Winners of 2014 Prism Awards announced at Photonics West

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Nine companies were recognised for their photonics products at the 2014 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation, which took place at Photonics West in San Francisco on 5 February. Winning products included tools that improve the accuracy of medical devices, expand the capabilities of 3D printing and manufacturing systems, improve the ability to detect hazardous substances, and enable the next generation of 3D video projection.

Sponsored by SPIE and Photonics Media, the annual awards identify photonic products that solve problems and improve life through the application of light-based technologies. The awards ceremony was attended by 340 industry executives, analysts, technologists, and investors from around the world. Results were determined by a panel of expert judges, and announced by presenters from leading companies across the photonics industry.

The winners came from a total of nine categories and represent large and small companies from five countries. The winners include:

  • Advanced Manufacturing: Nanoscribe (Germany), for the Photonic Professional GT (PPGT); based on TPP, the most accurate and fastest 3D laser lithography system commercially available;
  • Defense and Security: Hübner (Germany), for KG: T-Cognition, a terahertz spectrometer that automatically detects and identifies hazardous substances in mail;
  • Detectors, Sensing, Imaging, and Cameras: Tornado Spectral Systems (Canada), for Octane-860, a small, inexpensive and robust spectrometer on a silicon chip designed for full-featured OCT imaging;
  • Industrial Lasers: V-Gen (Israel), for the VPFL-ISP-1-40-HE-50000, the ytterbium fibre laser with the shortest pulsewidth, highest peak power, and highest pulse energy;
  • Life Science and Biophotonics: AccuVein (New York, USA), for the AV400 Vein Viewing System, a handheld, augmented-reality laser camera that detects and projects a vein map on a patient's skin;
  • Optics and Optical Components: Compass Electro-Optical Systems (California, USA): r10004 Router, the first design to allow for a full mesh architecture and an ASIC-to-ASIC link using an optical interconnect;
  • Other Light Sources: Necsel (California, USA): Frequency Converted Green Laser Array, offering the first RGB laser solution in 3D digital cinema projection; 
  • Scientific Lasers: Hübner (Germany): C-Wave, the first coherent continuous-wave source able to be tuned across the visible range without change of materials; and
  • Test, Measurement, Metrology: Si-Ware Systems (Egypt): MEMS FT-IR Spectrometer, the first alignment-free, calibration-free, and shock-resistant FT-IR module on a chip scale.

While photonics technology has an important role in improving quality of life, its applications have a vital economic impact as well, according to SPIE CEO Dr Eugene Arthurs: ‘We have more than 4,700 technical presentations at this year's Photonics West. More than 21,000 author-researchers contributed to the work presented. One could reasonably value the research effort at over $100 million dollars.’

It is when products that result in this intellectual effort that it makes a real impact, Arthurs added: ‘Our Prism Awards recognise the outstanding products that have emerged from ideas, concepts and the distillation of networking at previous conferences.’