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2021 Prism Awards Honor Photonics Innovations

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BELLINGHAM, Wash., March 3, 2021 — Earlier today during the Prism Awards, SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and Photonics Media recognized top optics and photonics products on the market. A 32K-resolution camera capable of detecting subpixel defects, a spectrometer small enough for mobile devices, and a complete digital pathology system packaged in an add-on optical module were just a few of the technologies recognized in the Prism Awards’ 13th year.

Normally an invitation-only, black-tie affair held during SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco, this year’s ceremony was held online, streaming from the Prism Awards website. The virtual platform offered an opportunity to involve participants from around the world. The 90-minute affair highlighted an exciting range of dynamic companies — from KYOCERA SLD Laser and nanoLambda, to Teledyne DALSA and Element Six — all of them applying innovative and creative solutions to critical problems in areas of optics and photonics. Winners were recognized in 10 competitive categories: life sciences, manufacturing, medical devices, quality control, quantum, safety and security, smart sensing, software, transportation, and vision technology.

The 13th annual Prism Awards were presented in a virtual format March 3, prior to Photonics West. Courtesy of SPIE/Joey Cobbs.

The 13th annual Prism Awards were presented in a virtual format March 3, prior to Photonics West. Courtesy of SPIE/Joey Cobbs.

Each year, the Prism Awards reflect the latest exciting developments, exponential growth, and rich technical innovations across photonics and photonics-enabled industries. For consideration of this year’s awards, SPIE received 149 applications from 18 countries. Finalists and winners were selected by a panel of international judges that included leaders from both the technology commercialization and funding sectors. 

Distinguished presenters of the Prism Awards represented the best of the global photonics industry: Maria Pace, Microsoft senior hardware engineer architect; Rosalie Clemens, GS1’s senior director of strategic initiatives; Matthew Everett, Lumentum’s director of product line management for 3D sensing; Gerald Uyeno, Raytheon engineering fellow; Zane Arp, director of the FDA’s Division of BioMedical Physics; Laura Fabris, Rutgers University associate professor of materials science and engineering; Sanjay Gangadhara, CTO of Zemax; Maksym “Max” Sich, CEO and co-founder of AegiQ; Marie-Christine Ferland, business development director at Photon etc.; and Dave Allen, MKS Instruments’ Spectra-Physics senior vice president and general manager.

“It’s always such a pleasure to recognize and celebrate our Prism Award winners, finalists, and applicants and particularly so this year, with its many challenges and changes,” said SPIE CEO Kent Rochford. “These scientists, researchers, and engineers are bringing key technologies and products to life, energizing the photonics market, and making a palpable impact on all of our lives.”

“The PRISM Awards represent the highest honor the photonics industry can bestow,” said Photonics Media CEO Tom Laurin. “The pandemic challenged — and continues to challenge — the global economy. But the contributions from this year’s winners go to show that no obstacle can stifle innovation. From all of us at Photonics Media, I’d like to congratulate the 2021 PRISM Award winners. You’ve rightly earned your place at the vanguard of this industry.”

The 2021 winners are as follows:

Life Sciences

Augmentiqs Medical (Haifa, Israel)

The Augmentiqs 1000 is a complete digital pathology platform based on an add-on optical module that offers compatibility with all standard microscopes. The device blends standard microscopy with novel digital tools and tissue-analysis algorithms using advanced imaging and augmented reality overlay on the specimen slide. Augmentiqs aims to provide affordable access to high-quality medical tools for doctors, including those in remote and developing areas of the world.


Boston Micro Fabrication (Maynard, Mass.)

The microArch S240 3D printer allows for faster print times and the use of stronger, more durable materials that are designed specifically to meet the needs of those in industrial production settings. The device enables the micro 3D printing of high-resolution parts at a throughput that supports numerous production needs and specifications. Higher-quality parts and larger build volume support production at a throughput designed for prototype printing. The microArch S240 is capable of prototyping and producing components spanning medical devices, electrical components, microfluidic devices, and MEMS technology.

Medical Devices

Norlase ApS
(Ballerup, Denmark)

LION, a head-mounted, fully portable laser indirect ophthalmoscope (LIO), performs without an external laser console or fiber optic cable tether. The system, a treatment solution for retinal disease, is a fully integrated, battery-powered LIO and green laser device. Its built-in miniature visible diode-based laser integrates into the system headset, which itself replaces a fiber optic cable component. Laser parameters are controlled via a wireless tablet or voice control. LION’s ultraclear optics enhance visualization during diagnosis and treatment, allowing physicians to treat patients faster and more efficiently throughout their full duration of care.

