SPIE Photonics West

30 January 2018 to 01 February 2018
San Francisco, CA, USA

San Francisco will once again play host to two major international exhibitions in early 2018 – the BiOS Expo on 27 and 28 January, and the Photonics West exhibition from 30 January to 1 February – which will showcase the latest photonics components and systems. Here we preview some of what to expect at the event

Conference details

Talks by two Nobel Laureates will be among more than 5,200 technical presentations held alongside the Photonics West exhibition in San Francisco. The symposium is expected to attract an international audience of more than 20,000.

Conferences are organised into tracks on biomedical optics (BiOS), industrial laser sources and applications (LASE), and optoelectronics and photonic materials and devices (OPTO).

Stefan Hell (Max-Planck-Institut Göttingen) and William Moerner (Stanford University), who shared the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Eric Betzig (Janelia Research Campus) for their work in ultrahigh-resolution fluorescence microscopy, will give details on the latest advances in the field.

A comprehensive training programme is set to offer more than 70 courses in lasers and applications, sensors, imaging, IR systems, and optical and optomechanical engineering, plus professional development seminars and industry workshops.

Receptions and other networking events will provide many opportunities to share ideas, connect around community issues such as diversity and inclusion, or to meet new potential collaborators.


New among this year's 44 BiOS conferences – comprising 2,400 presentations – is the theme, ‘Photonic Diagnosis and Treatment of Infections and Inflammatory Diseases’.

Nine talks in the popular BiOS Hot Topics session will cover topics such as biophotonics for low-resource settings (Katarina Svanberg, Lund University and Sune Svanberg, South China Normal University) and near-future developments in photodynamic therapy (Tayyaba Hasan, Wellman Centre for Photomedicine).

A multi-speaker Neurotechnologies plenary session will include topics such as strategies for observing and controlling neural circuits (Ed Boyden, MIT) and in-vivo imaging of the brain (Na Ji, University of California, Berkeley). Track chairs are David Boas (Martinos Centre, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School) and Raphael Yuste (Columbia University).

A Nano/Biophotonics plenary talk on shaped light will be presented by Kishan Dholakia (University of St Andrews, Scotland).

The Translational Research forum will present outcomes-based studies on technologies, tools, and techniques with high potential to change the lives of patients. Organisers are Bruce Tromberg(Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Centre, University of California, Irvine) and Gabriela Apiou(Wellman Centre for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School).

BiOS symposium chairs are James Fujimoto (MIT) and Rox Anderson (Wellman Centre for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School).

Among the 900 presentations in the LASE conference will be plenary talks on laser frequency combs and dual-comb spectroscopy (Ursula Keller, ETH Zurich), optical lattice clocks (Hidetoshi Katori, University of Tokyo and Riken), and industrial laser systems and applications (Berthold Schmidt, Trumpf Photonics).

LASE symposium chairs are Koji Sugioka (Riken) and Reinhart Poprawe (Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology).

Highlighting 2,000 presentations in OPTO, plenary talks will cover silicon photonics (Andrew Rickman, Rockley Photonics), nanowire LEDs and diode lasers (Pallab Bhattacharya, University of Michigan), and photonics beyond the diffraction limit (Min Gu, RMIT University). There are three new conferences, on 2D Photonic Materials and Devices, Optical Data Science, and UltraHigh-Definition Imaging Systems.

OPTO symposium chairs are Connie Chang-Hasnain (University of California, Berkeley) and Graham Reed (Optoelectronics Research Centre, University of Southampton).

Industry focus

Market trends and business opportunities will be explored during a variety industry-focused sessions, including: a conference on virtual, augmented, and mixed reality technology challenges and successes, featuring Bernard Kress (Microsoft/Hololens) and Leo Baldwin (Amazon Functional Photonics); panel discussions on silicon photonics and photonic integrated circuits, 3D printing, and other hot technology topics; updated SPIE analysis on the size of the core photonics market; tips on navigating the innovation ecosystem; the annual SPIE Startup Challenge pitch competition for pre-revenue companies; a Fast Pitch Lunch connecting entrepreneurs with potential investors and mentors; and a gala awards banquet where industry leaders will announce winners of the 2018 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation (see finalists in other panel in this article).

Recruiters from more than 30 companies are expected at the SPIE Career Centre Job Fair (30-31 January).

Prism Award finalists

Disruptive technology for assessing chemical composition in real time, a lidar system for self-driving vehicles, and a smartphone-add-on sensor for noncontact blood pressure and other healthcare tests are among the impressive finalists for the 2018 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation competition.

The annual event, which is celebrating its 10th year in 2018, recognises innovative product inventions within the optics and photonics field.

