Wednesday, October 24, 2012

InterOpto takes fireflies very seriously

The September 25-27 InterOpto 2012 conference in Yokohama, Japan, was far removed from its roots as a telecom show in the years leading up to the bubble. While communications and optical components continue to be a focus for the InterOpto conference and its exhibitors, the conference has expanded to include not only InterOpto 2012 (optics and photonics), but also BioOpto Japan 2012 (biomedical optics), LaserTech 2012 (industrial lasers), and the LED JAPAN Strategies in Light (LED technology) conference. In fact, the LED JAPAN Strategies in Light conference complements the US-based Strategies in Light conference held each February in Santa Clara, CA (with 4600 attendees and 200 exhibitors) as well as the Strategies in Light Europe conference (September) and the Strategies in Light China conference (May). Strategies in light deals exclusively with LEDs and solid-state LED lighting technology. In addition to the conference programming, nearly 185 exhibit booths across the InterOpto, BioOpto, LED JAPAN, and LaserTech conferences were assembled in one area.

The LED exhibit (60 booths) included a wide range of LED and illuminance testing products from Konica Minolta (booth L-146) including their new CL-500A Illuminance Spectrophotometer--a very compact spectrophotometer for evaluation of LED lamps and electroluminescent materials. Its advanced sensor measures CRI (color rendering index), illuminance, chromaticity, and color temperature for any light source in a laboratory environment or out in the field. Who knew Konica Minolta had so many illuminance measurement products? Their portfolio includes Chroma Meters to measure color temperature,
and whole family of other illuminance meters (including integrating spheres) for any application.

Within InterOpto's new JIAL (Japan Importers Association of Lasers and Electro-Optics) Global Technology Seminar at which I presented the keynote entitled "Mid-Year 2012 Laser Market Review & Forecast", companies such as Coherent, Spectra-Physics, nLight, Oclaro, Amplitude Systemes, NKT Photonics, and Jenoptik presented overviews of their latest technology breakthroughs primarily in the laser industry. Of particular note in the spirit of the 2012 50th anniversary of the laser diode, DirectPhotonics Industries GmbH presented "Ultra-High Brightness Direct Diode Lasers for Material Processing." Fiber lasers may be seeing direct-diode competition sooner than anticipated if DirectPhotonics can leverage Fraunhofer technology to hone its single-emitter-based, wavelength-stabilized, spectrally combined system into a 2 kW, 7.5 mm mrad beam profile at 9xx nm into a production-ready machine. Its current DirectPump 900 source offers 90 to 600W for pumping applications, with more products being added to their portfolio.

The InterOpto exhibit was 84 booths strong, with many US-based as well as Japanese companies represented. With smaller exhibitions, LaserTech 2012 (16 booths) and more specifically, BioOpto Japan 2012 (21 booths) featured some excellent seminars. BioOpto Japan included Shinoda Plasma's presentation on a Luminous Array Film technology for a deep-ultraviolet light source, Furukawa Electric's description of its live-cell, damage-free cell flow cytometer, Nippon Dental University's presentation on dental caries prevention with a low-power laser, and Tokyo General Hospital discussed the role of low-level light therapy (LLLT) for the treatment of pain. And on the environmental front, Shojiro A. Maki from
the University of Electro-Communications presented his work on NIR probes based on firefly luminescence--the ultimate biomimetics success story in harnessing nature's best for the photonics industry.

As I took some time to vacation in Tokyo and Yokohama and visit some of the fine-art galleries, I was reminded of Japan's close tie with the natural world. And back at the conference center, I was extremely pleased to see that Japan is making strong efforts to improve the environment with the longest line of recycling containers I've ever seen! The United States should take note in its future photonics conference
venues--just because we have more land for garbage dumps doesn't mean we need to use it for that; how about creating a firefly habitat instead?

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