Prism Awards showcase photonics technologies

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Medical diagnostic and chemical sensing products for mobile devices, a fibre laser with uses including solar panel manufacture, and a new class of optical connectors for next-generation data centres, were among the winners of the Prism Awards, presented at Photonics West on 11 February in San Francisco.

The annual awards recognise photonic products that break with conventional ideas, solve problems, and improve life through the application of light-based technologies. Several of the winners were collaborative projects among companies, and products demonstrated a strong theme of multi-technology applications.

Intel, Corning, and US Conec won in the optics and optical components category for their MXC Connector. The device is a parallel optical connector designed with advanced composite, precision-moulded plastics to meet the needs of next-generation data centres for higher data rates. The connectors are small, resilient, not prone to dust contamination, and available at a low cost. They support up to 64 fibres at 25Gb/s per fibre, meaning cables can carry 1.6Tb/s of data.

Luxexcel won for its Printoptical technology for 3D printing plastic optics. The company uses a custom inkjet printer to print optical, UV-curable PMMA materials.

Hamamatsu and Seek Thermal both won for products that can be connected to mobile devices, Hamamatsu for its micro-spectrometer and Seek Thermal in collaboration with Raytheon for a thermal camera that can be plugged into a smartphone.

Other winners included: BacterioScan for its laser microbial growth monitor; IPG Photonics for its 500W quasi-continuous-wave green single-mode fibre laser; Inrad Optics for its Stilbene scintillation crystals; WITec and Tescan Orsay for Rise Microscopy, combining scanning electron and Raman spectroscopies for chemical imaging; and Fianium for its WhiteLase SC400-20, a widely tunable laser source that produces high power output across the visible and near-infrared spectrum.

Photonics technology has an important role in improving quality of life, and its applications have significant economic impact as well, said SPIE CEO Dr Eugene Arthurs. ‘This year − during the United Nations' International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies − it is especially fitting to recognise and celebrate the remarkable ability of photonics to enable solutions to the world's challenges. Ours is an industry of creative minds, and the Prism Awards give us an opportunity to celebrate some of the most outstanding among those.’

Related articles:

Edmund Optics partners with 2015 Prism Award winner Luxexcel for 3D printed optics

Print production for optics: A new 3D printing process for optics could have significant implications for how optics are designed, manufactured and used

Further information:

Prism Awards