Third Photonics Online Meetup to Feature Job Fair, Career Panel

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Three-day event runs Jan. 11, 13-14

The third Photonics Online Meetup (POM) launches next week with a virtual poster session on Twitter Jan. 11, and then features two days of presentations Jan. 13 and 14. Guided by the themes of metasurfaces, biosensors, and frequency combs — selected via an online poll and survey in the fall of 2020 — expert-led sessions will span topics from optical Fourier surfaces and terahertz quantum cascade lasing, to rapid diagnostics and image processing.

The free and exclusively online event will additionally feature a Jan. 13 virtual job fair, encouraging dialogue between job seekers and employers. Academic and industry employers can list their openings on a virtual job board in advance of the job fair, with listings available to those at any career stage.

Andrea Armani, Irani Chair of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering, and Orad Reshef, from the Robert Boyd Research Group at the University of Ottawa and University of Rochester, specializing in quantum nonlinear optics and quantum photonics, are once again co-chairing the multiday program.

The first two POMs were held in January and June 2020 with the aim of improving the accessibility of conference attendance, reducing conference travel’s carbon footprint and burden on family, and reducing the cost of conference participation. As the current global pandemic situation has placed increased reliance on virtual meetings, POMs have continued to bring together those from academia, industry, and government in a single forum.

“At this point in time, it is critical to create environments where difficult, but productive, conversations can be held and where we can see each other as people, not just faces in boxes,” Armani told Photonics Media. “Our country — and world — has quite possibly never been more reliant on scientific innovation for its existence, and we all need to work together to overcome technical and political hurdles. To achieve this requires moving away from the webinar environment and shifting to a virtual reality space which can support discussion. We are hoping that our virtual spaces in Gather will provide a model that others can adopt.”

Gather, a video calling and conferencing platform, along with Zoom, will enable attendees to access the program.

“We view POM as a testbed for ideas. Our goal is to try new things that other events will hopefully adopt,” Armani said. “While last year our ‘new thing’ was the basic concept of having an online event, this year we are organizing virtual networking space and a virtual job fair alongside a career panel. Both of these are in response to the scientific communities’ requests for increased interaction spaces and help with careers.”  

Jan. 13 begins with a set of six “Hot Topics” presentations, delivered in a 5-min format. Interactive tutorial sessions, chaired by Ann-Katrin Michel and Antonio Cala Lesina and led by Abu Sebastian and Jelena Vuckovic, follow into the afternoon. A poster session and the job fair conclude day one of the program.

Focused sessions will be held on Jan.14, first on metasurfaces (1:05-2:35) and then on biosensors (3:20-4:50) and frequency combs (5:35-7:05). Sessions include “Tunable Pseudo-Magnetic Fields for Polaritons in Strained Metasurfaces,” led by the University of Exeter’s Charlie-Ray Mann; “Metasurface-Enabled Temporal Shaping of Three-Dimensional Ultrafast Pulses,” by NIST’s Lu Chen; “Label-Free Nanophotonic Biosensors as Integrated Solution for Early and Rapid Diagnostics,” led by Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology’s Maria Soler; “Integrated Optofluidic Biochip for Automatic Light-Sheet Fluorescence Imaging: From Whole Embryos to Single-Cells,” by Politecnico di Milano’s Federico Sala; “Chip-Scale Electrically Pumped III-V-on-Silicon-Nitride Frequency Comb,” led by Ghent University’s Stijn Cuyvers; and “Why Quantum Cascade Lasers and Other Semiconductor Lasers Form Frequency-Modulated Combs,” by University of Notre Dame’s David Burghoff.

Beyond maximizing interactivity and attendees’ ability to take in a range of presentations, the format of the third edition of POM is intentionally future-looking, with particular focus on different facets of the optics and photonics industry, including the workforce and the businesses and individuals comprising it.

“We have several companies who are holding job booths (with videos),” Armani said. “I am hoping that this type of virtual job fair stays around in the future. It could give smaller companies a much larger reach, and it could give students at small or rural schools (that don’t have large job fairs) an opportunity to interact with a range of employers.”

Event and registration information can be found at Registration is open through Jan. 12.

Published: January 2021
Metasurfaces are two-dimensional arrays of subwavelength-scale artificial structures, often referred to as meta-atoms or meta-elements, arranged in a specific pattern to manipulate the propagation of light or other electromagnetic waves at subwavelength scales. These structures can control the phase, amplitude, and polarization of incident light across a planar surface, enabling unprecedented control over the wavefront of light. Key features and characteristics of metasurfaces include: ...
eventeducationworkforcePhotonics Online MeetupAndrea Armaniconferencecareer fairindustrypresentationsmetasurfacesbiosensorsfrequency combs

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