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Prism Awards honor innovations in photonics

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A spectrometer security system, a 3-D printer and a CW laser were the European winners at the 2014 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation announced Feb. 5 at SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco. Overall, 10 companies were presented with awards.

Sponsored by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and Photonics Spectra publisher Photonics Media, the annual awards recognize photonic products that break with conventional ideas, solve problems for the betterment of society, and improve life through the application of light-based technologies.

A panel of 26 expert judges from around the world deliberated upon 27 finalists in nine categories to choose the most influential photonics products of the past year.

“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 these ideas result in products 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 European winners follow.

Advanced Manufacturing: The Photonic Professional GT 3-D printer from Nanoscribe of Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany, produces complex structures on the nano and micron scale for research and development, and for potential industrial applications in optics, medicine, fluidics, electronics and mechanics. The most complex 3-D objects, with feature sizes down to 160 nm, can be manufactured with heights ranging from a few hundred nanometers up to the millimeter range.

Defense and Security: The T-COGNITION terahertz spectrometer from Hübner GmbH of Kassel, Germany, is an intelligent security system that identifies hidden drugs and explosives in letters and small packages. The device can identify the spectroscopic fingerprint of the hazardous substance or material by comparing the data with its own database. The system is designed to enhance work safety in prisons, customs controls, and companies and embassies, among other locations. Scientific Lasers: The C-WAVE from Hübner GmbH of Kassel, Germany, combines the principle of CW optical parametric oscillators with intracavity frequency doubling to generate coherent light across the visible range. This laser is a widely tunable, easily operated single source for applications such as spectroscopy, quantum optics and photochemistry, as it allows the user to tune from blue to red without any change of materials or components.

Other categories included Detectors, Sensing, Imaging, and Cameras; Industrial Lasers; Life Sciences and Biophotonics; Optics and Optical Components; Other Light Sources; and Test, Measurement, Metrology. For the complete listing of winners and more information about th em, visit

Mar 2014
The science of measurement, particularly of lengths and angles.
Euro NewsEuropemetrologyPrism Awards

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