Virtual Event to Explore Optical Technology in Medicine, Industry, Research

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The first Photonics Spectra Conference is set for January 19-22, featuring webinars in four tracks: Lasers, Optics, Spectroscopy, and Biomedical Imaging. The Biomedical Imaging track is a day-long program that will highlight the latest in components, developments, and applications in microscopy, photoacoustic imaging, and optical coherence tomography, with expert insights from across academia and industry.

The convergence of microscopy with modern deep learning techniques is the subject of the Biomedical Imaging track’s keynote address, courtesy of Aydogan Ozcan, Chancellor’s Professor and the Volgenau Chair for Engineering Innovation at UCLA. In his presentation, “Toward Intelligent Microscopes: Deep Learning’s Potential for Biomedical Applications,” Ozcan will discuss how artificial neural networks — governed by a broad selection of images and the refining of optical systems to utilize this data — can lead to breakthroughs in diagnosis and scientific discovery.

Aydogan Ozcan, UCLA, Keynote Speaker

The track will feature 30-minute webinars from over a dozen luminaries in their respective fields, covering a wide swath of technological innovation in photonics and specific applications. A chat feature through the conference website will direct attendees on where to send questions when the event goes live.

“These are very exciting times for biophotonics research, as there are various breakthroughs being made in various areas, and in my talk I will go over some of these advances at the intersection of deep learning and optics at large, and imaging and sensing, in specific,” Ozcan said. “This should be a really exciting online conference to follow.”

Another session that’s bound to garner attention is Jürgen Popp’s exploration of how advancements in instrumentation have led to breakthroughs in biomedical imaging, and also to interdisciplinary conversations up and down the photonics supply chain, from the developer to the clinic or research lab. Popp — the scientific director of the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology, who together with Susanne Pahlow and Karina Weber authored a feature on spectroscopic methods applied to precision medicine that appears in this issue of BioPhotonics (page 33) — said he looks forward to sharing how groundbreaking developments have fundamentally changed diagnostics.

The potential of photonics to help solve unmet medical needs has gone beyond specialized optics labs, Popp said. “Now it is time to transfer photonic approaches, which have shown their potential in proof-of-concept studies, to the clinic in order to finally integrate them as indispensable diagnostic and therapeutic routine tools.”

Since David Huang and colleagues showed the first OCT images in 1991, the technology has come a long way. In conjunction with the OCT theme of this issue, a range of conference sessions will reflect the evolution of the technology, including “3D Printing Enables Agile Design for OCT Systems and Applications” by Adam Wax, founder of Lumedica Inc. Wax will discuss the design process developed to allow rapid and easy tailoring of OCT spectrometers for specific applications. Another session dovetails into research and entrepreneurship: “Through the Curtain: OCT-Enhanced Ear Exams Remove the Guesswork” by Ryan Shelton of PhotoniCare.

The opportunities afforded to researchers thanks to specialized lighting setups will be discussed in two presentations: “Using LEDs to Enhance Image Quality and Cell Viability” by Alex Gramann, an optical design engineer at CoolLED; and “The Low-Noise Revolution Changes the Game … Again” by Brad Coyle, OEM camera product manager at Hamamatsu.

The Spectroscopy track — assembled in conjunction with the Society for Applied Spectroscopy — features a keynote address that centers on change at the molecular level. “Seeing Life at the Molecule Level via Advanced Chemical Microscopy” will be presented by Ji-Xin Cheng, Theodore Moustakas Chair Professor in Photonics and Optoelectronics at Boston University, who said about the talk, “Label-free spectroscopic imaging opens a new window to the water molecular orchestra inside a living system.”

The conference will be offered exclusively online. For more information and to register for free, visit

Published: October 2020
photoacoustic imaging
Abbreviated PAI. An imaging modality with a hybrid technique based on the acoustic detection of optical absorption from endogenous chromophores or exogenous contrast agents. Light is absorbed by the chromophores and converted into transient heating, and through thermoelastic expansion there is a resulting emission of ultrasonic waves. In tissue, ultrasound scatters less than light, therefore PAI generates high-resolution images in the diffusive and optical ballistic regimes compared to purely...
optical coherence tomography
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive imaging technique used in medical and scientific fields to capture high-resolution, cross-sectional images of biological tissues. It provides detailed, real-time, and three-dimensional visualization of tissue structures at the micrometer scale. OCT is particularly valuable in ophthalmology, cardiology, dermatology, and various other medical specialties. Here are the key features and components of optical coherence tomography: Principle of...
Show PreviewPhotonics Spectra Conferencebiomedical imagingMicroscopyphotoacoustic imagingoptical coherence tomographyAydogan OzcanJuergen PoppAdam WaxAlex GramannBrad CoyleJi-Xin Cheng

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