Additive manufacturing systems for printing optics, devices that can detect radiation with higher accuracy, and novel microscopic tools are among the finalists of the 2015 Prism Award. The award celebrates the best photonics innovations of the past year, and will be presented during Photonics West in San Francisco on 11 February.
Out of the nine categories, Luxexcel has been nominated in the group of additive manufacturing for the development of a new 3D printing process for optics. The company uses a custom inkjet printer to print optical, UV-curable PMMA materials. The machines deposit micro drops of acrylic onto a substrate which is then hardened with UV light. The optical structure, specified in a CAD file, is achieved by jetting, flowing and merging the molten droplets before hardening.
Although the company is currently focussing on printing components for LED illumination, any type of device prototyping would also benefit from the fast turnaround times possible with printing lenses, the company’s CEO, Richard van de Vrie, told Electro Optics.
The Raman Imaging and Scanning Electron (RISE) microscope from the German microscope manufacturer WITec has been nominated in the 'other metrology instrumentation' category. RISE microscopy is a novel correlative microscopy technique that combines confocal Raman imaging and scanning electron microscopy. The microscope won an Analytical Scientist Innovation Award at the end of 2014, which recognises top innovations in the field of analytical chemistry.
Inrad Optics has been selected as a finalist in the category of materials and coatings for its development of stilbene crystals. Stilbene is a scintillator, and emits light in the presence of nuclear radiation. It has recognised as having excellent properties for neutron detection and is well-suited for discrimination between fast neutrons and a gamma-ray background. The technology originated at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the USA and is being further developed by Inrad Optics for neutron detection applications, but could also have uses in fast neutron counting, spectroscopy, and imaging, with applications in medicine, industry, research, defence, and homeland security.
A full list of finalists for the Prism Awards can be found here.