Photonics West, held last week in San Jose, Calif,, drew more than 15,000 attendees, shattering last year's record. SPIE (The International Society for Optical Engineering) said the event was its most successful technical meeting and exhibition ever. The number of exhibiting companies also broke records. There were 786 exhibiting companies at the Photonics West exhibition, with an additional 90 at the Biomedical Optics Symposium (BiOS) weekend exhibit, which constitutes a 32-percent increase over last year for the BiOS exhibit. "With almost 700 more attendees than last years' event, Photonics West proves that the optics and photonics industry is stronger than ever," SPIE said. The interdisciplinary mixing of technologies among the four technical symposia continues to appeal to participants from around the world. The Biomedical Optics and Optoelectronic Symposia experienced significant growth in the number of participants this year, and the BiOS weekend exhibit grew by 30 percent, to 90 companies. With the exhibition selling out seven months before the event, and with a significant waiting list of hopeful companies, SPIE said it is looking forward to using a new Exhibition Pavilion, to be built by the City of San Jose and completed by June 2005. This conveniently located structure will house over 300 companies and will have other exhibit-friendly amenities not found in the expanded exhibit areas used for the last few years. "We're excited to get into the new facility," states SPIE Exhibits Manager, Roberta Hart, "We've really been bursting at the seams!" The buzz among all attendees was positive. As is traditional for Photonics West, companies unveiled their latest products, technical attendees presented their latest research and applications, and renowned plenary speakers and BiOS Hot Topics presenters drew crowds. "As SPIE celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Society, we exist to serve the community," said SPIE Executive Director Eugene Arthurs. "From all we heard, this meeting was a great success in this regard. And with the help of the community, we will continue to improve the value of this event."