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  • SPIE: Optics + Photonics 2013 Shows Growth, Vitality
Sep 2013
SAN DIEGO, Sept. 6, 2013 — With busy exhibition aisles, overflowing plenary audiences and more than 70 technical conferences, this year’s SPIE Optics + Photonics show offered attendees a stimulating, fast-paced week that displayed growth and vitality, according to show organizers SPIE.

Total attendance exceeded 4500, up more than 5 percent over last year, the society said. The number of companies participating in the industry exhibition also increased by 7 percent to 178 vendors showcasing products across the optics, nano, LED and photovoltaic markets. And student chapter displays were up almost 20 percent, with 75 universities represented this year, SPIE said.

Exhibitors reported a good week, with busy booths throughout the three-day exhibition, along with more and even stronger leads than in recent years. As one representative noted, “We had one lead that was so hot that the customer wanted to know how fast we could deliver the product.”

Z Microsystems characterized Optics + Photonics visitors as “a good crowd, tech-savvy.” The company has been providing military displays and is moving into biomedical applications.

The unique multidisciplinary synergy of the event and strong technical program worked for both technical attendees and exhibitors. Symposia were organized in NanoScience and Engineering, Organic Photonics and Electronics, Solar Energy and Technology, and Optical Engineering and Applications, with a professional development program and topical technical events augmenting conference presentations and the exhibition. The SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation symposium, held biennially, was also featured in 2013.

Federico Capasso of Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences was among technical participants who praised the program. In his plenary talk, Capasso called SPIE’s event “the most exciting conference in nanoscience and nanotechnology.”

Capasso, co-inventor of the quantum cascade laser and known as the father of bandgap engineering, was presented with the 2013 Gold Medal of SPIE, the society’s highest honor, during the SPIE Awards and Recognition Banquet on Aug. 28.

SPIE Industry and Market Strategist Steve Anderson reported to exhibitors about efforts underway to collect revenue and job numbers to help raise awareness of the impact and importance of the photonics industry — an important step in gaining support for policy directions and funding.

Anderson recalled the announcement at Optics + Photonics last year of the release of the National Academies report “Optics and Photonics, Essential Technologies for Our Nation,” and provided an update on the National Photonics Initiative (NPI) launched as a direct result of the report’s recommendations.

Goals of the NPI, sponsored by SPIE and several other industry societies, are to raise awareness about photonics among policy makers, the media and the public; increase collaboration among the community; and drive US funding and investment in photonics.

“The NPI has legs, and it is moving forward — it’s an exciting time,” Anderson said. He urged individuals and companies to “join the movement,” pointing to resources at

SPIE Optics + Photonics 2014 will be held Aug. 17-21 in the San Diego Convention Center. The 2014 exhibition will move to the Sails Pavilion, adjacent to the upstairs conference rooms.

For more information about the show, as well as photos and videos, visit: 

quantum cascade laser
A Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) is a type of semiconductor laser that emits light in the mid- to far-infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Quantum cascade lasers offer many benefits: They are tunable across the mid-infrared spectrum from 5.5 to 11.0 µm (900 cm-1 to 1800 cm-1); provide a rapid response time; and provide spectral brightness that is significantly brighter than even a synchrotron source. Quantum cascade lasers comprise alternating layers of semiconductor...
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