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Ten innovators recognized with Prism Awards

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The 2018 Prism Awards recognized technologies including 3D lidar, a white laser light module and smartphone sensors.

The awards were announced at a black-tie gala on Jan. 31, during Photonics West in San Francisco

The 2018 Prism Award winners.

The 2018 Prism Award winners. Courtesy of SPIE.

“Each year, categories for the awards are driven by the innovations entered, providing direct insight into thriving and emerging ‘hot’ markets,” said SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs.

Co-sponsored annually by SPIE and Photonics Media, the “Oscars of the Photonics Industry” marked its 10th year in 2018.

“These Prism Award-winning products and the companies behind them have reached new heights of technical achievement and innovation and have risen to the top of an impressive field of entries,” said Thomas Laurin, president and CEO of Laurin Publishing. “Photonics Media is proud to have stood with SPIE and the Prism Awards for 10 years in supporting breakthroughs like these that continue to transform the photonics industry and the world, and we extend our heartiest congratulations to the winners.”

These are the winners:

Detectors and Sensors

NKT Photonics (Birkeroed, Denmark)
A growing demand for efficient renewable energy resources makes the management of power networks more complex. The LIOS EN.SURE DTS & RTTR — a long-range optical-fiber-based temperature- and strain-sensing measurement system — is designed for such management, as it monitors underground transmission and distribution power cables, as well as overhead transmission lines. Using an optical fiber embedded in the power cable, or installed externally, the LIOS EN.SURE system is able to measure temperature and strain in the cable over single-ended distances of up to 70 km. Also, it can handle up to 16 fibers and 16 separate power cables, and its strain capability can be used to detect cable disturbance, abnormal bends and/or kinks in the cable before, during and after installation.

Environmental Monitoring

Block Engineering (Massachusetts, U.S.)
Utilizing quantum cascade lasers combined with MIR spectroscopy, the LaserWarn can quickly detect and identify chemical clouds. The system touts the widest tunable external-cavity, eye-safe lasers, as it is able to scan across a 5- to 13-µm-wide spectral range in less than 40 ms. This allows the system to provide ultrarapid, subsecond response to chemical threats and monitoring of chemical releases. Notably, the system’s lasers can monitor chemical clouds across thousands of square feet, whether indoors or out. LaserWarn also allows chemical analysis algorithms, providing the ability to detect and identify components of high-number, multicomponent mixtures in real-world environments.

Illumination and Light Sources

SoraaLaser (California, U.S.)
Touted as the world’s first white light, high-luminance, remotely delivered white laser light module, the LaserLight Fiber Module features the highest luminance light source available. It’s safe, high-efficiency fiber delivery of light from a blue laser diode to a remote phosphor module produces high-luminance, incoherent, broad-spectrum white light. This device enables lighting effects such as long-range, highly collimated beam output, as well as compact ultrashort throw, high-angle illumination, and glare-free pattern generation with sharp light gradients. It also includes active light-level sensors for precise control.

Imaging and Cameras

Luminar (Florida, U.S.)
Addressing unmet needs for the autonomous mobility industry, the Model-G 3D LiDAR system delivers more than one million data points at full-range specification per second; each point is able to detect less than 10 percent reflective targets at more than 200 m away. It simultaneously achieves 38× greater spatial resolution and 6× farther range than most existing systems. The new architecture features a single laser and detector pair to rapidly collect information from the environment while remaining eye-safe. Its sensor operates at 1550 nm, which requires InGaAs. A new Si-InGaAs hybrid ASIC is involved, with an order of magnitude higher performance and lower cost than other InGaAs receivers. The Model-G 3D LiDAR is the first dynamically configurable system operating at 1550 nm.


Class 5 Photonics (Hamburg, Germany)
At an industry-leading 1 mJ, 100 kHz, 100 W, the Supernova OPCPA — “the most powerful femtosecond laser on the market” — performs 10× faster than conventional Ti:sapphire lasers. It features extremely short pulse durations down to 15 fs and covers a broad wavelength range (from 0.4 to 3 μm). Wavelength flexibility allows tailoring to custom multicolor experiments at full system performance and stability. The Supernova OPCPA can be employed in research of attosecond science, materials processing and ultrafast spectroscopy.

Life Science Instrumentation

QuantumCyte (California, U.S.)
The Q1 ArraySeQ is a single-cell-analysis platform for phenotypic profiling of individual cells over thousands simultaneously and can link the information to genetic data collected from each cell. This phenotypic to genotypic correlation over many thousands of cells at the same time enables new personalized treatment options for cancer and other genetic diseases.

Materials Processing and Additive Manufacturing

LIMO GmbH (Dortmund, Germany)
The Activation Line UV-L750 is an optical-beam-delivery and beam-shaping system designed for UV laser lift-off (LLO) of flexible OLED displays. Its optical beam transformation technology enables 10× larger depth of field for high-end lift-off processes in mass production tools for flexible OLEDs. It can combine up to 12 laser sources into one single-line beam profile and can also be used for LLO and solid-state laser annealing.

Medical Diagnostics and Therapeutics

ContinUse Biometrics (Tel Aviv, Israel)
Used for biomedical remote sensing, the SmartHealth Mod smartphone sensor detects nanovibrations in the body. It is the first photonic sensor capable of simultaneously monitoring several bioparameters continuously and from a distance. A smartphone add-on, it can monitor heart rate, variability and pulsewave velocity, and is the first noncontact blood pressure sensor. The SmartHealth Mod can also be used in smart homes and smart cars for home health care.

Optics and Optomechanical Components

AdlOptica Optical Systems GmbH (Berlin)
The foXXus multifocus optics technology allows simultaneous multilayer materials processing for effective depth of field and controlled propagation of a processed zone, such as cracks in glass and other brittle materials. With refractive design and lenses with polished optical surfaces, it is used in conjunction with lasers to redistribute energy along the optical axis (polarization energy splitting). FoXXus offers high resistance to CW and ultrashort pulse lasers, providing up to eight separate foci.

Test and Measurement

Spheryx Inc. (New York, U.S.)
The xSight accurately detects, counts and characterizes particle size and refractive index in the subvisible range (500 nm to 10 μm). It is the first instrument that can quickly provide quantitative measurement of size and composition in complex samples, in their native environments and in real time. In addition, the xSight can simultaneously identify and characterize similar-size particles, and it measures them directly. The device’s high-speed analysis algorithm increases the rate of manufacturing process control.

Photonics Spectra
Apr 2018
light speedPrism Awards3D lidarlaser light modulesmartphone sensorsPhotonics WestSan Francisco

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