Sunday, August 21, 2011

SPIE Optics + Photonics: Looking back and ahead

  Gail Overton
  Senior Editor
  Laser Focus World

Last year’s SPIE Optics + Photonics conference was particularly memorable, mostly for the awesome PennWell customer-appreciation catamaran cruise and the typically warm and breezy weather we all enjoyed.

But the subject of optics and photonics was of course the highlight of the 2010 event: our Laser Focus World videographers were able to capture the essence of a few key technology exhibitions:

(1) The One Million Lights non-profit organization has a goal to distribute one million environmentally friendly, rechargeable LED solar lights to adults and children in off-the-grid, developing regions around the world to replace toxic and expensive kerosene lanterns:

(2) Optical Research Associates is looking for partners to commercialize its head-worn display:

And now for SPIE 2011; rumor has it there will be another cruise. And don’t forget to see these papers, hand-picked by SPIE’s Amy Nelson, on the latest in photovoltaics, nanotechnology, astronomy, and yes, optics and photonics:

Manijeh Razeghi from Northwestern University is giving an update on terahertz quantum cascade lasers (paper 8119-11). At Defense, Security, and Sensing, she demonstrated a portable QCL that operates at room temperature, and this paper looks to update that work. Razeghi also chairs the conference on Carbon Nanotubes, Graphene, and Associated Devices.

There are about 20 papers on liquid-crystal lasers and photonics, including one by Scott Davis (Vescent Photonics) on LC waveguides as an emergent platform for a new class of devices (paper 8165B-51).

And with astronomy conferences at Optics + Photonics this year, the European Space Agency and NASA both are giving updates on their programs. Mustapha Zahir (European Space Research and Technology Centre) is giving a paper (8159-3) on lasers and detectors used in LIDAR systems in many ESA missions, and an overview of three of those missions.

And I’m looking forward to attending a paper from OPEL Solar on microdisk modulators and detectors for high-speed integrated WDM systems using a new integrated component within a Planar OptoElectronic Technology (POET) circuit (paper 8164-11).

Once again, it looks like the weather will be great and the technical content will be top-notch! Hope to see you there; perhaps gazing through the telescopes at the Monday night star party just following the conference reception.

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