Winners will be announced on 31 January at a gala banquet during Photonics West, boosting visibility, recognition, and brand equity for companies bringing innovative products to the market.

‘Ten years in, the Prism Awards are casting an even wider light on the photonics industry. Each year, categories for the awards are driven by the innovations entered, providing direct insight into thriving and emerging “hot” markets,’ said SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs. ‘New this year are categories for inventions in Environmental Monitoring and for Illumination and Light Sources – very timely as the world continues to work toward more sustainable energy sources and devices.’

The finalists are as follows:

Detectors and Sensors

  • NKT Photonics: LIOS EN.SURE Long Range DTS and RTTR
  • Princeton Infrared Technologies: LineCam12
  • Xenics: XLIN FC 2048 detector

Environmental Monitoring

  • Block Engineering: LaserWarn analyser
  • Blue Industry and Science: X-FLR8 V2
  • Daylight Solutions: ChemDetect mid-IR liquid analyser

Illumination and Light Sources

  • Lumileds: Luxeon 3535L HE Plus line LEDs
  • Osram Opto Semiconductors: SFH 4735 high-power infrared emitter
  • SoraaLaser: LaserLight fibre module

Imaging and Cameras

  • Daylight Solutions: Spero-QT infrared microscope
  • Luminar: Model-G 3D Lidar
  • Teledyne Dalsa: Piranha4 polarisation line scan camera


  • Class 5 Photonics: Supernova OPCPA
  • KMLabs: Y-Fi OPA
  • Optores: NG-FDML (wavelength-swept laser)

Life Science Instrumentation

  • neaspec: cryo-neaSNOM
  • Quantumcyte: Q1
  • Tomocube: HT-2 (Holotomographic microscopy with 3D fluorescence imaging)

Material Processing and Additive Manufacturing

  • Han's Laser Technology Industry Group: (UV laser system for PVD ablation processing)
  • Limo: Activation Line UV-L750
  • Nuburu: AO-150 (high-speed infrared 150W laser)

Medical Diagnostics and Therapeutics

  • ContinUse Biometrics: SmartHealth Mod (smartphone biosensor)
  • Lightpoint Medical: LightPath Imaging System (intra-operative luminescence imaging)
  • Lumedica: OQ LabScope (low-cost OCT)

Optics and Optomechanical Components

  • AdlOptica Optical Systems: foXXus (multi-focus optics)
  • Optotune Switzerland: MR-15-30 (dual axis vector scan mirror with position feedback)
  • Spectrolight: Flexible Wavelength Selector

Test and Measurement

  • Gamma Scientific: GS-1290-NED (near eye display measurement system)
  • Si-Ware Systems: NeoSpectra Micro (chip-sized spectral sensor)
  • Spheryx: xSight (holographic suspension analysis device)


Avantes will feature its expanded line of compact spectrometers at booth 1815, which includes the first-ever CMOS spectrometer with a 4,096 pixel detector. The Mini4096CL has both speed and sensitivity packed into a small footprint. Like all other AvaSpec instruments, the Mini4096CL is affordable, compact, and ideal for OEM integration. The Mini4096CL permits less than 0.2 per cent stray light and delivers a signal to noise ratio of 319:1.

Visitors can see this and other instruments at our booth #1815


Cobolt, a part of Hübner Photonics, will highlight new wavelengths of 457nm, 473nm, 515nm, 660nm and 1,064nm on its 08-01 series, complementing the already available wavelengths of 405nm, 532nm, 561nm and 785nm. The 08-01 series of single frequency and narrow linewidth lasers are ideal for Raman spectroscopy applications.

The 08-01 series consists of high performance, ultra-compact, single longitudinal mode (SLM) diode pumped lasers (08-DPL) up to 400mW and narrow linewidth diode lasers (08-NLD) up to 500mW, all having very good wavelength stability and spectral purity. With integrated electronics, an integrated optional optical isolator and clean up filter, the lasers from the 08-01 Series are easily integrated into high-end, Raman-based systems or other analytical instrumentation.

All Cobolt lasers are manufactured using proprietary HTCure technology, and the resulting compact hermetically-sealed package provides a very high level of immunity to varying environmental conditions along with excellent reliability. Lasers built using HTCure have been shown to withstand multiple 60G mechanical shocks in operation without any sign of degraded performance.

With demonstrated lifetime capability of  >60,000 hours and several thousand units installed in the field, Cobolt lasers have proven to deliver unmatched reliability and performance both in laboratory and industrial environments, and are offered with market leading warranty terms.

