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Photonics West 2017 Presents Largest Comprehensive Expos

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SPIE Photonics West 2017 (Jan. 28 to Feb. 2, San Francisco), the largest exhibition and conference in the photonics industry, showcases the most innovative research, products and ideas in the field.

For many in the industry, the year truly begins with Photonics West. A symbol of the optimism and excitement for the potential of photonics and light-based technologies, the annual exhibition and conference highlights innovation in research, technology and more, through product demonstrations, courses and workshops, symposia and plenary talks.

Visitors talk with company representatives on opening day of the Photonics West 2016 Exhibition.

Visitors talk with company representatives on opening day of the Photonics West 2016 Exhibition.

“SPIE Photonics West … is the must-attend gathering place for the companies that are pushing the research into application areas and launching innovative products and services,” said Marilyn Gorsuch, director of the show’s technical programs.


More than 1,300 companies are geared up to showcase their latest products, tools and applications in all fields. The general Photonics West Expo (Jan. 31 through Feb. 2) offers attendees face-to-face access to the world’s top suppliers, hiring companies and business sessions. There will be 19 regional cluster and pavilion displays, including newcomer Regione Toscana. Nearly 250 new product launches will complement daily product demonstrations in various technologies and applications ranging from fiber optic components and systems to optical detectors, IR sources and detectors, and metrology.

Specifically and notably, some of the new products slated for reveal are:

• 4D InSpec for high-resolution surface defect measurement in shop floor environments, from 4D Technology Corp.

• Yuja, an ultra-compact femtosecond laser for industrial microdrilling and microcutting, developed by Amplitude Systèmes.

• High-precision PMMA direct-cut lenses for trial production (Ra >10 nm), by Circle and Square Co. Ltd.

• The WERLLICHT PRO 3D laser projector, from Extend3D GmbH.

• Hamamatsu Corp.’s near-IR-enhanced photodetectors for automotive lidar.

• Headwall Photonics’ VNIR-SWIR hyperspectral sensor for the 380- to 2500-nm range, suitable for small UAV deployment.

• Next-generation F-Theta Lens and Beam Expander for future technological requirements, developed by Jenoptik Optical Systems.

• Optec spa’s first-ever truly metric zoom lens for the short-wave IR range.

• USB3.0 SWIR 1024-pixel OEM linescan camera for spectroscopy and machine vision applications, from Princeton Infrared Technologies Inc.

“The R&D community knows Photonics West is the place to hear the newest breakthroughs and share ideas spanning engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and business growth,” said Peter Hallett, director of Marketing and Industry Relations at SPIE.

Startup Challenge

Aspiring entrepreneurs and development-stage companies that have created new photonics products are the focus of the annual Startup Challenge. Organized and hosted by SPIE, and featured on the Expo floor, this annual competition is an opportunity for new photonics entrepreneurs to pitch their light-based technology product ideas to a team of business development experts and venture capitalists, and garner feedback while making new connections.

“Part of the value of the competition is that it teaches entrepreneurs about the differences in priority placed on commercialization as compared to academic research,” said Adam Wax, a professor at Duke University who has served as a judge and mentor for the Startup Challenge. “This understanding is essential for connection with venture capitalists.”

Winners and judges show some of the prizes awarded in the 2016 SPIE Startup Challenge.

Winners and judges show some of the prizes awarded in the 2016 SPIE Startup Challenge.

Cash prizes awarded — $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second and $2,500 for third — are funded by founding partner Jenoptik. Trumpf, Open Photonics and Edmund Optics also contribute to the awards, providing the first-place winner with $5,000 in products. The U.S. National Science Foundation is a supporting sponsor of the competition, as well.

Twenty semifinalists each receive feedback from photonics industry leaders on their business model, a networking lunch with mentors and investors, and product demonstration time on the floor of the Photonics West Exhibition.

“While the money is important — to a startup, every dollar counts — one of the most important benefits is the mentoring, coaching and advice you get,” said 2016 Startup Challenge winner Leslie Kimerling of Double Helix Optics. “Probably most important is the networking and the community that you continue to build.”

Robert McLaughlin, of the University of Western Australia, the 2014 winner, agrees, noting that feedback from judges who “have been there, have done that” is very valuable.

“Especially as an engineer, there is a whole world of complexity in going from technical problems to commercialization,” he said. “They taught me an awful lot about how I get from an idea to actually turning it into a company where I can get it out into the world and make a difference.”

SPIE BiOS (Jan. 28-29)

The world’s largest biophotonics, biomedical optics and imaging conference, held at Photonics West, includes more than 200 companies that will present daily product demonstrations and new technologies. Among them:

• Biomedical optics components, products, instrumentation and applications
• Lasers
• Molecular imaging
• Therapeutic lasers
• Nano/biophotonics
• Biosensors
• Spectroscopic/microscopic imaging

Forty-five conferences are held within BiOS, including the new “Visualizing and Quantifying Drug Distribution in Tissue.” Symposium chairs are distinguished industry veterans James Fujimoto, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Dr. Rox Anderson, a professor at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard School of Medicine.

