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  • 5100 Attend Optics + Photonics '07
Sep 2007
BELLINGHAM, Wash., Sept. 27, 2007 -- About 5100 attended Optics + Photonics 2007, held last month in San Diego. This year’s event was organized into symposia on research and applications in nanoscience and engineering, solar energy, photonic devices and optical engineering. More than 3300 papers were on the program this year, many presented to capacity crowds.

The annual event continues to provide essential information and connections to maintain a technological edge and gain a competitive advantage, attendees said.

Comments from the 270 exhibitors were positive, emphasizing high-quality leads, increased attendance and the unique balance of industry and research at the event, SPIE said in a statement. Nicolaus Cambert of Precision Optical, Costa Mesa, Calif., said, “Optics+Photonics is extremely advantageous to our company because of its combination of research and production resources. Understanding and implementing modern optical technology is crucial to maintaining business and growth."

“The personal interactions for me are very valuable,” said David Begley of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., of Boulder, Colo., during the exhibition. “Just yesterday in the exhibit, I had a discussion with somebody for about an hour, and it essentially made the trip.”

The technical program included several well-attended plenary presentations. For example:

• Liming Dai, Wright Brothers Institute Endowed Chair Professor of Nanomaterials in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Dayton, discussed recent developments in the use of polymers as electrically insulating materials. (SPIE video interview:
• Tom Feist, manager of the Thin Films Laboratory at GE Global Research, Niskayuna, N.Y., discussed opportunities for moving solar energy toward a central role in meeting global energy requirements. He said the key lies in bringing together lower cost and higher efficiency, possibly in the form of multijunction devices. (SPIE video interview:
• Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop, head of the School of Physical Sciences and a director of the Centre for Biophotonics and Laser Science at the University of Queensland, Australia, discussed developments in optically driven micro/nanosystems and how the use of linear and angular momentum can be used to drive these tiny machines.
• Michael Heller, who holds a professor of bioengineering and electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, San Diego, discussed the use of nanotechnology in the treatment and diagnosis of cancer. Nanotechnology promises to yield earlier detection and thus improve the chances of treating cancer. (SPIE video:
• Gregory Ashley of SunEdison, Beltsville, Md., talked about distributed solar energy systems, whereby a "big-box" store or other large building might install rooftop full of solar panels to generate enough power for itself and its neighbors.
• Steve Eglash, a consultant to the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), gave an overview of US Department of Energy (DOE) and NREL programs to accelerate growth in the solar industry. He noted that venture capital investment in solar energy recently has more than doubled, from $160 million in 2005 to $360 million in 2006. He said that the DOE, through the Solar America Initiative, seeks to make photovoltaics cost-competitive by 2015.

Members of 61 SPIE student chapters participated in activities including a well-received workshop on topics such as writing resumes, publishing journal articles, delivering an effective conference presentation and developing leadership skills. Thirty-four student chapters representing universities with strong optics programs in 15 countries displayed their work in the exhibition hall. SPIE provides significant financial assistance to students as well as networking opportunities. Of $290,000 in scholarship and grant awards to be awarded by SPIE in 2007, $60,000 will go to education and outreach grants, SPIE said.

Conference papers are being published in the SPIE Digital Library:

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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