Visit Cobolt and Hübner Photonics at Photonics West at booth number 2119 and BiOS booth number 8623 to see the new 08-01 series.


Delta Optical Thin Film

A new Laser Attenuator has been developed, which utilises an ultra-hard coated, Laser Optical Multilayer Attenuator (LOMA) filter from Delta Optical Thin Film.

The laser attenuator enables computer-controlled attenuation of a monochromatic light source from 1 to 99 per cent within the wavelength region of ~ 550-1,000 nm. It provides the user with safe, repeatable, and real-time control over the attenuation by combining the LOMA filter with a linear drive, controlled electronics, and dedicated software.

This filter is based on an optical thin film coating that works on reflection, unlike other filters that work on absorption. This feature allows the LOMA filters to withstand high laser power as it attenuates the laser with no absorption of the input power.

The laser beam is transmitted without distortion of the beam profile, and no extra optics are required. No pulse broadening is observed, even with short laser pulses down to 70fs. The optical coating works independently of polarisation, and it is designed for a wide range of laser wavelengths between 550 and 1,000nm.

Edmund Optics

Edmund Optics will be exhibiting at booth 823 with a strong focus on laser optics, showcasing its new Nd:YAG Laser Line Mirrors at UV wavelengths, Divergence Adjustable Beam Expanders and Monolithic Reflective Beam Expanders. In addition to a selection of its regular portfolio.

Also at the booth will be product expos on a UV laser materials processing system, drone-based imaging for analysing the health of crops, well-plate inspection for advanced medical diagnostics, and an exhibit visualising the firm’s manufacturing capabilities.

The company will also be at Bios booth 8620, where it will present products specifically addressing the life science market.



Excelitas Technologies will be debuting Qioptiq’s Closed-Loop Modulation (CLM) feature for the iFLEX-iRIS and iFLEX-Gemini laser systems at booth 1031. The innovative CLM feature provides modulation capabilities without the need for recalibration, combined with ultra-low noise and high-power stability performance over the laser lifetime. It is ideal for biomedical imaging and metrology applications where repeatable performance and low signal-to-noise ratio are required.

Unlike traditional open-loop laser modulation, the iFLEX CLM maintains consistent output during both continuous-wave and modulated operation. The CLM feature enables analogue, digital and dual-mode modulation for reliable stability from 0.1 per cent to 100 per cent power and maximum repeatability for ultra-stable performance. IFLEX Lasers with CLM are also ultra-low noise in terms of RMS, RIN and periodic noise. They offer precision adjustment at all output power levels for applications where a stable, ultra-low noise source will improve signal-to noise ratio and data consistency over time.


Frankfurt Laser Company

The laser diode module for 3D vision systems to be showcased by Frankfurt Laser Company from its HAML-F Series is compact, reliable and delivers a highly uniform and stable line output beam. It comes in visible and IR wavelengths with up to 100mW power output and is graded at IP67 for industrial protection. Available with special features such as digital and analogue modulation, different beam shapes and power adjustments, the HAML-F can be used in a wide range of applications.



Gentec-EO’s product line, some of which will be on display at the show, includes a complete range of laser power and energy meters, photo detectors, broadband pyroelectric detectors, terahertz detectors, OEM detectors and beam diagnostics. This year the company introduced new wireless laser power detectors, M2 beam diagnostics, and Pronto HP power meters.



KrellTech will be exhibiting its line of fibre optic and photonic polishing equipment at Photonic West (booth 4322) and introducing the Nova system.

Maximum flexibility for optical surface processing is now available with Nova.  KrellTech has integrated the proven performance and features of its Scepter, Trig and FLex polishers into this configurable and cost-effective system.  

Nova supports a variety of polishing applications from connectors to waveguides, and bare fibres to custom components.  Nova is scalable for R&D projects, high volume production, and the rigors of high-reliability field installation.

Wireless tablet control with a familiar Android interface provides the programming flexibility required for research, as well as simplified step-by-step operation for manufacturing technicians.  Workholder fixtures are easily interchangeable for each task, and optional videoscopes are available for real-time process monitoring and in-line surface inspection.

Whether developing new optical devices, improving component performance or manufacturing Telcordia-compliant cable assemblies, Nova is the ideal polishing system.


Laser Beam Products

Co-exhibiting with Electro Optical Components at the show this year, Laser Beam Products (LBP) is a worldwide manufacturer of metal laser mirrors and infrared optics. There will be a range of LBP’s precision metal mirrors on display, including gold coated copper and aluminium. LBP mirrors are chemically polished to a super-smooth finish, and examples of these fully tested, super-polished metal substrates ready for coating will also be exhibited. 

