Modernization and advancement were in the spotlight at the 2014 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation ceremony, which recognized nine companies from five countries on Feb. 5 at the SPIE Photonics West conference in San Francisco. Sponsored by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and Industrial Photonics publisher Photonics Media, the annual awards recognize photonic products that break with conventional ideas, solve problems and improve life through the application of light-based technologies. Winners are chosen by a panel of expert judges from the photonics industry. “Our Prism Awards recognize the outstanding products that have emerged from ideas, concepts and the distillation of networking at previous conferences. … More than 21,000 author-researchers contributed to the work presented [this year]. That represents an impressive amount of people hours – very bright people hours,” said Eugene Arthurs, CEO of SPIE. “Smart, persistent believers ensured that these ideas survived the valleys of desolation and have come to market.” It is when products result that this enormous intellectual effort makes a real impact, he added. And while photonic technology has an important role in improving quality of life, its applications have a vital economic impact as well. “It is wonderful to witness the ongoing innovation from companies that have been part of the industry for years, as well as to support the emerging organizations and individuals shaping the future of the photonics industry,” said Laurin Publishing CEO Tom Laurin. “It is our great pleasure to collaborate annually with SPIE to present the Prism Awards, and we congratulate the 2014 winners and all the finalists.” The 2014 winners are: Advanced Manufacturing: Nanoscribe GmbH (Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany), for the Photonic Professional GT (PPGT); based on TPP, the fastest and most accurate 3-D laser lithography system commercially available. Presenter was Homer Antoniadis, global technology director at DuPont. Industrial Lasers: V-Gen Ltd. (Tel Aviv, Israel), for the VPFL-ISP-1-40-HE-50000, the ytterbium fiber laser with the shortest pulse width, highest peak power and highest pulse energy. Presenter was Reinhart Poprawe, director of Fraunhofer Institut für Lasertechnik. Test, Measurement, Metrology: Si-Ware Systems (Cairo, Egypt), for the MEMS FT-IR Spectrometer, the first alignment-free, calibration-free and shock-resistant FTIR module on a chip scale. Presenter was Paul Johnson, executive director of Global Optics, Photop Technologies. Defense and Security: Hübner GmbH & Co. KG (Kassel, Germany), for T-Cognition, a stand-alone terahertz spectrometer that automatically detects and identifies hazardous substances in mail, developed in collaboration with Fraunhofer IPM. Presenter was Jim Oschmann, vice president and general manager of Civil Space and Technology at Ball Aerospace. Detectors, Sensing, Imaging and Cameras: Tornado Spectral Systems (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), for Octane-860, a small, inexpensive and robust spectrometer on a silicon chip designed for full-featured OCT imaging. Presenter was Brian Lula, president and CEO of PI Physik Instrumente LP. Life Sciences and Biophotonics: AccuVein Inc. (Huntington, N.Y., USA), for the AV400 Vein Viewing System, a handheld, augmented-reality laser camera that detects and projects a vein map on a patient’s skin. Presenter was Babak Parviz, Google Glass project leader at Google X and the University of Washington. Optics and Optical Components: Compass Electro-Optical Systems (Milpitas, Calif., USA), for the r10004 Router, the first design to allow for a full-mesh architecture and an ASIC-to-ASIC link using an optical interconnect. Presenter was Mario Paniccia, general manager of Silicon Photonics Operation at Intel. Other Light Sources: Necsel (Milpitas, Calif., USA), for the Frequency Converted Green Laser Array, offering the first RGB laser solution in 3-D digital cinema projection. Presenter was Barbara Paldus, CEO of Finesse Solutions. Scientific Lasers: Hübner GmbH & Co. KG (Kassel, Germany), for C-Wave, the first coherent continuous-wave source that is tunable across the visible range without change of materials, developed in collaboration with Fraunhofer IPM. Presenter was Gisele Maxwell, CEO of Shasta Crystals.