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  • Laser Munich to focus on biophotonics

Apr 2013
Laura Marshall, Managing Editor,

MUNICH – Laser surgery, optical techniques for diagnosis and photonics-based treatments will be featured when the bi- ennial Laser World of Photonics and the accompanying World of Photonics Congress are held this spring. The technical conference will welcome visitors to the International Congress Center München May 12-16, and the exhibition will be held May 13-16 in the adjacent Messe München trade fair center.

The 2013 fair will revolve around three focus topics: Biophotonics and Medical Technology, Lasers and Laser Systems for Production Engineering, and Illumination and Energy.

Attendees swarm the exhibit halls at Laser World of Photonics in Munich in 2011. Courtesy of Messe München GmbH.

The biophotonics portion of the event will include a presentation by Germany’s Biophotonics Research Group, founded in 2002 and funded by the Federal Ministry of Research. Examples of the group’s work include using superresolution light nanoscopy to examine living cells, and techniques to identify bacteria early and improve hygiene in hospitals.

The primary focus of biophotonics research currently rests on diagnostic methods, said Dr. Carsten M. Philipp, president of the German Association for Laser Medicine and chief senior physician in the laser medicine department at the Evangelical Elisabeth Clinic in Berlin. “Photonics techniques make it possible to characterize and depict groups of cells, i.e., to differentiate between sick and healthy cells in living organisms – on location, without taking tissue samples, and practically ‘on the fly’ – i.e., in real time,” he said.

Approaches such as optical coherence tomography, confocal and two-photon microscopy, and Raman spectroscopy are already at work in the laboratory; the challenge is developing clinic-ready devices that can be integrated into endoscopes, according to Dr. Ronald Sroka, who is in charge of the Laser Research Laboratory at the LIFE Center of the LMU University Clinic in Munich, where he is working on new techniques of this type. He is also secretary general of the German Association for Laser Medicine (DGLM).

Raman spectrometers are going mobile. This handheld device is just as efficient as a conventional laboratory spectrometer, according to the manufacturer. Courtesy of Polytec.

Philipp and Sroka will chair an Application Panel with practical lectures on research trends and physicians’ needs; other lecture series will focus on optical diagnostics and ophthalmology, lasers for analysis and imaging, and endoscopy.

In addition, the European Conferences on Biomedical Optics will be held in conjunction with the World of Photonics Congress from May 12 to 16, organized by The Optical Society (OSA) and SPIE.

In its 40th year, the event is just as relevant as in the beginning – perhaps even more so. “Photonics has justifiably – and in the meantime even politically – been identified as one of the key technologies for the current century,” said Dr. Wilhelm Kaenders, chairman of the Technical Advisory Board for Laser World of Photonics and CEO of Toptica Photonics AG. “On all continents, optical tools contribute considerably to helping us deal with the great challenges of our time. Photonics provides solutions in a wide variety of sectors such as power engineering, mobility, information and communication, safety technology and health care.”

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