LBP mirrors are produced using a wide variety of metal materials and coatings suitable for many applications from deep UV through to THz use. This includes scientific mirrors for chemical sensing, instrumentation, spectroscopy and imaging as well as laser mirrors for industrial, medical and dental lasers and reflective optical components for research and defence.

Lew Techniques

Lew Techniques will be showing its capabilities in the precision custom manufacture of submounts and carriers for laser diodes, laser bars, laser stacks and photodiodes.

Product types include tungsten/copper (WCu) submounts with super-sharp edges (<5µm radius), allowing precise mount-edge positioning of laser diodes. WCu inserts brazed to solid copper bodies maximise heat-sinking while minimising expansion mismatch between carrier and laser die.

Submounts in aluminium nitride (AlN) with photo-patterned metallisation provide high-precision circuits. Metal structures can be tailored to meet individual requirements for soldering, wire bonding, electrical and thermal performance.

WCu- and AlN-style mounts selectively coated with a thin layer of AuSn solder allow accurate and consistent mounting of the laser die. Strict maintenance of metal coatings and solder alloy consistency ensure optimum reflow results.

Mounts for photodiodes on ceramics with wrap-over conductors are also available. Circuits can be defined on multiple faces allowing greater interconnect flexibility, and ceramic can be precision-machined for the greatest functionality.


Ocean Optics

At booth 723, Ocean Optics’ Ocean FX versatile spectrometer will be on show, distinguished by an acquisition speed of up to 4,500 scans per second, onboard processing for favorable SNR and reduced transfer time, and robust communications via USB, Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi. The Ocean FX is an ideal choice for high-speed process applications, measurement of transient events, and reaction monitoring.

The Ocean FX is available in application-ready, custom and OEM spectrometer configurations. The spectrometer can be integrated into other devices as a component, subassembly or turnkey solution. It is well suited for environments where fast sampling rates are necessary, such as monitoring sample color, quality and other characteristics on a process line.

In addition, the Ocean FX’s integration periods can be as brief as 10µs, effectively managing saturation intensity when measuring high-intensity sources and plasmas. Indeed, the Ocean FX acquires spectra with such speed that short-lived events can be measured confidently and otherwise undetected spectral effects made evident.



Ophir will be displaying the BeamSquared, an M2 laser beam propagation system designed to help users optimise laser performance. A robust, portable device, BeamSquared automatically measures the propagation characteristics of CW and pulsed lasers in less than a minute. It can optionally measure wavelengths above 1.8µm in manual mode, including CO2 and terahertz. BeamSquared is designed for continuous use applications, from scientific research to rapid prototyping, fabrication and machining.

The system includes the BeamSquared M2 software and an optical train. The software measures beam propagation characteristics on both the X and Y axes, including waist diameters, full angle divergences, waist locations, Rayleigh lengths, M2 or K and BPP factors, astigmatism, and asymmetry. The system displays 2D or 3D beam profiles for visual verification of beam behaviour through focus.



PicoQuant will be showcasing its latest innovations in picosecond pulsed diode lasers for single photon counting, microscopy and spectroscopy applications at booths 306, 4853 and 4859. The highlights at the exhibition will include the high power pulsed laser VisIR/VisUV platform with the new wavelengths 266, 280, 295, 532, 560 and 590nm, as well as PicoQuant’s new quantum correlation analysis software QuCoa.

The company will also be sponsoring presentations in the field of single molecule spectroscopy and superresolution imaging at the conference session BO503, where nobel prize winner Stefan Hell will also hold a talk focused on his most recent research.


Princeton Instruments

Princeton Instruments will introduce its Blaze Spectroscopy CCD cameras at the show, featuring revolutionary new sensors with up to three times higher NIR sensitivity and low dark current, which make the camera exceptional for demanding applications such as Raman spectroscopy, fluorescence or photoluminescence. Blaze provides spectral rates of up to thousands of spectra per second. For low light applications, Blaze delivers true -100ᵒC cooling for ultra-low dark current, ideal for long exposures.

Quantel and Keopsys

Visitors to Quantel and Keopsys booths (8742 and 417) will be able to see both groups’ range of diodes modules and laser solutions. 

Quantel and Keopsys groups are merging their resources into a new laser group to offer an extended product portfolio in addition to their existing laser solutions for a variety of application fields like: biotech and medical, material processing, defense, scientific instrumentation, LIBS, laser pumping, fluid dynamics.

Quantel and Keopsys groups are also consolidating their activities in the lidar application space, with a full range of solutions including: integrated high power diode solutions for automotive and surveillance needs; ultra-compact fibre lasers for wind sensing, range finding, and 3D scanning; high energy flash or diode pumped solid-state lasers for atmospheric lidar and environmental measurements; and various customised solutions for defence, space and high-end applications.

