Onsite News

Thursday 10 April 2008

Quality and scope cited as Photonics Europe 2008 success factors
The broad scope of topics across photonics technologies and the inclusion of industry helped contribute to strong attendance at Photonics Europe 2008. Total attendance was 2,300, up from previous years’ events, with growth shown in technical areas as well as the exhibition, which included 150 exhibiting companies.

“Photonics Europe is now the place for presenting foreground results in EU-funded projects and to meet with European Commission photonics staff,” said Hugo Thienpont of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, one of the event’s three General Chairs. “I was really pleased by the quality of technical content, and with the extremely well-attended Industry Perspectives sessions. It was a good opportunity to network.”

Giancarlo C. Righini, Istituto di Fisica Applicata, and Patrick Meyrueis, Université Louis Pasteur, also served as General Chairs for the event.

Meyrueis pointed to the European Photonics Clusters meeting and the Photonics Innovation Village as highlights of the event. “The Innovation Village displayed the talent invested by bright European scientists in bridging basic science and industry to produce for emerging markets, with energy and confidence in the future of Europe, Meyrueis said. More on both events appears below.

Thursday Hot Topics session looks at materials
Thursday’s Hot Topics speakers presented research in two materials that hold unique properties for developing optoelectronic devices. James Grote, U.S. Air Force Research Lab, described the future potential for using DNA-based biopolymers as the fundamental building block for organic photonics and electronics. Haisheng Rong of Intel Corp. discussed work to exploit silicon’s high optical nonlinearity for efficient chip-scale nonlinear optical devices and lasers.

European Photonics Clusters report growing influence
An all-day meeting on Thursday provided a forum for representatives of 28 European photonics clusters meeting for the first time in Strasbourg to discuss their methods and activities, to strategize how to be more efficient in their connections with the European Union, and to hear “clear and relevant answers” from the European Union representatives who were present, said Photonics Europe General Chair Patrick Meyrueis.

Photonics clusters throughout Europe engage in encouraging collaboration in R&D among academia, research institutions, and industry; promoting an interest in science among the next generation; and informing and influencing regional and national governments. Their meeting during Photonics Europe was organized by a committee with members from Rhenaphotonics Alsace, the European Commission, and SPIE Europe.

New SPIE Fellows, from left, Patrick Meyrueis, Université Louis Pasteur, France; Pietro Ferraro, CNR-INOA, Italy; Allan Boardman, University of Salford, UK; Carlos Ferreira, Universitat de València, Spain; and Kent Choquette, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.

New SPIE Fellows named, education grants awarded
Five new SPIE Fellows were named at a luncheon on the last day of the Photonics Europe symposium, and honored for their significant scientific and technical contributions in optics, photonics, and imaging. The five are among a total of 72 new Fellows named by SPIE this year, and include:

  • Patrick Meyrueis, Université Louis Pasteur, France
  • Pietro Ferraro, CNR-INOA, Italy
  • Allan Boardman, University of Salford, UK
  • Carlos Ferreira, Universitat de València, Spain
  • Kent Choquette, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.
Fellows Luncheon speaker Alois Hauk, Agilent Technologies

SPIE President Kevin Harding also announced four grants including two made as part of a new program within SPIE’s Education and Outreach mission. Since 1978, SPIE has distributed over $3 million in individual and institutional grants.

SPIE Education and Outreach Grants awarded on Thursday were:

  • Koç University, Turkey, accepted on behalf of Ali Serpengüzel, by Emre Yuce, student Prof. Serpengüzel.
  • SPIE Thailand Chapter and National Electronics and Computer Technology Center, Thailand, accepted by Sarun Sumriddetchkajorn.

SPIE Educational Scholarships were awarded to:

  • Tal Ellenbogen, graduate student at Tel Aviv University, Israel.
  • Amy Thompson, College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida, USA.

Guest speaker Alois Hauk, Vice President and General Manager Photonic Measurement Division, Agilent Technologies, gave a presentation on directions within the communications industry.

Wednesday 9 April 2008

The Hamamatsu booth.

Exhibitors report good leads as week continues
Exhibit traffic remained strong with exhibitors reporting good leads as the Photonics Europe week progressed.

Among exhibitors with positive reports was Gavin Aston of Perkin Elmer, UK, a provider of analytical instruments for testing whether components and devices meet specifications. “We have seen a good number of potential customers at Photonics Europe,” Aston said.

ET Enterprises Ltd. booth.

