The Final Days of CLEO 2009
Pittsfield, June 9, 2009
Nestled back in to the comforts of my desk and all that is familiar, I find my mind drifting back to the Charm City and, in particular, the Baltimore Convention Center, where I met so many people who made my first trade show the most enjoyable experience I could ask for.
On my last day at the show, I visited with Tadayuki Imai of NTT Advanced Technology Corp., who spoke to a colleague and I about the new KTN crystal technology the company has used to develop the KTN optical beam scanner module. While the KTN crystal was discovered by IBM about 50 years ago, NTT has found a way to enhance the crystal growth technology for optical devices. Their optical beam scanning phenomenon, which utilizes the KTN crystal, has the ability to bend beams at very fast speeds. Known as the Space-Charge-Controlled Electro-Optic Effect, the beam is cumulatively deflected as it propagates through the crystal.
My last venture at the show was attending the PhAST Market Focus Session on Biophotonics Diagnostics on the exhibit floor. The presentation included some of the industry’s finest presenting on the business development and commercial applications for products in the Biophotonics diagnostics sector. Moderated by Marco Arrigoni of Coherent Inc., presentations were given by Colin Seaton of Fianium, William Yang of BaySpec Inc., Thomas Hellerer of Toptica Photonics AG, Nigel Gallaher of Coherent Inc., Marcos Dantus from BioPhotonic Solutions Inc. and Ken Kaufmann from Hamamatsu Photonics.
The session brought to light visible and infrared lasers as a versatile tool for a variety of processes when interacting with molecules, cells and tissues for diagnostics purposes. I found Yang’s presentation to be most helpful, as he gave a brief timeline of products and their evolution over the years. Hamamatsu’s Streak Camera, an ultrafast photonic recorder with time resolutions down to 200 fs and photon counting sensitivity, was another notable feature of the session. Its capability to make measurements much faster before a sample dies or changes occur within it is suitable for many biophotonic applications.
While I enjoyed much of the show, PhotonXpo was the most enjoyable and helpful experience I had at CLEO 2009. As the products coordinator for all three of our publications, I found it very informative and interesting to see all the products laid out for viewing. Although product releases regularly float across my desk and on my computer screen, one cannot actually grasp the actual sizes of some of the products unless actually seeing them up close. Like a Monet painting, it was often difficult for me to fully appreciate the products I was writing about until I actually saw them on the showroom floor last week. I can now confidently write about product technologies that I was once not quite as familiar with.
After having some time to reflect, I can honestly say that CLEO 2009 was one of the best experiences I have had since joining Laurin Publishing. It forced me to reach out to industry leaders to better understand this industry, providing me with more confidence and a better understanding of the technology I work with daily. I look forward to attending more shows in the future, and getting to make contacts within the industry. For now, it’s back to the endless e-mails in our press boxes. Thanks for following my adventures in Baltimore!
Ashley N. Paddock
Baltimore, June 2, 2009
With the sun shining down in the Charm City, I geared up for another productive day at CLEO. I met up with my colleagues, Krista and Lynn, to attend a breakfast with some of OSA's finest, Colleen Morrison and Angela Stark.
We enjoyed a nice breakfast and discussed the upcoming festivities they are planning for the 50th anniversary celebration of the laser. LaserFest 2010, organized jointly by the American Physical Society and OSA, will emphasize the impact of lasers throughout history and highlights their potential in the future. The yearlong event will help to showcase the prominence of the laser in the world today.
Walking back to the convention center, I found myself getting excited to walk the exhibit hall floor. While I had an idea of what to expect, I have to admit that it was actually a little overwhelming. From the press box it was nice to see the entire layout, but when you're actually down on the floor, it's a little intimidating. My nerves began to lead me into my shell. I was somewhat unsure how to approach the floor and all the exhibitors.
