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The Fight Against Food Fraud

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Mike WheelerCases of food fraud — some of which cause serious illness and death — are a global issue. Forty-seven people died in 2012 in the Czech Republic after drinking spirits spiked with methanol. Tens of thousands of infants were hospitalized and six died in China after it was discovered that melamine had been added to baby formula to boost its protein content.

Sophisticated laboratory methods can detect contaminated food, but they can only go so far. Handheld spectrometers may turn out to be the best weapon in the fight. Be sure to read Richard Crocombe and Ellen Miseo’s compelling “Portable Spectroscopy and the Fight Against Food Fraud” (read article).

From food we turn to a technological advancement that could impact the telescopes and smartphone cameras of tomorrow. A newly developed flat surface lens avoids aberrations associated with traditional curved lenses, while increasing the aperture-to-depth ratio. Elizabeth Howell’s “Flat Surface Lens Overcomes Limitations of Conventional Optics” (read article).

Elsewhere in this edition:

• Imec’s Julien Pichette details a new form of hyperspectral imaging that combines the high resolution of a linescan sensor with capabilities of a snapshot camera in “Smart Perception Is the Next Stage for Machine Vision” (read article).

• Alignments for silicon photonics are slow and cumbersome, but multichannel photon alignment systems are yielding breakthroughs in parallelism, scalability and speed. See “Conquering the Silicon Photonics Production Bottleneck” from PI’s Scott Jordan (read article).

• With much of the world’s communications traveling by light, securing data carried by photons is imperative. Contributing Editor Hank Hogan examines developments in quantum key distribution, temporal cloaking and optomechanical crystals in “Via Photonics, Secure Communications,” (read article).

This month’s special section on education is highlighted by long-time contributor Judy Donnelly’s “Workforce of Tomorrow” column (read article), in which she reports on the 14th International Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics (ETOP) held in Hangzhou, China, at the end of May.

Finally, we feature an interview with two luminaries of the optics industry: Bruce Walker, who served on the advisory board of Photonics Spectra for many years, and his protégé, Richard Pfisterer, president and founder of Photon Engineering. Forty-seven years ago, a then 13-year-old Pfisterer wrote a letter to Walker looking for ways to test his telescope design. Read their recollections of that fateful correspondence (read article).

Enjoy the issue!

Photonics Spectra
Aug 2017
EditorialMike Wheeler

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