Image credit:LIDAR de Dumont d'Urville © C. FRESSER -IPEV


Sill Optics

F-Theta lenses are important in material processing applications like cutting, welding, ablation and many more. They are designed to focus laser beams down on a plane scan area with a consistent spot size. Additionally they are available at various focal lengths from UV to IR and some even with telecentricity.

Sill Optics presents the S4LFT4125/075 for lasers with ultraviolet. The scan area has been improved from 35.0 x 35.0mm up to 50.5 x 50.5mm compared to the previous model. Despite the higher focal length a focal diameter of 8 µm (1/e²) can be reached inside the whole scan area with a 10 mm input beam diameter. According our high quality and performance, this lens is made of fused silica, is without internal or external back reflection focus points and furthermore diffraction limited.



Scanlab will be featuring its soon available intelliScanse 20 and 30 scan head systems, with 20 and 30mm apertures for a larger working field. Their integrated digital encoder technology ensures the highest dynamics along with high resolution and long-term stability. These factors make the systems especially interesting for demanding applications such as 3D printing, micro-structuring and micro-processing. An attractive price/performance ratio also underscores the systems' suitability for efficient industrial usage.

The intelliScanse 20 and 30, both equipped with high-performance dynAxisse L galvanometer scanners, can fulfill the market's demand for large-aperture systems. These are designed to enable larger working volumes with unchanged spot sizes. The integrated digital se-encoder technology guarantees outstanding precision and dynamics while enabling maximum throughput.

Scanlab will be located in the south hall, at booth number 2025.



Synopsys’ Optical Solutions Group (OSG) is a developer of optical design and analysis tools, with Code V imaging design software, LightTools illumination design software, LucidShape products for automotive lighting, and RSoft products for photonic and optical network design.

At Photonics West, Synopsys will exhibit Code V, LightTools, and RSoft software solutions. Code V has powerful capabilities for lens optimisation, analysis, tolerancing, beam propagation and coupling efficiency.

LightTools is a 3D optical engineering and design software product that supports virtual prototyping, simulation, optimisation and photorealistic renderings of illumination applications.

RSoft products provide a full range of design, optimisation and planning tools for optical communications, as well as award-winning solutions for optoelectronics components and subsystems.

OSG is also an independent supplier of optical systems design services, with more than 5,000 completed projects in imaging, illumination, and optical systems engineering.



Atbooth 807 Thorlabs will be displaying new products and manufacturing capabilities from its portfolio of optomechanics, motion control, light sources, optoelectronics, optics, fibre, instrumentation, and imaging product lines. Highlights include Thorlabs’ new line of high-speed instrumentation for photonics applications up to 70GHz.

Fibre-optic reference transmitters, electro-optic modulator drivers, C-Band and L-Band tunable lasers, and calibrated electrical-to-optical converters are all available in the portfolio in benchtop units with integrated, easy-to-use touchscreen controls. These systems are ideal for use in an R&D laboratory or manufacturing environment for creating optical links, performing experiments, or testing components.



Veeco’s Spector-HT Advanced Ion Beam Sputtering System will be on show, offering excellent layer thickness control, enhanced process stability and the lowest published optical losses in the industry.

For cutting-edge optical interference coating applications ranging from bandpass filters to beam splitters and laser passives, the Spector-HT has been engineered to improve key production parameters, such as target material utilisation, optical endpoint control and process time. The Spector-HT gives manufacturers the qualitative advantages of ion beam sputtering technology – low scatter loss, high film purity, stable deposition rates and film thickness control of <0.1nm – in a more robust package that significantly boosts throughput and lowers cost of ownership.



Visitors to VPIphotonics’ booth can learn about library extensions to VPIcomponentMaker Photonic Circuits, which provide circuit-level support of a Process Design Kit (PDK) for various integrated photonics technologies.

These pluggable toolkits support a cost-effective generic foundry approach for application-specific photonic integrated circuits design. Within this approach, the designer can choose photonic devices from a fixed list of so-called building blocks (BBs) supported by the individual foundry.

The seamless integration with photonic layout design tools allows users to specify physical locations and orientations of BBs of standardised PDKs on the final layout. Designers can gradually elaborate its layout, easily incorporating requirements such as adequate layout connectivity, packaging, and functional specifications.

VPIphotonics’ integrated design solutions allow users to combine graphical schematic capture, including automated parameter sweeps and optimisation, even for parameters that affect the circuit layout, and automated waveguide routing of PICs utilising a single or a combination of different technology platforms.