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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.

EDITORIAL COMMENT
Latest Issue
Aug 2018

Modern-Day Tricorder

MICHAEL D. WHEELER, MANAGING EDITOR, michael.wheeler@photonics.com
In 2017, Qualcomm announced the winners of the much-publicized Tricorder XPRIZE, which challenged inventors to develop a device that could replicate the function of the tricorder in the “Star Trek” television series. The fictional gadget was used by the crew of the USS Enterprise to diagnose medical conditions with a quick scan across a patient’s body.

Building a hand-held medical device that can diagnose conditions ranging from diabetes to urinary tract infections has proven especially difficult: When the Qualcomm prizes were awarded last year, no team had met all 13 requirements set out by the contest organizers.

The answer to reproducing what “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry first envisioned may lie in the ubiquitous cellphone.

As we learn in Science Writer Farooq Ahmed’s “Smartphone Spectroscopy Promises a Data-Rich Future,” there have been exciting breakthroughs aimed at transforming cellphones into hand-held spectrometers. In one case, a group developed a 3D-printed cradle that converts the phone’s camera into a visible-light spectrometer, detecting photon-emission spectra of liquids used in tests for conditions such as phenylketonuria and iron deficiency. Elsewhere, groups have developed pen-like devices employing discrete optics and diffraction gratings, with results rivaling clinical-grade instruments (read article).

In our cover story this month, Contributing Editor Hank Hogan examines how increasingly sophisticated weather satellites and lidar systems are spurring innovation in precision optical filters. Today’s filters offer more spectral bands, steeper slopes, and higher transmission. “Better Filters Yield Better Sensor Performance” (read article).

Another must-read is Senior Editor Susan Petrie’s exclusive interview with SPIE CEO Kent Rochford, who took over the organization’s top post in June. Rochford shared insights into his leadership style, the importance of the International Day of Light, and his goals for the organization in the years ahead. “Catching Up with Kent” (read article).

Finally, our annual Education Special Section — features guest columnist Alexis Vogt of Monroe Community College, who underscores the importance of experiential learning and the role of industry-based curricula in turning out skilled optics and photonics technicians. “Building the Next-Generation Optics Workforce” (read article). And don’t miss Senior Editor Justine Murphy’s interview with Lionel Kimerling, who leads the Education, Workforce Development and Roadmap division of AIM Photonics. “More Training Will Motivate Future Workforce” (read article).

Enjoy the issue!
Mike Wheeler
An award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, Managing Editor Michael D. Wheeler oversees editorial content for Photonics Spectra, EuroPhotonics, BioPhotonics and Industrial Photonics magazines.
Marcia Stamell
Associate Managing Editor Marcia Stamell is the editor of BioPhotonics and Industrial Photonics. She has worked for general interest newspapers, the business press and national magazines as a writer and editor.
Justine Murphy
Senior Editor Justine Murphy is an award-winning journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. She serves as editor of EuroPhotonics and BioPhotonics, host of the Light Matters newscast, and producer of podcasts.
 
Autum Pylant
News Editor Autum C. Pylant is an Air Force Veteran with 10+ years of award-winning broadcast journalism experience. She is responsible for the steady flow of news and new product announcements to web and print and is the producer of the Light Matters video newscast.
Robin Riley
Multimedia/Web Editor Robin Riley has 30+ years of experience in communications and marketing for a range of technical industries. She is a regular contributor to web content and social media, and organizes and produces custom and editorial webinars.
Karen Newman
Karen Newman, Publisher/Books & Courses for Photonics Media Press, has had a career in business-to-business and association publishing, much of it spent covering technical, scientific and life sciences subjects.
 
Hank Hogan
Contributing editor Hank Hogan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. Hogan worked in the semiconductor industry and now writes about science and technology.
Marie Freebody
Contributing editor Marie Freebody is a free-lance science and technology journalist with a master’s degree in physics and a concentration in nuclear astrophysics from the University of Surrey in England.
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.
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