The technical program heightens the BiOS exhibition as the largest symposium under the Photonics West umbrella. Scheduled are 2,300 technical presentations in tracks on photonic therapeutics and diagnostics, neurophotonics, neurosurgery, optogenetics, clinical technologies and systems, tissue optics, laser-tissue interaction, tissue engineering, biomedical spectroscopy, microscopy and imaging, nano/biophotonics, and brain research.

The Translational Research Applications track features the latest photonics technologies, tools and techniques that present high potential to impact health care, while the new Brain Applications track will focus on innovative technologies that will increase understanding of brain function.

BiOS Hot Topics

Featured sessions within BiOS will begin with the annual Hot Topics program. Some of the top industry researchers and scientists will present, including Christopher Contag — founding director of the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering at Michigan State University and inaugural chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department at Stanford University — who will present “In Vivo Optical Imaging Using Bioluminescent Reporters.” Earning the 2017 Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award that will be presented at Photonics West, Contag will share his extensive expertise in the way biology in living tissue is studied. His work in this area has been noted by the awards committee as “the most significant advances in biomedical research in recent history.”

Robert R. Alfano, a professor at the City College of New York and pioneer in ultrafast optical science and engineering, will also present during the BiOS Hot Topics, focusing on advances in non-invasive optical biopsy. Other Hot Topics presenters include Emilia Entcheva, a professor at George Washington University, discussing cardiac optogenetics; Dr. Richard Levenson, professor and vice chair of strategic technologies in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center, featuring UV surface excitation for slide-free tissue microscopy; Lev Perelman, director of the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics at Harvard University’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, presenting on biomedical imaging and spectroscopy with scattered light; Zhongping Chen, a professor of biomedical, electrical and chemical engineering, and computer and materials sciences in the Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine, focusing on frontiers in functional optical coherence tomography; Hideaki Koizumi, of Hitachi Ltd., sharing his knowledge of diffuse optics; Alberto Diaspro, director of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia’s Department of Nanophysics and a professor of applied physics at the University of Genova, focusing on nonlinear microscopy; and Enrico Gratton, professor of biomedical engineering and physics at the University of California, Irvine, is discussing fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy in imaging live cells.

Plenary presentations will round out the BiOS expo. The session on nano/biophotonics will feature Michael Sailor, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego, speaking on porous silicon nanoparticles as self-reporting drug delivery vehicles. The neurotechnologies plenary will showcase a number of industry experts:

• Robert Campbell, University of Alberta: Genetically encoded indicators of neuronal activity.

• Francesco Pavone, Università degli Studi di Firenze: Optical detection of spatial-temporal correlations in whole-brain activity.

• Valentina Emiliani, Université Paris Descartes: Two-photon optogenetics with millisecond temporal precision and cellular resolution.

• Peter So, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: A strategy for monitoring synaptic activity across the full dendritic arbor.

• Chris Xu, Cornell University: 3-photon microscopy for deep brain imaging.

• Shaoqun Zeng, Wuhan National Lab for Optoelectronics: Chemical sectioning — high-throughput ex-vivo brain imaging.

• Adam Bauer, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis: Mapping functional connections in the mouse brain — insight to understanding and treating disease.

• Maria Angela Franceschini, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging: Clinical neuro-monitoring with NIRS-DCS.

• Rafael Yuste, Columbia University: The novel neurotechnologies — impact in science, medicine and society.

• Edmund Talley, National Institutes of Health: NIH funding report.

Symposiums, workshops, courses

“New this year we have free workshops on specifying lasers and detectors, applications of 3D printing, optical design software and entrepreneurship, so technical professionals can continue learning and innovating,” Hallett said. “Wise people will use their training budget to attend one of 70 courses spanning laser systems engineering, silicon photonics, OCT and virtual reality taught by the people who invented the technology.

Add the ability to discuss product requirements face-to-face with any of the 1,300 exhibitors and Photonics West becomes so valuable professionally that for many people, it is the most important event of the year.”

LASE (the industrial laser, laser source, and laser application conference) will offer plenary presentations in areas such as gravitational wave astronomy, micro 3D structures, extreme ultraviolet lithography, and innovative ways to apply multidimensional, multidisciplinary 3D technology. In addition, 16 conferences within LASE provide more opportunity to showcase industry expertise.

There are 34 conferences scheduled within OPTO (the optoelectronics, photonics materials, and devices conference), as well as plenary talks, including “Non-reciprocal Photonic Gauge Potential and Non-equilibrium Thermal Metaphotonics for the Control of Light and Heat,” “Quantum-Dot-Based Photonics: Fundamental Advantages and Applications for Energy-Efficient and Secure Information Systems,” and “LiFi: Transforming Fiber Into Wireless.”

For more information about Photonics West 2017, visit

Photonics Spectra
Dec 2016
The scientific observation of celestial radiation that has reached the vicinity of Earth, and the interpretation of these observations to determine the characteristics of the extraterrestrial bodies and phenomena that have emitted the radiation.
machine vision
Interpretation of an image of an object or scene through the use of optical noncontact sensing mechanisms for the purpose of obtaining information and/or controlling machines or processes.
The science of measurement, particularly of lengths and angles.
hyperspectral imaging
Methods for identifying and mapping materials through spectroscopic remote sensing. Also called imaging spectroscopy; ultraspectral imaging.
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