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SPIE Photonics West - the aftermath

Researchers, developers, and applications experts in optoelectronic materials and devices, lasers, micro- and nanofabrication, and biomedical optics shared new ideas and solutions at SPIE Photonics West in San Jose, California, last month. An international crowd of 17,570 heard nearly 3,200 presentations in 85 conferences and networked with almost 1,200 exhibitors during the event.

The economy was a major theme in industry-focused sessions, with presenters sounding positive regarding areas such as laser materials processing, solar energy, and new light-based medical therapies. Mark Sobey, senior vice president of specialty laser systems for Coherent, said: ‘There's almost no part of the iPhone that does not use laser processing.’ Sobey was among participants in an executive panel on directions in the photonics market.

Another panelist, Randy Heyler, senior director of strategic marketing for Newport, said that incentives from the Japanese and German governments have stimulated growth by creating a level of volume necessary to bring prices down as consumers become more interested in green energy. ‘The development of the photovoltaic area has been probably the most exciting,’ he said, noting that there are opportunities in the semiconductor industry as well.

Synergy between industry and research at Photonics West continues to provide high value. ‘I get most of my problems solved here by talking to exhibitors and researchers,’ said Abdulhakem Elezzabi, professor at the University of Alberta.

‘We found our supplier, Aculight, three years ago at Photonics West and we’ve been collaborating ever since. They were able to build the laser we needed for our application: stimulating neural tissue - using light to talk to neurons,’ said E. Duco Jansen of Vanderbilt University. The potential for such applications is in development of treatments to restore neural function.

Video interviews given at the event are being posted on the SPIE Newsroom website, and will include:

  • Michael Krames, Philips Lumileds, on ‘High-power LEDs for solid state lighting’
  • Rudiger Brockmann, Trumpf, on ‘High-power disk laser’
  • Eduardo Margallo-Balbas, Technical University Delft, on ‘Miniature OCT system based on silicon photonics’
  • Henry Hess, University of Florida, on ‘Biomolecular motors challenge imaging and enable sensing’
  • Harold Craighead, Cornell University, on ‘Optically transduced MEMS resonators’
  • H. Frederick Dylla, American Institute of Physics, on ‘Building coherence in collaboration’.

Several new activities were added this year, including receptions for Early Career Professionals and for SPIE members, and optics cluster activities. Another exhibition hall was added to help accommodate the increase in exhibiting companies this year. Even with the added space, the exhibition was sold out with more companies on a waiting list.

SPIE Photonics West will return to the San Jose Convention Center 24-29 January 2009. It was announced during the event that Photonics West will move to the Moscone Center in San Francisco in 2010, in the same late-January timeframe.

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