Photonics West 2005: Showcasing leading-edge technology

This year�s conference will offer attendees a close-up view of the best innovations in optoelectronics, biomedical optics, laser applications, and micro- and nanofabrication.

Dec 1st, 2004
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This year’s conference will offer attendees a close-up view of the best innovations in optoelectronics, biomedical optics, laser applications, and micro- and nanofabrication.

Gail Overton

hotonics West 2005 is expected to once again attract large numbers of industry insiders and newcomers who will meet with their peers, learn about the newest innovations, and see the latest product offerings from the photonics industry. The conference, sponsored by SPIE, will be held Jan. 22-27 in San Jose, CA.

This year’s conference will feature four international symposia offering technical paper presentations on state-of-the-art developments in integrated optoelectronic devices (OPTO 2005), biomedical optics (BiOS 2005), lasers and applications in science and technology (LASE 2005), and micro- and nanofabrication (MOEMS-MEMS 2005). An indication of the continuing flow of technological advances in the photonics industry, approximately 2250 papers will be presented, an increase of more than 15% (300 additional papers) over the 2004 conference.

In conjunction with the conference and short-course portion of Photonics West 2005, the exhibit floor will be open Jan. 25-27, with a biomedical optics weekend exhibition Jan. 22 and 23. In addition, the annual Marketplace Seminar presented by Laser Focus World and Strategies Unlimited (Mountain View, CA) will be held Jan. 24 (see “China, nanophotonics, and more,” p. 123).

OPTO 2005.

Advances in integrated optoelectronic devices are the subject of OPTO 2005, with papers presented in optoelectronic materials and devices, photonic integration, nanotechnologies in photonics, advanced optoelectronic applications, semiconductor lasers and LEDs, and displays and holography.

In the program on optoelectronic materials and devices, conference chair Marek Osinski from the Center of High Technology Materials at the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM) draws attention to conference 5722, Physics and Simulation of Optoelectronic Devices XIII, which will include a minisymposium on photonics with single-quantum-dot devices.

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FIGURE 1. A quantum-dot IR detector allows absorption of normal-incidence light, a result of three-dimensional confinement in quantum dots. A group of researchers from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) will present information on the first indium phosphide-based quantum-dot IR detector during the Quantum Sensing and Nanophotonic Devices II conference. An atomic-force microscope (AFM) scan can reveals the structures of a group of InAs (indium arsenide) quantum dots in a 1 × 1-µm area grown in an InP (indium phosphide) substrate (left). The cylindrical structure of an individual quantum dot in the field is well defined (right).

The program on nanotechnologies in photonics includes Quantum Sensing and Nanophotonic Devices II (see Fig. 1) and Photonic Crystal Materials and Devices III. The former conference will offer papers on subjects ranging from advances in quantum-cascade laser performance at room temperature to current developments in deep-UV optoelectronic devices, important in chemical detection, water purification, missile detection, and UV astronomy. Conference chair Manijeh Razeghi of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) notes that experts from all over the world will discuss carbon nanotubes and nanopillars. In addition, the conference will focus on the new development of quantum-dot focal-plane arrays. The latter conference will include a special review session on the current status and future of photonic crystals that will feature talks by several scientists, including Axel Scherer from the California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA) and John Joannopoulos of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge, MA).

Conference 5736, Nanomanipulation With Light, within the program on advanced optoelectronic applications will highlight twisted beam interactions such as optical vortices, an unusual phenomenon that may enable a new form of free-space communication.

The Practical Holography XIX: Materials and Applications conference in the displays and holography program will bring a full afternoon of papers on artistic applications as well as several key papers about holography in imaging, communication, and data storage, including Holographic video display using digital micromirrors by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas, TX), Planar lithographic holography as an enabler of integrated photonics by LightSmyth Technologies (Eugene, OR), and Optimizing optical storage densities in volume holographic recording by Inphase Technologies (Longmont, CO).

BiOS 2005

Papers in BiOS 2005 will highlight the latest advances in the rapidly expanding biomedical optics field, with major topics to include photonic therapeutics and diagnostics, clinical technologies and systems, tissue optics, laser-tissue interaction and tissue engineering, biomedical spectroscopy, microscopy, and imaging, and nano/biophotonics.

Highlights from the BiOS sessions will include several papers in conference 5688A, Ophthalmic Technologies XV. A discussion of three-dimensional retinal imaging with ultra-high-resolution spectral-domain optical-coherence tomography by Vivek Srinivasan and his team at MIT is one example; others are Birefringence of healthy in vivo primate RNFL with high-sensitivity PS-OCT from Nathaniel Kemp and his group at the University of Texas (Austin, TX), and Characterization for vision science applications of a bimorph deformable mirror using phase-shifting interferometry by Sophie Laut and a team at the University of California at Davis (Davis, CA). Each of these papers will bring into focus the expanding use of photonics to solve complex probwlems surrounding medical diagnostics and treatment.

FIGURE 2. In the BiOS 2005 program on nano- and biophotonics, Darryl Bornhop and his team will discuss novel molecular imaging agents used for enhanced disease detection in the body. For example, fluorescence from Eu3+-PK 11195 can highlight a tumor in the brain of a rat.
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Additional papers at BiOS 2005 will include a discussion of novel molecular-imaging agents for enhanced disease detection in vivo (see Fig. 2) by Darryl Bornhop and his group at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN), and refractive-index changes during germination of bacillus subtilis spores by Alvin Katz and a team at the City College of New York (CUNY; New York, NY). These papers belong to the programs on nano/biophotonics and clinical technologies and systems, and are just a sampling of the current research emphasis on in vivo characterization of tissue via optical methods, again in the pursuit of disease detection and prevention.

