With approximately 19,390 presenters, exhibitors and visitors, attendance at SPIE Photonics West grew six percent this year, event organizers said. SPIE Photonics West, the leading photonics, laser, and biomedical optics event, took place Jan. 22-27 at the Moscone Center. Enthusiasm was high among technical attendees and exhibitors at both the Biomedical Optics exhibition — or BiOS — held on opening weekend and the 1162-company Photonics West exhibition that ran midweek. Companies reported strong activity on the exhibition floor, with both returning and new customers visiting booths to do business. “Photonics West is the world event in the industry,” said one exhibitor. “Photonics West is the best meeting I have ever attended because the conference and exhibition brings interdisciplinary science — physics, chemistry, biology and more -- together with engineering. It's fantastic,” said attendee James Wynne of IBM Watson Research Center. Wynne — developer of the technology behind laser eye surgery — presented a paper at Photonics West on a new laser technique with huge potential to help victims of burns and other scarring injuries. His paper was among the more than 4100 technical presented at the event that have impact on the issues facing our global society Highlights of the week included: * Recognition of nine companies for outstanding new products with the Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation, sponsored by SPIE and Photonics Media (See all the winners here) * A biomedical hot topics session that drew nearly 1000 people on Saturday night (Read Gary Boas' take on the session here) * International plenary speakers reporting on important advances in optoelectronics, nanotechnology, MOEMS-MEMS, and all varieties of lasers * Expert panel discussions on markets for solar and lighting, silicon photonics, lasers, and other photonics technologies * Launch of a public-input phase of a new study on the photonics industry led by the National Research Council and supported by other agencies and organizations as well as SPIE; the report will update the “Harnessing Light” survey authored in 1998 by the NRC for the National Academies. (Read Laura Marshall's article about the session here) For more news from the show, visit our Photonics West coverage page.