ANALYSIS & OPINION
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Photonics West receives record numbers of visitors

An excited buzz filled the air at Photonics West this January, as the event turned out to be SPIE’s (the International Society for Optical Engineering) biggest success to date.

'As a result of the great product offerings and great audience at Photonics West, we talked to more potential customers than ever before,' said Greg Hollows, senior application engineer with Edmund Optics.

With more than 3,000 technical presentations, more than 1,000 exhibiting companies, 70 professional development courses and a careers fair with recruiters from 20 world-class companies, the week-long event attracted a record number of 17,320 delegates.

Photonics West is traditionally the largest photonics conference in the world, covering more 107,000 square feet of space in the San Jose Convention Center. Such events are often the place to discover the latest trends in the market, and this year it was fibre lasers that proved to be the primary topic of discussion.

The exhibition also coincides with four different symposia: BiOS (biomedical optics), OPTO (integrated optoelectronic devices), LASE (lasers and applications in science and engineering) and MOEMS-MEMS (miro-and nano-fabrication). Overall they experienced a 10 per cent growth in attendance, with BiOS and LASE reaching full seating capacity.

Attendees at the conferences said that they were becoming more multi-disciplinary, with LEDs and all imaging modalities being the latest trends. Leading sessions covered optical techniques in neurosurgery and brain imaging, the use of lasers in dermatology and plastic surgery, and the use of different optical materials such as Zinc Oxide and Gallium Nitride.

It is hoped the success of this event points to a promising year for the photonics industry. '[The success of Photonics West] translates into more scientific breakthroughs, more new products, more new jobs and more buyers than ever before,' said Janice Walker, director of events at SPIE. 'The record-setting numbers, along with the recent billion-dollar IPO by one of our corporate members, IPG Photonics, sets a very optimistic tone for the entire industry.'

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