create your daily schedule of conferences, courses, and special events with the SPIE conference app for mobile devices at

Two exhibitions in Moscone Center

The SPIE BiOS Expo, 1-2 February, features the latest technologies from 210 suppliers in the biomedical optics and photonics industries.

The SPIE Photonics West exhibition, 4-6 February, will include 1200 companies showing components, systems, lasers, and applications for optics, lasers, and photonics manufacturing.

The Moscone Center during SPIE Photonics West will be filled with displays of optical detectors, fibers and materials, cameras and displays, and other innovations.

Both exhibitions are free.

SPIE member-only events during Photonics West

SPIE membership events at Photonics West will include a members-only dessert reception Tuesday, 4 February, at the ROE restaurant in San Francisco and a presentation on silicon photonics at the SPIE Fellows lunch on Monday, 3 February.

Ashok Krishnamoorthy, chief technologist for photonics at Oracle, is the featured speaker at the SPIE Fellows luncheon. Krishnamoorthy is a member of the Optical Interconnects conference program committee at OPTO, part of SPIE Photonics West.

SPIE will host an informal buffet breakfast for SPIE Senior Members on Tuesday, 4 February.

SPIE members are requested to bring their conference badge, receipt, invitation, or other evidence of SPIE membership to the member reception. Fellows and Senior Members should RSVP to for their events and to get times and locations.

Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation announced 5 February

The Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation recognize the most innovative technologies in the optics and photonics industry that break conventional ideas, solve problems, and improve life through photonics.

Awards for innovative photonics products, processes, devices, systems, instruments, and technologies that are newly available on the open market will be made 5 February during SPIE Photonics West.

Finalists in nine categories were announced in November. See the list of Prism finalists.

More information about SPIE Photonics West in the October 2013 issue of SPIE Professional.

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