SPIE Photonics West 2015

3D printing reaches critical mass at Photonics West.

01 October 2014
Karen Thomas

Rapidly evolving applications of 3D printing will be the focus of a new virtual symposium at SPIE Photonics West 2015, Applications of 3D Printing.

The new 3D printing track will feature papers and presentations from throughout Photonics West on innovative uses for this multidimensional and multidisciplinary technology that began with the advent and patenting of stereolithography in 1986 and has seen explosive commercial and technological growth in the last few years.

SPIE Photonics West, with more than 4600 technical presentations on lasers, biomedical optics, green photonics, optoelectronics, MOEMS-MEMS and all aspects of photonics, will be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco 7-12 February 2015.

The flagship event for the global photonics industry, SPIE Photonics West will include three virtual symposia; two exhibitions with more than 1200 photonics businesses; a two-day job fair; the Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation; the SPIE Startup Challenge; and numerous special events and courses for SPIE members, students, and industry representatives.

As a founding sponsor of the International Year of Light, SPIE is also planning activities in San Francisco and free resources to promote the UN-declared initiative.

logo for SPIE 3D PrintingTopic areas for the 3D Printing symposium include conformal photonics/electronics, metamaterials fabrication, and process-monitoring techniques.

“The initial areas where 3D additive manufacturing can make an impact are medicine, knowledge-based business, and optical materials,” says Henry Helvajian, senior scientist in the Micro/Nano Technology Department at the Aerospace Corp. (USA), chair of the 3D Printing symposium.

Advances in 3D printing could allow surgeons to manufacture tools custom fitted to their hands or create personalized medical implants for patients. Optical materials that are locally customized or have graded properties could ultimately lead to a “materials by design” approach to manufacturing.

Helvajian, who also chairs a laser 3D manufacturing conference as part of LASE, notes that for these ideas to be successful, process-monitoring equipment must be developed, “which may require unusual photonic devices that acquire the necessary data but also have the property of self-calibration while operating in the harsh 3D manufacturing environment.”

photo of Reinhart PopraweIn a session at SPIE Photonics Europe 2014 in Brussels, SPIE Fellow Reinhart Poprawe, managing director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (Germany) gave examples of current applications for additive manufacturing.

Poprawe explained how laser additive manufacturing and related methods convert bits to photons to atoms in ways that reduce cost and waste and enable new complex forms and structures.

“Advancements in additive manufacturing for replacement bone structures, such as cheek bones that do not endure high loads, can now be manufactured with such biocompatibility that the human body can grow into and throughout the implant, which itself gradually dissolves into inert components leaving behind the proper structure,” Poprawe said. (See an SPIE Newsroom video of Poprawe discussing the technology.)

The program committee for SPIE Applications of 3D Printing will award best paper prizes in San Francisco.


logo for SPIE BiOSConferences at BiOS, the world’s largest international biomedical optics symposium, will cover optical coherence tomography, neurophotonics, optogenetics, laser-tissue interaction, and related biophotonics and biomedical optics topics.

SPIE Fellow Gabriel PopescuSPIE Fellow Gabriel Popescu of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA) notes that the field is facing significant challenges and unique opportunities by pushing biophotonics investigation toward the molecular scale. As part of BiOS’ nanotechnology program, Popescu will give a plenary talk on bridging molecular and cellular biology with optics. He will discuss various principles dedicated to this goal and recent advances in phase-sensitive measurements.

The biennial conference on optical tomography and spectroscopy of tissue returns in 2015, chaired by SPIE Fellow Bruce Tromberg of the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic at University of California, Irvine (USA), Arjun Yodh of University of Pennsylvania (USA), and Eva M. Sevick-Muraca of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (USA). New conferences include:

  • Diagnosis and Treatment of Diseases in the Breast and Reproductive System
  • Optics and Biophotonics in Low-Resource Settings
  • Molecular-Guided Surgery
  • Quantitative Phase Imaging

The Hot Topics session scheduled for Saturday, 7 February, will include talks by leading experts in areas such as nanoscale cytology, nonlinear microscopy, and simultaneous imaging of neural activity in 3D.