With business cards in hand and a smile on my face, I began to make the rounds with a colleague who gave me some pointers on how to approach people on the floor. All my anxieties dissipated after the first few greetings. The exhibitors were the kindest, most personable people to interact with. I had this idea that they were superhuman people, when in fact many of them were just like myself. I even had an enjoyable conversation with a gentleman at Bristol Instruments about The Big Bang Theory! It was nice to finally meet with the people I had only previously conversed with via e-mail.
Boston Micromachine's adaptive optics technology, on display at CLEO/IQEC 2009. (Photonics Media photo by Ashley N. Paddock)
I met with Steven Menn, director of product marketing at Boston Micromachines Corp., to learn about their new product, the Mini-DM deformable mirror system. Although I have composed many product write-ups on adaptive optics, I never quite fully had an understanding of the technology. Menn took the time to explain the MEMS deformable mirrors to me, complete with a hand-drawn diagram, helping me to better grasp the technology and its applications.
After strolling the exhibit hall for an hour, I attended the Press Luncheon hosted by OSA. While dining with the industry's top media outlets, Tim Carrig, CLEO program co-chair and PhAST Applications Track chair, moderated the briefing titled Laser Applications: Today and Tomorrow.
The session began with a presentation on the femtoFit ultrafast laser by Marcos Dantus, president and CEO of BioPhotonic Solutions Inc., and the 2009 PhAST/Laser Focus World Innovation Award winner. Aristide Dogariu, professor of optics at the University of Central Florida, discussed his findings on influencing cell motility with light. Stuart McNaugh, a laser scientist at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, described the first-ever solid-state laser that can generate more than 100 kW power.
The session concluded with a presentation on the world's highest resolution projector by Forrest Williams, principal optical engineer at Evans & Sutherland. The 8192 x 4096 projectors features 33.6 megapixels per frame, more than 15 times that of the standard high definition televisions being sold today.
The afternoon came to a close with an exhibitor's reception hosted by Photonics Media at Camden Yards. After a long day of mingling with the industry's top exhibitors and researchers, I was beat. With only one day left here at the show, I'm retiring early to make the best of my last full day on the exhibit hall floor.
Ashley N. Paddock
So Many Sessions, So Little Time...Baltimore, June 1, 2009
The Baltimore Convention Center was already abuzz when I arrived at 8 a.m. for registration. I quickly gathered the informational packets, complimentary bag and goodies given to me and headed off to the press room for my badge. Greeted by Colleen Morrison and Angela Stark of OSA, my colleague and I grabbed a drink and acclimated ourselves with the CLEO program booklet we had received. As my first show, I was in awe of the eagle-eye view from the press room of the exhibition floor being constructed for Tuesday's grand opening.
Juggling two bags and adorned in my press badge, I confidently ventured off to my first technical session, excited to finally begin the schedule I had so tediously prepared the week before. I took a seat near the front of the room, preparing to take diligent notes of the six presentations at the Pollutant and Emission Sensing session.
With a packed room of roughly 100 people in attendance, the technical program began with a presentation from Artium Technologies Inc. on characterizing particulate and droplet size distributions. It addressed the serious health risks that arise from black carbon (soot), how cloud measurements are providing submicron level readings of said soot, and how research is being done on what happens when it is heated.
The session continued with presentations on an ultracompact multipass absorption spectroscopy platform that measures and locates carbon, characteristics of soot aggregates based on polarization modulated scattering, multiple gas sensor based on super-luminescent diodes for combustion monitoring, and real time ammonia detection in exhaled human breath with quantum cascade laser-based sensors.
Most notably, I found the collaborative efforts by researchers at Princeton, CUNY, CAS in China, and Daylight Solutions Inc. to be most enjoyable. Using a quantum cascade laser absorption spectrometer, the team conducted a series of field trials at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing on the urban air quality. The team focused its efforts on detecting ammonia, carbon dioxide and ozone in the atmosphere, collecting data for three months. While their current focus is on data from pre-, during and post-Olympics, a newer model will be deployed to Ghana.
