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Newest photonics advances presented at SPIE Photonics Europe: Experts say 'It's a good time to be in the field'

23 April 2010

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA, and CARDIFF, Wales, UK -- Photonics-enabled innovations -- such as delivering drugs directly to cells using light rather than syringes and exponentially increasing computing and communications speed -- received a major push forward at SPIE Photonics Europe in Brussels last week.

The 2,150 international photonics experts who convened at Square Conference Centre in Brussels presented the latest advances in a field designated by the European Commission (EC) as one of five "Key Enabling Technologies."

"Photonics Europe provided a bridge between academic research and industrial developmeBrussels Mayor Freddy Thielemans and SPIE President Ralph Jamesnt," said General Chair Francis Berghmans, professor with the Brussels Photonics Team (B-Phot) at Vrije Univ. Brussel. "Networking was intense, the scientific and technical quality of the presentations was truly excellent, the plenary speakers did an outstanding job and delivered brilliant talks, student participation was very high, and the student events were amazingly successful."

Approximately 1,300 papers were presented in 19 technical conferences, with particularly large audiences in sessions on Metamaterials, Biophotonics, Silicon Photonics, Solid State Lasers, Photonic Crystal Fibres, and Optical Sensing and Detection. More than 130 companies participated in a three-day exhibition during the week.

Plenary talks by three top laser researchers highlighted the Advancing the Laser: 50 Years and Into the Future celebration at Photonics Europe.

Wolfgang Sandner, Max Born Institute Berlin and President Elect of the German Physical Society, described several collaborative projects around the world that characterize today's research initiatives.

Ursula Keller, ETH Zurich, who also gave an invited lecture earlier in the week at the Fellows luncheon, talked about advances in ultrafast laser technologies.

Mike Dunne,Mike Dunne UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, talked about research connections between HiPER and the NIF project, noting that with the imminent potential for important breakthroughs in lasers, "it's a good time to be in the field."

Collaboration and innovation were major trends throughout the week.

"SPIE was pleased with the encouragement of the EC Photonics Unit for the SPIE Photonics Europe meeting," said SPIE Executive Director Eugene Arthurs. "SPIE supported the emphasis on innovation by being a sponsor of the second Photonics21 Student Innovation Award."

On Monday, Giorgio Anania of Cube Optics, a vice president of Photonics21, awarded the 2010 Photonics21 Student Innovation Award to Natalie Vermeulen, Vrije Univ. Brussel, and to Sedat Nizamoglu, Bilkent Univ. The award was sponsored by Thales and the European project ACCORD, along with SPIE Europe.Sedat Nizamoglu, Natalie Vermeulen, and Giorgio Anania

An Industry Perspectives forum explored opportunities and challenges in advancing the Photonics21 strategic research agenda for photonics, speakers from the EC, Photonics21, and several industry and research institutes.

Activity at the well-visited Photonics Innovation Village culminated Thursday afternoon with the presentation of awards to the top research projects chosen by jury. Sponsored by SPIE and the EC Photonics Unit, the competition was co-organised by the Brussels Photonics Team. Prizes for the six winners were funded by the Brussels Capital Region.

In the individual category, the top winner was Thomas Woggon of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. First runner-up was Lawrence Bogaert of Vrije Univ. Brussel and second runner-up was Maria Farsari, ISEL/FORTH.

In the multilateral category, the winner was Multitel, with CMST Univ. Gent as first runner-up and Optrima as second-runner-up.

Among other awards given during the week, SPIE President Ralph James presented Berghmans with a plaque in recognition of his being named an SPIE Fellow, at a luncheon honoring the more than two dozen Fellows present at the meeting.

James presented the SPIE A.E. Conrady Award to Juan Carlos Minaño of Univ. Politécnica de Madrid (Spain), in recognition of his exceptional contributions in developing new design methods and devices in nonimaging optics.B-Phot at Innovation Village

International Commission for Optics (ICO) President Maria Calvo, Univ. Complutense de Madrid, and ICO Associate Secretary Gert von Bally, Westfälische Wilhelms-Univ. Münster, congratulated Marembo Claver Karemara of Rwanda and Artsrun Martirosyan, Institute for Physical Research, Armenia, winners of the ICO travel sponsorship for the event. SPIE is a member society of ICO.

SPIE presented an Education Outreach grant to Aivars Vembris for the Univ. of Latvia SPIE Student Chapter. Conference "Best Student Paper" awards were made on Wednesday afternoon.

Three hot topics sessions drew overflowing audiences to hear:

  • Kobus Kuipers, Univ. of Amsterdam
  • Bernard Kippelen, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Benjamin Eggleton, Univ. of Sydney
  • Mario Paniccia, Intel
  • Radhakrishnan Nagarajan, Infinera
  • Giorgio Anania, Cube Optics, Photonics21 Vice President
  • Stefan Hell, Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
  • Kishan Dholakia, Univ. of St Andrews.

See the daily report from on-site for more details: www.spie.org/x23831.xml

View additional photos in the event photo gallery: www.spie.org/x40072.xml

For more on the Photonics21 Student Innovation Awards, see the Photonics21 press release.

Conference proceedings are published in the SPIE Digital Library in per-paper mode as soon as approved after the meeting, and also in collected print and digital volumes and collections.

Photo captions, from top:

Brussels Mayor Freddy Thielemans, left, and SPIE President Ralph James met at a VIP reception Tuesday evening.

Laser anniversary plenary speaker Mike Dunne tells the audience that "it's a good time to be in the field" of lasers.

From left, Photonics21 Student Innovation Awards went to Sedat Nizamoglu and Natalie Vermeulen, presented by Giorgio Anania.

Lawrence Bogaert, left, of Vrije Univ. Brussel was among winners in the Photonics Innovation Village competition.

SPIE , the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 188,000 constituents from 138 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific, and supports scholarships, grants, and other education programs around the world. In Europe, SPIE supports the optics and photonics community by acting as an advocate and liaison to political and industry associations.

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