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New Technology, Products on Display

Photonics.com
Aug 2006
BOSTON, Aug. 14, 2006 -- Optics East 2006, the only comprehensive optics event on the East Coast, will host the researchers and the research behind many of the current breakthroughs in nanotechnology, biology, telecommunications and environmental science when it takes place Oct. 1-4 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

The conference and trade show are presented by SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering, and offer participants the chance to research vendors, establish new contacts, meet with current suppliers and network with colleagues at the two-day exhibition and also attend a multitude of technical programs during all four days of the event.

The plenary sessions on Monday, Oct. 2, will be presented by Murali S. Nair, program director of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program; Mario Paniccia, a senior principal engineer and director of the Photonic Technology Lab at Intel Corp.; and Gert J. Eilenberger, head of the unit for optical networking at the Alcatel Research & Innovation Center in Stuttgart, Germany.

Speaking from 9:30 a.m. to noon on the "NSF/SBIR Innovation Model", Nair will give participants general information about the SBIR/Small Business Technology Transfer programs. The presentation will describe the NSF/SBIR Innovation Model and provide key program statistics. The review criteria and review process will be explained, and insight into upcoming topics areas and the development of various future solicitations (with special focus on electronics) will be provided.

The funding of small businesses pursuing electro-optics, photonics, microelectromechanical systems, radio frequency, instrumentation and sensor technologies will be described and commercialization strategies used by the NSF/SBIR program to help portfolio companies will be presented.

Paniccia's presentation, "Prospects of Silicon Photonics for future VLSI Interconnects", begins at 10:40 a.m. and will provide an overview of silicon photonics research at Intel and discuss the key building blocks needed for "siliconizing" photonics.

The silicon chip has been the mainstay of the electronics industry for the last 40 years and has revolutionized the way the world operates. Today a silicon chip the size of a fingernail contains nearly one billion transistors and has the computing power that only a decade ago would take up an entire room of servers.

Silicon photonics that are mainly based on silicon on insulator (SOI) technology has recently attracted attention since it offers an opportunity for low cost opto-electronic solutions for applications ranging from telecommunications down to chip-to-chip interconnects. Recent advances and research breakthroughs in silicon photonic device performance over last few years have shown that silicon can be considered a material onto which future optical devices can be built.

While significant efforts are needed to improve device performance and to "commercialize" these technologies, progress is moving at a rapid rate. If successful, silicon photonics may come to dominate the optical communications as it has the electronics industry. Paniccia will discuss all these things in his presentation.

His talk will also discuss if and how the combination of advanced CMOS electronics with photonics could be used for future optical interconnects and what key challenges are needed to be addressed in order to make this transition. Some of the practical issues and challenges with processing silicon photonic devices in a high-volume CMOS manufacturing environment will also be discussed.

Eilenberger's talk, which begins at 11:20 a.m., will center around flexible optical transport networks and Layer 2 technique demands and trends.

A number of technology conferences will also be held during Optics East 2006. Symposia are in three major topic areas -- Life Sciences, Sensors and Industry Applications and Communications/ITCom -- and topics include: optoelectronic devices: physics, fabrication and application; photonic crystals and photonic crystal fibers for sensing applications; nanomaterial synthesis and integration for sensors, electronics, photonics and electro-optics; advanced photon-counting techniques; terahertz physics, devices and systems; optomechatronic actuators and manipulation, optomechatronic micro/nano devices and components; photonics in automotive and transportation; optics for natural resources, agriculture and foods; wavelet applications in industrial procession, next-generation communication and sensor networks and nanophotonics materials, devices and systems for communication.

A special session, "Smart Medical Home", will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 4, from 2-4 p.m. The discussion, chaired by Israel Gannot of Tel-Aviv University in Israel and George Washington University in Washington, D.C., will feature a design for Duke University's Smart Home project.

Panel participants, from the disciplines of medicine, biomedical sciences, architecture and engineering, will include: Alice Pentland, chair of the Center of Future Health at Rochester University; Kent Larson, chair of the House_n project, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Diane Cook, director of the MavHome Project, University of Texas/Arlington; Tom Rose, SmartHouse program director, Duke; and Steven W. Kell, general manager, Medical Automation Research Center, University of Virginia.

The session will deal with different aspects of the smart medical home idea, which addresses the physical and psychological needs of elderly people to continue to live normal lives in their own homes instead of moving into retirement homes, nursing homes or assisted living facilities, and how that can be achieved through advances in medicine, sensing and monitoring technologies and health informatics.

After the presentations there will be a panel discussion with active participation from the audience on the presented issues, as well as an exploration of the psychological and philosophical aspects of the smart medical home concept.

For more information or to register, visit: www.spie.org/events/oe


GLOSSARY
electro-optics
1. The branch of physics that deals with the use of electrical energy to create or manipulate light waves, generally by changing the refractive index of a light-propagating material; 2. Collectively, the devices used to affect the intersection of electrical energy and light. Compare with optoelectronics.
nanotechnology
The use of atoms, molecules and molecular-scale structures to enhance existing technology and develop new materials and devices. The goal of this technology is to manipulate atomic and molecular particles to create devices that are thousands of times smaller and faster than those of the current microtechnologies.
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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