BALTIMORE, Md., June 4 -- The latest developments and potential applications of photonics technology were presented by a panel of researchers at a CLEO/QELS press luncheon Tuesday. Yong-qing Li and John Sutherland of East Carolina University, Jeff Squire of the Colorado School of Mines and Yabai He of Macquarie University covered topics from biotechnology to homeland defense. Sutherland described Li's work with optical tweezers and Raman spectroscopy in identifying both biological and nonbiological particles. The work is aimed at developing sensors for fast, noninvasive identification of biological agents at the single-cell level. The work is expected to lead to advances in detecting toxic bioagents in sites such as airports, sporting events and shopping malls. Researchers describe technology advances to media attending a CLEO press luncheon. Squire reported on his work in developing an automated, layer-by-layer imaging of soft tissues. The technique employs a femtosecond laser take images of a layer of the specimen and ablates the imaged layer, then images the newly exposed layer. Combining the images provides a 3-D image of the area. The all-optical histology procedure promises to accelerate fundamental research on areas of soft tissue such as the brain. He described the development of a compact, low-cost detector of gasses that employs a rapidly swept, CW cavity ringdown spectroscopy technique. According to He, though cavity ringdown detectors have been around for a while, his system is constructed of available photonic and fiber optic components developed for the communications industry. The use of off-the-shelf components promises a cost-effective solution for a variety of medical and industrial applications. Of particular interest are breath analysis for diseases such as neonatal jaundice, asthma, peptic ulcers and several blood conditions.