The limitations of time

Photonics West lived up to expectations for innovation, diversity, and enthusiasm.

Feb 1st, 2012
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Photonics West lived up to expectations for innovation, diversity, and enthusiasm. Held in San Francisco in late January (next year from February 2–7), the event attracted more than 20,000 attendees. Coverage of the technical sessions, events, and new products can be found in next month’s issue and online now ( in the form of articles, blogs, and videos.

Spectroscopy was a tool referenced in all five Photonics West symposia—BiOS, LASE, OPTO, MOEM-MEMS, and Green Photonics—and it’s a tool found as well in many articles this issue. For example, in her feature on photonics in forensics (see page 54), senior editor Gail Overton describes how Raman spectroscopy can definitively analyze diluted bodily fluids without destroying the samples or requiring hazardous chemicals.

For more examples, see the article by contributing editor Jeff Hecht on how improved high-harmonic-generation techniques have extended frequency-comb spectroscopy into the extreme UV (see page 44). Or read the feature by Baylor University’s Jonathan Hu and MIRTHE director Clare Gmachl on how quantum-cascade lasers can be used in spectroscopy techniques for medical diagnostics and environmental monitoring (see page 39). Finally, the feature by Neil Anderson and Ramin Lalezari from IDEX Optics & Photonics describes how high-reflectivity, low-loss mirrors enable applications such as detecting and quantifying chemical species at part-per-billion levels with cavity ring-down spectroscopy (see page 48).

Describing these few spectroscopy-related articles does not do justice to the variety of optical technologies, products, and applications covered in this issue. It’s a bit like attending a good trade show: Everything you can get to see is very interesting yet there’s an impossibly short time in which to see it all.

W. Conard Holton
Associate Publisher/
Editor in Chief

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