LASE 2005

The newest laser technologies and their applications in science and technology will be presented within the LASE 2005 symposia, with topics like laser source engineering, nonlinear optics, semiconductor lasers and LEDs, laser communications and propagation, and laser micro- and nanoengineering and applications. While noting that selecting a few “hot topics” in LASE was difficult, conference chair Jan Dubowski of the University of Sherbrooke (Quebec, Canada) highlighted six papers in three different program areas.

Dubowski calls attention to four papers that focus on laser micro- and nano-engineering and applications. In Synthesis and Photonics of Nanoscale Materials, Frank Träger of the University of Kassel (Kassel, Germany) will discuss self-assembly of tailor-made molecules. In the Laser-Based Micro-Packaging II conference, Xinbing Liu of Panasonic Boston Laboratory (Cambridge, MA) will present Industrial applications of ultrahigh-precision short-pulse laser processing , which highlights low-cost manufacturing of inkjet nozzles with a picosecond laser and a high-accuracy beam scanner. Within the same program, a paper by Corey Dunsky of Coherent (Santa Clara, CA) will review the numerous applications for lasers in materials processing for microelectronics manufacturing, with emphasis on flat-panel displays. Another paper, Optics at critical intensity: applications to nanoscale fabrication by researchers at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI), will explore the interactions of tightly focused femtosecond laser pulses with glass in the presence of fluids and its application to 3-D nanomachining.

Requirements for long-life microchannel coolers for direct diode-laser systems, can be found in the High-Power Diode Laser Technology and Applications conference in the semiconductor lasers and LEDs program. Here, John Haake of Nuvonyx (Bridgeton, MO) will discuss the design of a water system for use with a microchannel cooled laser, important in ensuring reliability of high-power direct-diode lasers as alternative heat sources for material processing.

FIGURE 3. David Payne of the University of Southampton will present a paper on a helical fiber laser that can be created through upconversion fluorescence from a fiber laser with a large-diameter helical core. The helical geometry enables the use of large cores that are still single mode, since higher-order modes are radiated away similar to mode filtering via fiber bend loss.
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The program on laser source engineering and the Fiber Lasers II: Technology, Systems, and Applications conference will include New fiber laser approaches enable arbitrary power scaling, in which David Payne of the University of Southampton (Southampton, England) will explore the possibilities of spectral and coherent beam combination to nearly arbitrary powers by using the wide bandwidth and excellent coherence properties of different types of fiber sources (see Fig. 3).


This symposium will feature the latest developments in micro- and nanofabrication techniques including testing and reliability, micromachining for micro-optics and nano-optics, and MOEMS display and imaging systems.

Of special note in conference 5720, Micromachining Technology for Micro-optics and Nano-optics, is Advanced laser microstructuring of super-large-area optical films by K. Boehlen and I. Stassen of Exitech (Oxford, England).

Conference 5721, MOEMS Display and Imaging Systems, will feature an invited paper from researchers at Microvision (Bothell, WA) on a high-torque MEMS actuation method for scanning laser displays. The method of MEMS actuation described has been used to fabricate improved commercial products in which laser beams are scanned onto the inside of a car’s windshield to be reflected into the driver’s eyes (head-up displays) or scanned directly onto the viewer’s retina (head-worn displays).

Short courses and special events

In addition to the regular company exhibitions and short courses that parallel the conference sessions, the exhibit hall will host more than 30 product demonstrations and activities such as “Affordable Scalable Ti:Sapphire Laser Systems,” “Miniaturized, Modular Interferometer Systems,” and “Precision Gobs.” These are product-oriented demonstrations held at specific times throughout the conference exhibition hours.

A healthy industry

Since the first Photonics West conference in 1992, which came on the heels of a recession, and again in 2002 after the telecommunications “bubble” burst, the photonics industry has waxed and waned with the health of the U.S. and international economies.

One signal of continuing health for the photonics industry is the 402 job listings as of early November SPIE’s career website,, a 68% increase over the same time last year. Overall, the monthly average for job listings at this site was 31 in 2003 and is 45 in 2004. “We have surpassed quarterly expectations all year, and believe it’s in part due to a rebound in the photonics industry,” says Allison Romanyshyn, manager of SPIE career services. “We are planning for a busy career fair at Photonics West 2005.”

With a projected increase in attendance of nearly 8% and an increase of more than 14% in the anticipated number of exhibitors (figures for 2004 were 14,600 attendees and 800 exhibitors), Photonics West 2005 should once again fulfill its expectation as the largest laser, optoelectronic, and imaging event in North America.

China, nanophotonics, and more

The emerging industrial-laser market in China, and “real-world” opportunities in nanophotonics will be two of the highlights at the 15th annual Marketplace Seminar presented by Laser Focus World and Strategies Unlimited (Mountain View, CA) Jan. 24, 2005, at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose during Photonics West 2005. The seminar provides business leaders, investors, and technology analysts with the only applications-oriented review of worldwide laser markets, coupled with discussions of key business and technology trends.

Reflecting the increasingly global nature of the laser industry, David Belforte, editor-in-chief of Industrial Laser Solutions, will outline growing opportunities for industrial lasers in China, while Tom Hausken of Strategies Unlimited will discuss business opportunities in nanophotonics.

Other presentations during the one-day event-which is sponsored exclusively by Newport-include the latest findings of the annual Laser Focus World global market survey; a look at current and emerging trends in medical-laser technologies; a review of low-power visible-laser technologies; an assessment of market sizes and photonics technology trends in the graphic-arts arena; a discussion of lasers in biophotonics; and a look at next-generation lithography tools.

The keynote address, “Economic Outlook for 2005,” will be given by Samuel Kahan, senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Detroit Branch.

For more information or to register, visit or contact the Registration Coordinator at (603) 891-9267 or by e-mail at

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