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SPIE Annual Meeting Highlights Nanotech

Photonics.com
Aug 2005
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 4 -- Held July 31-August 4 in conjunction with SPIE's 50th anniversary, Optics and Photonics 2005 featured approximately 5500 participants and more than 270 exhibitors, with over 3600 contributed papers, including more than 1000 presentations covering the latest advances in nanotechnology.

2005 SPIE President Malgorzata Kujawinska of Politechnika Warszawska (right) and 1955 SPIE Past President Richard Councilman of R.R. Councilman Consulting chat at the founders reception and dinner at Optics & Photonics 2005 in San Diego. (Photo courtesy SPIE)    
The most varied technical conference in SPIE's history got a head start on Saturday, July 30, with a student leadership workshop composed of 80 SPIE student chapter leaders from more than 20 countries. Keynote speaker and SPIE board member Gloria Putnam of Eastman Kodak Co. outlined the possibilities that lay before students interested in science, and SPIE President Malgorzata Kujawinska of Politechnika Warszawska (Warsaw University of Technology) spoke about efforts to enhance the relationship between SPIE student and regional chapters.
   Optics and Photonics 2005 began in earnest on Sunday, July 31, as many of the engineers and designers, corporate managers, application and product developers, project managers and technical managers in attendance gathered for a program on atmospheric communication, control and imaging chaired by Jennifer Ricklin of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Advanced Technology Office (ATO). One of the better-attended lectures of this group of presentations on "free-space optics" was an invited paper given as part of the systems design and analysis session cochaired by Ricklin and David G. Voelz, New Mexico State University.
   Titled "DARPA Free-Space Optics" and presented by Steven Griggs of DARPA, the presentation highlighted some of the ways DARPA researchers are trying to provide the desired bandwidth and reliability for mobile links. Typically an RF link is employed to make a data connection, but when this link breaks down an all-optical link is established to try to make the connection. The new approach is to use both links all the time and build technology into the network to make it responsible for the transmission and reception of the data.
   Called the Optical and Radio Frequency (RF) Combined Link Experiment (ORCLE) program, it combines free space optical and RF communications into a single networked system to provide compact, robust, high-bandwidth, mobile communications, primarily to military forces. Officials expect ORCLE to combine the high data rate capability of laser communications, the high reliability of RF communications and clever network management to ensure high-quality, reliable networked communications, even if some of the links are affected by atmospheric or physical obstructions.
   The day's technical program was capped by the symposium-wide plenary presentation by K. Eric Drexler, founder of the Foresight Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on nanotechnology, who is widely acknowledged to be the "father of nanotechnology." Drexler agreed on very short notice to speak in place of Nobel Laureate Richard E. Smalley of Rice University, who was to receive the 2005 Visionary Award from SPIE for his pioneering work on carbon nanostructures. Presented to a packed hall, Drexler highlighted technical directions to be explored by the recently announced Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems, a project led by an alliance of Battelle and the Foresight Nanotech Institute and sponsored by a broad spectrum of industry groups.
   Drexler outlined present laboratory research that could contribute to the development of productive nanosystems that might first imitate and later, in theory, exceed biological capabilities for molecular fabrication. Drexler argued that progress along this path will provide a range of increasingly sophisticated components and systems for nanotechnology, leading to a bottom-up revolution in fabrication technology.
   As the event was held in conjunction with SPIE's 50th anniversary, celebrations to mark the milestone began with the founders reception and dinner, which was held on Sunday evening at the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina in San Diego, home of the first annual general meeting of the society. The founders reception and dinner was held to honor the members of SPIE instrumental in starting the society.
   Master of ceremonies and Past President (1975) Brian Thompson of the University of Rochester recognized and introduced the early members of the society, who reminisced and recognized each other's contributions to SPIE and to optics. For more information, visit:
www.spie.org


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