Optics & Photonics exceeds expectations

SAN DIEGO, CA-This year’s Optics & Photonics conference, held August 13-17, featured more plenary sessions than is typically customary for photonics conferences: 19 individual plenary sessions, including 4 in the “Symposium-Wide” category on Sunday, 1 in “Solid-State Lighting” and 6 in “Solar Energy” on Monday, and 6 in “Organic and Nanophotonics” and 2 in the “Future of Imaging” plenary sessions on Tuesday.

SAN DIEGO, CA-This year’s Optics & Photonics conference, held August 13-17, featured more plenary sessions than is typically customary for photonics conferences: 19 individual plenary sessions, including 4 in the “Symposium-Wide” category on Sunday, 1 in “Solid-State Lighting” and 6 in “Solar Energy” on Monday, and 6 in “Organic and Nanophotonics” and 2 in the “Future of Imaging” plenary sessions on Tuesday.

Optics & Photonics meeting manager for The International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE; Bellingham, WA), Marilyn Gorsuch, said, “SPIE wanted to focus on the cross-disciplinary matrix of this meeting, by providing high-level talks for the benefit of all attendees.”

Though attendance at last year’s 50th anniversary celebration of SPIE was higher, Optics & Photonics 2006 “exceeded expectations and surpassed the 2004 attendance total,” said Stacey Crockett, media relations for SPIE. Attendance for the 2006 event was around 4400 individuals. Despite some delays and cancellations due to the newly imposed airline restrictions over a European terror plot, attendees were offered 2600 technical presentations, 70 courses, and the opportunity to visit with a record number of 270 exhibitors.

The Solar Energy plenary sessions were particularly well attended-no surprise considering the recent uptick in solar-energy industry news and venture-capital funding events fueled by the worldwide energy crisis (see www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/257242). In his presentation on “The Promise of Concentrator Photovoltaics Using High-Efficiency Multijunction Solar Cells,” Raed Sherif, director of the Terrestrial Photovoltaic Product Line at Spectrolab (Sylmar), said that average growth rates for the photovoltaic industry over the past 10 years have exceeded 30%. Sherif pointed out that industry investment should help companies achieve 40% photovoltaic efficiency goals (conversion efficiencies are now in the 30% range).

The Organic and Nanophotonics plenary sessions highlighted another emerging growth industry, with 6 sessions on topics including photonic integration, plasmonic nanostructures, organic thin film electronics, nanoscience in the Navy and DoD, organic LEDs, and organic solar cells. Zhenan Bao, associate professor of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University (Stanford, CA), discussed how Stanford and other research groups are developing patterning techniques to grow high-performance single crystals that can be used in organic thin-film electronic applications. Bao said that of the 350 organic semiconductors known, only a few are good candidates for thin-film transistors, making crystal growth techniques of prime importance for their successful implementation.

Technical Conference tracks included Optics and Optomechanics, Metrology, Detectors and Imaging Devices, Optical Instrumentation, Nanophotonics, Organic Materials, Illumination Engineering, and last but not least, Solar Energy.

Record number of exhibits

In addition to the record 270 vendor exhibits, the exhibit floor hosted the Exhibit Hall Forum this year. Forum events included the “Innovation Forum: Opportunities in Optics Instrumentation, Detectors, and Imaging from Eurasia,” in which six leading entrepreneurs from Armenia, Russia and Ukraine discussed developments in silicon optical fibers, and demonstrated an x-ray imaging system, a medical device to measure oxygen, a holographic measuring device, and a laser-based biological microparticle analyzer. And Newport (Irvine, CA) announced the recipients of their Newport Spectra-Physics Research Excellence Travel Awards, a program that provides financial support for university students to attend the two largest SPIE meetings (Photonics West and Optics & Photonics) and present their research.

Hawaiian photonics companies had an opportunity to gain increased exposure at the exhibits this year through the special Hawaii Pavilion on the show floor.

“The 2006 SPIE Exhibition provided an excellent opportunity to market Hawaii’s diverse resources and capabilities in astronomy and adaptive optics, biophotonics, hyperspectral imaging, laser research, remote sensing, molecular imaging and spectroscopy, optical communications, and space surveillance,” said Jim Crisafulli, research & development coordinator for the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism for the State of Hawaii. “University of Hawaii and local business representatives also enjoyed multiple opportunities to network with optics professionals from around the world to discuss Hawaii’s strategic scientific and technological assets and explore possibilities for collaborative research and business development.”

New product announcements included the addition of fluorescence modeling capability in the TracePro Expert software from Lambda Research Corporation (Littleton, MA), and the Buccaneer erbium-doped amplified femtosecond fiber laser and Trestles fourth-harmonic generator from Del Mar Photonics (San Diego, CA).

-Gail Overton

More in Home