“SPIE Europe’s Photonics Europe was a good show,” said Scott Kelsall of Point Source, UK.

Industry Perspectives includes OPERA 2015 perspective
The week’s Industry Perspectives programmes have offered technology-based sessions throughout the week, and included a session Wednesday afternoon focused on OPERA 2015 and the corporate and research landscapes of photonics in Europe.

Marie-Joëlle Antoine, Optics Valley, speaks at an Industry Perspectives session.

Gustav Kalbe, Head of Sector, Photonics, Information Society and Media, Directorate General, European Commission, opened the session with an overview of optics and photonics in the 7th Framework Programme. Speakers shared research on activity in the industry and resources for the community, and heard comparisons in growth and market indicators between Europe and other regions of the world. R&D must be focused on technical specialties, with innovation in diversity within a specialty, or on large potential markets, SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs told the audience.

Photonics Innovation Village
Winners of five awards for innovative prototypes were announced at a reception at the Photonics Innovation Village, jointly organised by SPIE Europe and Rhenaphotonics and held under the patronage of the European Commission. The event showcased projects from optics-photonics research groups at universities, research centres and start-up companies across Europe. A jury of qualified representatives from the photonics community chose winners in four categories and for best overall from among 15 submissions.

Awards were made to the following projects teams:

  • Best Marketability: Jean-Bernard Lecourt; Multitel, Belgium. Femtosecond-pulse fibre laser for microsurgery and marketing applications.
  • Best Design: Thomas Geernaert, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. Flexible artificial robotic skins.
  • Best Technology: Vincent Lauer, Lauer Technologies, France. 3D tomographic microscope.
  • Best Application: Sara Van Overmeire and Heidi Ottevaere, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. Micro-optical detection unit for lab-on-a-chip.
  • Best Overall Product: René Reichle and Christoff Pruss, ITO, Universität Stuttgart, Germany, and Christopher Gessenhardt, Universität Duisberg-Essen, Germany.

Women in Optics
Katharina Svanberg, SPIE Fellow and Board member, discussed her work in cancer research at Lund University with attendees at the Women in Optics reception Wednesday evening.

Students join SPIE President-elect Maria Yzuel (far right) and SPIE Student Services Lead Dirk Fabian (center with brochure) at the Chapter Breakfast.

Students enjoy Chapter Breakfast

Student Chapter leaders and students interested in developing their connections in Europe and throughout the world met for a breakfast discussion with SPIE leadership. Kevin Harding, Maria Yzuel, and current student leaders Sara Van Overmeire (Vrije Universiteit) and Amy Thompson (Univ. of Central Florida), encouraged students to pursue professional development and build their network through the resources provided to SPIE Student Chapters.

Tuesday 8 April 2008

Mawel Rafik el Mrini and SPIE President
Kevin Harding open the Exhibition.
Photonics Europe Exhibition opens, continuing the tradition of innovation in Strasbourg

Strasbourg has long been the home of technology innovation, being the site of such historical examples as the introduction to Europe of movable type by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century, and continuing through today’s numerous photonics industry and academic research facilities based in the city and surrounding area. In that context, Adjutant to the Mayor of Strasbourg Mawel Rafik el Mrini ceremonially opened the Photonics Europe exhibition on Tuesday, and welcomed visitors to the city.

Attendees explore the exhibition floor.

The Photonics Europe exhibition includes 150 exhibiting companies showing the latest in sensing, imaging, signal analysis, metrology, optical manufacturing, infrared, and laser technology products, applications, and systems. Companies are a mix of long-established firms such as LINOS and Hamamatsu to younger firms such as Mad City Labs and Phoenix BV . Exhibitors reported having a busy opening day and making many good contacts.

Exhibitors and visitors had a chance to connect during the symposium Welcome Reception Tuesday evening in the exhibit hall. The exhibition continues through Thursday.

The NEMO (Network of Excellence on Micro-optics) booth draws interest during the Welcome Reception.

Fibre potential is Tuesday’s Hot Topic

A large crowd watches Yasuhiro Koike of Keio University present at Hot Topic Session II.

Conventional assumptions about polymers as optical materials were challenged by Tuesday’s first plenary speaker Yasuhiro Koike of Keio University. Koike discussed recent work on fibre displays, and showed how micro-optic and polymer technology can “bring us back to face-to-face communication.”

Miguel González-Herráez of Universidad Alcalá reviewed techniques for making slow and fast light in optical fibres, addressing the ultimate limits as well as real perspectives for applications in practical devices.

