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Photonics Spectra
Since 1967, Photonics Spectra magazine has defined the science and industry of photonics, providing both technical and practical information for every aspect of the global industry and promoting an international dialogue among the engineers, scientists and end users who develop, commercialize and buy photonics products. Stay current with a FREE subscription to the digital or print edition.

Latest Issue
Jun 2021

Light, photonics, and human health

DANIEL MCCARTHY, SENIOR EDITORThe correlation between light and human health should come as no surprise. Midsummer corresponds to an increase in outdoor activities. The summer growing season makes fresh produce a more abundant part of our daily diet. And, studies have shown that the extended daylight around the summer solstice, by itself, has proportionately positive effects on everything from mood to productivity to fertility.

So, it seems natural that, as our understanding of photonics has grown, we have found ways to apply light to further advance our collective well-being.

As contributing editor Hank Hogan observes in this month’s cover story, the U.S. Department of Agriculture spent over $1 billion in 2019 to support food safety and inspection operations. Yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million Americans get sick every year from food-borne pathogens, foreign objects, or poor-quality product.

Imaging and spectroscopy offer valuable, but very different, solutions to this challenge. However, hyperspectral imaging, as Hogan reports here, combines elements from both of these technologies. As faster, more compact, and cheaper hyperspectral cameras continue to emerge, the technology is becoming an even more appealing solution for improving the quality and safety of the food we consume.

The practical application of light to improve human health has parallels in other sectors, as demonstrated by this issue’s update on medical lasers — written by Douglas Farmer, senior editor of BioPhotonics magazine — appearing here. Echoing trends in the food industry, the development of more compact and reliable medical lasers has advanced innovative treatments in ophthalmology, dentistry, dermatology, and neurology.

Another example of photonics’ contribution to human health and the life sciences, in general, comes from advancements in low-light imaging, which is instrumental to fluorescence microscopy. Felix Asche from Basler AG explores developments in CMOS technology that are introducing a viable and cost-effective alternative to CCDs in low-light imaging applications.

These and the other topics covered herein — including laser marking and selecting off-the-shelf optics — all aim to make life easier and better for our readers. So, pour a drink and take this month’s issue out on the deck or by the pool, and enjoy the longest days of the year in good health.
Mike Wheeler
As editor-in-chief, Michael Wheeler oversees Photonics Media's editorial operations — spanning print, web, and podcasts. He also serves as editor of Vision Spectra, chronicling advancements in the rapidly expanding machine vision/inspection sector.
Dan McCarthy
Senior editor Dan McCarthy manages editorial content and production for Photonics Spectra. An award-winning writer and editor, he has communicated the progress and practical value of advanced technologies for over two decades.
Doug Farmer
Senior Editor Douglas Farmer has been a journalist for nearly 20 years, winning awards for health and education reporting. He has a master's degree in journalism from Ball State University. He is editor of EuroPhotonics and BioPhotonics magazines.
Sarah Weiler
As Webinar & Social Media Coordinator, Sarah Weiler organizes and produces all Photonics Media webinars and manages social media content. With a background in writing and editing, she also contributes to the print publications.
Valerie Coffey
Science writer Valerie C. Coffey holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s in astronomy. She has covered optics, photonics, physics, and astronomy for a variety of industry and academic publications since 2000.
Hank Hogan
Contributing Editor Hank Hogan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. He worked in the semiconductor industry and now writes about science and technology.
Marie Freebody
Contributing Editor Marie Freebody is a freelance science and technology journalist with a master’s degree in physics and a concentration in nuclear astrophysics from the University of Surrey in England.
Farooq Ahmed
Farooq Ahmed has covered the physical and biological sciences for over a decade. He has a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Brown University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Columbia University.
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