A prize for metamaterials

Despite intense competition from World Cup soccer, business on the exhibit floor appeared brisk during most of June’s Optatec show in Frankfurt, Germany.

Despite intense competition from World Cup soccer, business on the exhibit floor appeared brisk during most of June’s Optatec show in Frankfurt, Germany. Organizers reported gains both in the number of firms represented at the event and in the total floor space sold. A biannual event that has grown steadily since 1992, Optatec has evolved its exhibitor base from almost exclusively German to the point this year where the split between German and non-German exhibitors was roughly equal.

The opening international press conference gave Zeiss an excellent opportunity to announce the winners of its ninth Carl Zeiss Research Award. Noting that R&D is the basis for the success of the optics industry and of the Carl Zeiss companies, company director Michael Kasche congratulated winners Kurt Busch and Martin Wegener (both scientists from the University of Karlsruhe) for their fundamental contributions to the development of 3-D photonic crystals and optical metamaterials (see p. 61).

Novel materials with unique and sometimes extraordinary characteristics have been the foundation of many photonics advances. The potential of photonic metamaterials was underscored by contributing editor Jeff Hecht in last month’s Photonic Frontiers feature (see www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/259931). And metamaterials were also the basis for a new OSA Topical Meeting in June-a report on “Meta 2006” can be found in this month’s Optoelectronics World News (see p. 30).

Also playing a growing role in photonics are organic materials. Perhaps best known are organic LEDs (OLEDs) and flexible display technologies. But significant progress has also been made in the development of other organic optics. In one example, a new organic polymer exhibits an electro-optic coefficient almost seven times greater than that of the highest-performance conventional organic materials (see p. 33). And other materials exhibit exceptional two-photon and third-harmonic-generation properties. These novel materials will likely find use in many applications, including optical modulators, switches, signal-processing elements, frequency conversion, and optical-correlation devices (see p. 85).

Stephen G. Anderson
Associate Publisher/Editor in Chief
stevega@pennwell.com

More in Optics