Monday 7 April 2008

Entrepreneurship in Photonics Workshop
Interest was high at a special session on Entrepreneurship in Photonics for students and early career professionals. Organized by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel SPIE Student Chapter, seventy attendees came to hear four talented speakers describe their experience as CEOs, founders, and photonics industry watchers.

Kathleen Perkins, CEO of Breault Research Organization, spoke on the need for creative scientists and engineers to address current global problems, and the potential opportunities this creates for business development. She particularly advised prospective entrepreneurs to work on their communication and people skills, so that their ideas can rise to the top in the global marketplace.

Marc Goldchstein discusses the role of multidisciplinary teams.

Frank Wyrowski of LightTrans GmbH noted that in the long process of developing a product, “high tech company founders often love their tech too much and forget their customers.”

Marc Goldchstein of Vrije Universiteit Brussel echoed this wisdom,“business people often bring embarrassing questions to scientists, such as, ‘Who needs this?’ and ‘Have you talked to your customers?’” Technical people also need to learn a wide range of additional skills, or build multidisciplinary teams, to minimize the risk of their start-up.

Gary Colquhoun, CEO of Fibre Photonics, discussed how companies need to work globally and prototype quickly to succeed. Some regions of the world are particularly ripe for innovation and business growth due to R&D expenditures, patent holdings, and an abundance of skilled workers. However, success still depends on business skills such as marketing and product development that many technologists lack. In his view, “heroes die, but teams survive.”

Students were enthusiastic about the program, and spent the evening discussing their potential as entrepreneurial leaders with the speakers over French cuisine at local restaurant.

Attendees enjoy the VIP Reception.

Photonics Europe opens with reports on opportunity
Opportunities and challenges for photonics research and innovation in Europe were presented to a full-room audience by opening-day speakers at SPIE Europe’s Photonics Europe symposium in Strasbourg, France, Monday morning.

Hugo Thienpont of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, one of three General Chairs of Photonics Europe, opened the symposium and introduced the first speaker, Malgorzata Kujwinska of Politechnika Warszawska, Past President of SPIE and Vice President of Photonics 21. Kujawinska outlined the structure and goals of Photonics 21, a voluntary association of industrial enterprises and other photonics stakeholders in Europe. Working groups in five industrial areas and in the area of education and training are tasked with developing strategies to implement the Photonics 21 mission of helping to establish Europe as a leader in each area. View the Presentation (PDF)

Photonics has gained a higher profile in Europe under European Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding, said Ronan Burgess, Scientific Project Manager in the area of Photonics at the European Commission. Major activities in Europe are in lighting, measurement and automated vision, production technology, medical technology and life sciences, defense production, and optical computing and systems. View the Presentation (PDF)

Current challenges relate to enhancing visibility of the field, raising investment funding, and educating the next generation of scientists and engineers. Partnerships are an important part of the solution Burgess said: partnerships between industry and academics; among the EU, member states, and industry; and between public and private companies and educators. The next wave of opportunity is expected to be in photonics applications and in organic and disruptive technologies.

Burgess and Eugene Arthurs, CEO of SPIE, both stressed that scientists need to do more to help raise visibility of both needs and opportunities. Scientists are “too modest” about their abilities and contributions to the betterment of society, Arthurs said, and need to speak up so that the importance of funding research is understood and that a new generation of students are inspired to become scientists and engineers. Arthurs illustrated how currency-valuation trends, aging demographics in Europe and North America, finite natural resources, and climate change are adding new challenges to be solved and changing the balance of where R&D and production are done in the world.

Awards recognize contributions to photonics and optics
SPIE Past President Brian Culshaw announced the presentation of two awards during opening-day activities at Photonics Europe.

Brian Culshaw, SPIE Past President, announces the A.E. Conrady and SPIE Europe Recognition awards.

Adolf Lohmann of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg has been named winner of SPIE’s 2008 A.E. Conrady Award, in recognition of his invention of the computer-generated hologram (CGH), which revolutionized the world of optical testing and design. The Conrady Award is presented annually in recognition of exceptional contributions in design, construction, and testing of optical systems and instrumentation, without which the technology would not have progressed to its present state.

Henri Rajbenbach, a Scientific Project Manager at the European Commission, was awarded the 2008 SPIE Europe Recognition Award, in honor of his service and dedication to the European photonics community. Rajbenbach has been project manager in the areas of microelectronic integration, sensors and displays since 1997, and has played an important role in stimulating activity in photonics in Europe.

Monday's Poster Session drew a large crowd.