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3-D TV, Bio-optics Hot at FiO
Oct 2009
SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 2, 2009 -- The future of 3-D TV, laser fusion and exawatt lasers, bio-optics breakthroughs and illumination-aware imaging for producing better robotic vision are just a few of the hot topics to be discussed during the Optical Society of America's (OSA) Frontiers in Optics (FiO), taking place Oct. 11-15 at the Fairmont and Sainte Claire hotels in San Jose.

FiO 2009 is OSA’s 93rd Annual Meeting and is collocated with Laser Science XXV, the annual meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Laser Science (DLS). The two meetings unite the OSA and APS communities for five days of cutting-edge presentations, fascinating invited speakers and a variety of special events spanning a broad range of topics in physics, biology and chemistry.

The FiO 2009 conference will also offer a number of short courses and an exhibit floor featuring leading optics companies.

During a special FiO symposium, The Future of 3-D Television, keynote speaker Rod Archer, vice president of cinema products at RealD Inc., will offer an overview of 3-D movie systems already in use in some 1700 screens around the world. Archer will discuss the current state-of-the-art, the challenges and the opportunities of 3-D cinema technologies.

Martin Banks of the University of California, Berkeley, will discuss the difficulties of creating 3-D images free of perceptual distortions that don't cause headaches, as well as his own solution, a temporally multiplexed volumetric display, in which a high-speed lens is switched on and off rapidly in synch with the image being displayed to create nearly correct focus cues.

Kevin Thompson of Optical Research Associates will lay out the future for the coming generation of head-worn displays, based on his work with Jannick Rolland of the University of Rochester's Institute of Optics, and Masahiro Kawakita of NHK Science & Technology Research Labs, Japan, will present an overview and a prototype of 3-D TV system based on integral photography technology.

Also during the symposium, Gregg Favalora of Acutality Systems will present an overview of one type of technology that moves away from glasses: volumetric displays, which project images onto high-speed rotating screens. Brian Schowengerdt of the University of Washington will describe a volumetric display that scans multiple color-modulated light beams across the retina of the viewer to form images of virtual objects with correct focus cues. Nasser Peyghambarian of the University of Arizona will present a prototype of a large-area 3-D updateable holographic display using photorefractive polymers. The rewritable polymer material is a significant breakthrough for holographic display technology.

In other FiO presentations, Todd Ditmire of the University of Texas will discuss laser fusion and developments toward exawatt lasers, using the Texas Petawatt Laser as an example.

In the recent past, producing lasers with terawatt (a trillion watts) beams was impressive. Now petawatt (a thousand trillion watts, or 1015 W) lasers are the forefront of laser research. Some labs are even undertaking work toward achieving exawatt (1018 W) levels. Ditmire currently produces petawatt power through a process of chirping, in which a short light pulse (150 femtoseconds in duration) is stretched out in time. This longer pulse is amplified to higher energy and then recompressed to its shorter duration, thus providing a modest amount of energy, 190 joules in a very tiny bundle.

Ditmire claims that his petawatt device has the highest power of any laser system now operating, even the one at the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, owing to the very short pulse-compression he and his colleagues use.

The main research use for the Texas Petawatt Laser has been to produce thermonuclear fusion; the laser light strikes a target where fusion of light nuclei occurs, releasing neutrons into the vicinity. These neutrons can themselves be used for doing research. The first results of this fusion experiment will be presented at this meeting. Other applications include the study of hot dense plasmas at pressures billions of time higher than atmospheric pressure and the creation of conditions for accelerating electrons to energies of billions of electron-volts.

Another figure of merit for a laser, in addition to power, is power density. The Texas device is capable of producing power densities exceeding 10^21 watts per square centimeter. At this level many novel interactions might become possible.

To get to exawatt powers, Ditmire hopes to combine largely-existing laser technology and his already-tested 100-fs pulses with new laser glass materials that would allow amplification up to energies of 100 kilojoules. Ditmire’s current energy level, approximately 100 joules, is typical of laser labs at or near the petawatt level, such as those in Oxford, England, Osaka, Japan and Rochester, N.Y. With support from the government and the research community, building an exawatt laser might take 10 years to achieve, Ditmire estimates.

Bio-optics breakthroughs – such as live imaging of a developing heart, microfine surgery with powerful laser pulses, and a customized laryngoscope that can help premature babies breathe easier – will be presented during FiO.

Carnegie Mellon scientist Srinivasa Narasimhan believes that efficiently producing 3-D images for computer vision can best be addressed by thinking of a light source and sensor device as being equivalent. He will discuss his approach – called illumination-aware imaging or imaging-aware illumination – in which the camera and light source constitute a single system, during his FiO talk "Illuminating Cameras."

Other topics to be discussed during the conference include analyzing the migration patterns of a prehistoric brown bear through laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), the development of a camera that could achieve resolutions a million times greater than today's technology, and a novel LED designed specifically to illuminate gold.

For more information, visit:

1. The combination of the effects of two or more stimuli in any given sense to form a single sensation. With respect to vision, the perception of continuous illumination formed by the rapid successive presentation of light flashes at a specified rate. 2. The transition of matter from solid to liquid form. 3. With respect to atomic or nuclear fusion, the combination of atomic nuclei, under extreme heat, to form a heavier nucleus.
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
The large, usually flat surface onto which an image is projected for viewing. May be reflecting or transmitting (rear projection).
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