Hot Topics speakers confirmed as of 30 September are Paola Taroni (Italy) and Brett Bouma, Vadim Backman, Rafael Yuste, David Roberts, and Peter So (USA).

BiOS chairs are SPIE Fellows James Fujimoto of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) and R. Rox Anderson, director of the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (USA).


logo for SPIE Translational ResearchSPIE Translational Research returns for its second year as a virtual symposium, highlighting papers from BiOS that showcase the latest photonics technologies, tools, and techniques with high potential to impact healthcare. The symposium is designed to facilitate the translation of biophotonics research into clinical practice to meet challenges in global healthcare.

Presentations will demonstrate outcomes-based optical and light-based solutions for the healthcare industry.

Tromberg is symposium chair.


logo for SPIE LASETopics to be covered at LASE 2015 include laser source engineering, nonlinear optics, semiconductor lasers and LEDs, laser manufacturing, laser micro-/nanoengineering, and 3D fabrication. A new conference will look at components and packaging for laser systems.

LASE 2015 plenary speakers and their topics are:

  • Xiaoyan Zeng, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China): Laser 3D printing of metallic components and industrial applications
  • Donald Cornwell, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (United States): NASA’s optical communications program
  • Jens Limpert, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena (Germany): Coherent combination of ultrafast laser pulses and joule-class high-repetition-rate femtosecond lasers

Symposium chairs for LASE are SPIE Fellow Yongfeng Lu of University of Nebraska Lincoln (USA) and Guido Hennig of Daetwyler Graphics (Switzerland). SPIE Fellows Andreas Tünnermann of Fraunhofer-IOF (Germany) and Friedrich-Schiller University (Germany), and Bo Gu of Bos Photonics (USA) are LASE symposium co-chairs.


logo for SPIE OPTOA MOEMS-MEMS in Photonics track has been added to OPTO and will include conferences in digital micromirror-device-based systems, advanced fabrication technologies, microfluidics, and adaptive optics.

OPTO addresses the latest developments and advances in a broad range of optoelectronic devices, technologies, and their integration for industrial applications. Presentations will cover the latest research in silicon photonics, photonic crystals, optoelectronics, semiconductor lasers, quantum dots, and nanophotonics.

Other topics for OPTO 2015 include optoelectronic materials, photonic integration, displays, holography, advanced quantum and optoelectronic applications, LEDs, and optical communication devices and systems.

Plenary speakers scheduled for OPTO will be:

  • SPIE Member Christoph Lienau of Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg (Germany)
  • Harry Atwater of California Institute of Technology (USA)
  • Yurii A. Vlasov of the TJ Watson Research Center at IBM (USA)

Chairing the OPTO symposium are SPIE Fellows David L. Andrews of University of East Anglia Norwich (UK) and Alexei L. Glebov of OptiGrate Corp. (USA). Co-chairs are SPIE Fellow Shibin Jiang of AdValue Photonics (USA) and Jean Emmanuel Broquin of IMEP-LAHC (France).


Logo for SPIE Green PhotonicsThe Green Photonics virtual symposium highlights the latest photonics and optoelectronic tools and materials that will reduce power consumption, enable cleaner manufacturing, and create new energy generation for a broad range of applications.

Papers from all areas of SPIE Photonics West featuring technologies that impact energy sources, energy efficiencies, sustainability, conservation, and other “green” focused components will be eligible for the Green Photonics Best Paper Awards.

“These papers provide new information to help solve existing problems using photonics,” says SPIE Fellow Stephen Eglash of Stanford University (USA), founder and chair of the symposium. “Photonics innovations enable improved sustainable products and services worldwide.”

Program tracks for this interdisciplinary symposium include solid-state lighting and displays; laser-assisted manufacturing; micro/nano-fabrication; renewable energy generation such as with fusion and photovoltaics; and communications.


Stereolithography (SLA), an additive manufacturing technology, was patented by Chuck Hull (3D Systems) in 1986 and further developed by Doug Neckers.

SLA greatly reduces the design and engineering time needed to create a concept design or functional 3D prototype. The story behind Hull and Neckers’ work was featured in the January 2013 edition of SPIE Professional

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