While I found my morning technical session to be an enjoyable experience, the afternoon program on endoscopic imaging applications proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated. With only a finite background of the field, it was a challenge for me to understand the breadth of the presentations in only a few short minutes. While frantically taking notes, I found the sessions to be somewhat like speed dating - trying to provide as much information as possible into a 15-minute session. While I know very little of speed dating, I can assume that there is a lot of pressure on the presenters to keep within the allotted time. Overall, I found that their groundbreaking research to be very interesting, but wished they were allotted more than fifteen minutes to present.
I ventured back to my hotel room to regroup for the opening plenary session. While my preparation provided me with a basic foundation of Edward Moses of Lawrence Livermore National Lab and his work, the session was the most enjoyable of the day. An eloquent and very thorough presenter, Moses grabbed the full ballroom's attention by asking if we could build a miniature sun on the Earth. With the now operational National Ignition Facility (NIF), he answered that it is likely as the NIF provides the capabilities necessary to demonstrate fusion with its 192 laser beams.
With over two million lines of code and an integrated control room, NIF is able to operate on its own. He expressed to the audience that providing clean energy is humankind's challenge, one that needs to be resolved today, not 50 years from now. He concluded the presentation explaining that the goal of the lab is to now execute its first series of implosion experiments and to create a stable burning platform over the next three years.
PhotonXpo, the exhibit at CLEO, gets underway Tuesday. I look forward to mingling with the more than 300 participating companies, 25 percent of which come from outside the United States. While on the exhibit floor, I will take advantage of the PhAST Track Market Focus sessions being offered on photonics for energy, biophotonics and photonics for security and sensing.
Overall, my first day at a trade show has been most enjoyable. What fears I had before arriving have been left far behind. I look forward with anticipation of meeting more of the industry's distinguished researchers and absorbing as much knowledge as possible.
Ashley N. Paddock
Baltimore, May 31, 2009
Gearin' Up for CLEO
One could say I am new to the photonics scene. Starting roughly two years ago at Laurin Publishing Co., I have come a long way, learning about the industry and all the wonderful applications it has to offer to the world. So when I was asked to travel to the Charm City, I was excited, yet had this unsettling anxiety. All these questions came to mind. Am I ready to take on this challenge? Am I confident with my knowledge of the industry? Most importantly, am I able to represent the company in the most positive light?
I accepted the challenge with, albeit a little hesitation, yet I knew I had this in the bag. In the days leading up to my departure, I started over-analyzing every little detail. Not about what was expected of me and if I was able to fulfill my duties, but rather I found myself anxious about whether or not my baggage would be lost and if the hotel shuttle was going to leave me stranded at the airport. Certainly these things were out of my control, but nevertheless, they plagued my mind.
Ultimately, my flight went smoothly, my luggage was first off the belt at the airport and the shuttle was right outside waiting for me. I was dropped off safely at my hotel door and was allowed to check in early. Everything was panning out rather smoothly. While settling into my hotel room, I felt all the stresses of the week melt away. Looking around I realized I worried myself for nothing. Although I've traveled quite a bit, this was my first official business trip and somehow I built it up in my head to be larger than necessary.
To fill the late afternoon, I ventured out with a colleague to take in the sites of the inner harbor. We walked around the boardwalk, enjoying many interesting attractions, including the Science Museum, a park offering trapeze lessons and the USS Constellation docked in the harbor. We enjoyed a nice dinner overlooking the water (although, not a pleasant odor to smell) and were fortunate enough to take in a live jazz band performing on the docks. As we hiked back to the hotel watching the sun setting over the Baltimore skyline, I began to think about what was in store for the day ahead.
I thought I would ease into my first trade show with morning and afternoon technical sessions, as well as attending the much-talked-about plenary session in the evening. I find myself excited with the anticipation of meeting some of the industry's finest and to finally see firsthand what I've been reading about in press releases for the past 24 months.
If my travels are a reflection of the week ahead, it should be smooth sailing from here. Now if I could just figure out how to flush my hotel room toilet…
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