Quality Control

Teledyne DALSA (Waterloo, Ontario)

The Linea HS 32K TDI camera uses two 16K/5-μm TDI arrays with pixel offset. The camera captures 16K/5-μm images in real time, which it then upconverts to produce a higher-resolution image of 32K/2.5 μm, enhancing detectability for subpixel defects. Existing lighting and 16K/5-μm lenses can be used without sacrificing responsivity or MTF (modulation transfer function), as is commonly related to a smaller physical pixel size. The system also reduces the amount of data transferred from the camera to the frame grabber without compromising image quality. The CLHS fiber optic interface provides reliable and high-throughput data transmission.


Element Six (Harwell, England)

The DNV-B1 is a synthetic, quantum-grade diamond that is optimized as a generic solid-state quantum solution for a range of applications, including magnetic field sensing, masers, radio frequency detection, gyroscopes, and nanoscale temperature sensing. The diamond is grown through chemical vapor deposition via treatments such as irradiation and annealing to achieve an addressable, room-temperature, solid-state qubit host solution for quantum-enabled sensing. Benefits include unprecedented spatial resolution, reliability, and robustness. The quantum material diamond achieves full functionality at room temperature, removing the need for cryogenics to access its quantum properties, while its compact solid-state solution removes the need for vacuum technology.

Safety and Security

RaySecur (Cambridge, Mass.)

The MailSecur mmWave Scanner is a desktop millimeter-wave (broadband terahertz) imaging system that allows users to see inside an object for security screening. Users hold an object in the FOV to view concealed contents on the screen in real time and full motion, while manually manipulating the object. The technology requires minimal training and enables the safe scanning and detection of threats, without the harmful radiation of x-ray systems. The system uses multifrequency terahertz imaging at 300 and 500 GHz, with solid-state terahertz sources and uncooled microbolomoter technologies.

Smart Sensing

nanoLambda (Daejeon, South Korea)

NanoLambda’s individually calibrated Digital Nano Spectrometer technology supports wearable device, mobile, and Internet of Things applications, as well as noninvasive health monitoring — for humans and even plant life. The greatly reduced size of the device, which nanoLambda says is less than 1% that of conventional solutions, is scalable and practical for many material analyses that common optical spectrometers are unable to perform. Applications include personal health monitoring, food quality assessment, and security.


ALPhANOV (Talence, France)

ALPhANOV’s Immersive Photonics Lab is a VR solution for developing procedural professional skills. The immersive software enables on-the-job industry training without shutting down the production line or posing injury risk to human workers or damage to equipment. The technology emulates physical photonic phenomena in any customized industrial environment to improve technical and professional skills, supporting a convergence of educational and technological innovation. The system also supports distance customer service and product promotion.


KYOCERA SLD Laser (Goleta, Calif.)

LaserLight W-IR SMD (surface-mount device) is a switchable two-channel, laser-pumped phosphor component that emits high-luminance, diffuse, white, and infrared light from the same emission point. The device combines high-luminance white with infrared emission from the same point source in a safe dual-channel SMD with two laser diodes emitting onto a reflective and scattering phosphor. Systems that implement white light and infrared require separate optical assemblies that increase the size and weight of pure laser-based systems, in turn leading to speckle in the imaging sensors. The LaserLight W-IR SMD generates diffuse incoherent light, with 10× higher luminance compared to other LEDs and/or light sources from the same optical point.

Vision Technology

WaveOptics (Abingdon, England)

Waveguide platforms from WaveOptics range from 15° to 60° FOV, supporting applications from smart glasses technology to those in aerospace and defense. The company’s off-the-shelf waveguide solutions are customizable and flexible to precision design. WaveOptics’ three-plate waveguide solutions systems (Katana [1 plate], Vulcan [2 plate], and Odin [3 plate]) each feature an easily adaptable nanostructure technology construction, supporting additional augmented reality wearable technology. The differing weights and thicknesses of WaveOptics’ platforms support applications that necessitate varied ranges and degrees of power, size, and complexity of augmentation. Thicknesses range from 1.15 mm (Katana) to 2.65 mm (Odin); weights range from 7 to 17 g.

To learn more about the Prism Awards, please visit our website.
Mar 2021
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.
BusinessPrism AwardsPrism Awards 2021lasersspectroscopyopticsBiophotonicsmaterialsMicroscopyimagingmachine visionsensingSPIEPhotonics MediaPhotonics WestPhotonics West 2021AugmentiqsNorlaseTeledyne DalsaElement SixRaySecurAlphanovSLD LaserWaveOpticsAmericas

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