A Focus on Quantum Brings to Light Innovations in Research and Applications
The 2019 Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science Conference and Exhibition concluded 19 September with 1,300 registrants, nearly 100 technical sessions and over 800 technical presentations.
Each year, this conference sheds light on the latest advances in optics and photonics ranging from physics and chemistry to biology and medicine. FiO + LS provides attendees from around the world with the opportunity to network, present, learn and connect.
“This five-day conference presented a remarkably insightful view of the advancements made in the fields of optics and photonics,” said 2019 FiO Co-chair Byoungho Lee of Seoul National University, Korea. “With a focus on emerging trends, FiO + LS always provides attendees with a deep and cross-cutting look at both new technology and future opportunities.”
Forefront Technical Presentations
Technical sessions at this year’s conference centered around four thematic areas: Autonomous Systems, Nanophotonics and Plasmonics, Virtual Reality and Augmented Vision, as well as Quantum Technologies – the first-ever cross-cutting theme at an FiO + LS conference. These themes provided opportunities for focused exploration into the most compelling and promising technologies of today and tomorrow. In keeping with the conference objective to couple science and applications, two theme programs were supplemented by industry sessions on market trends and opportunities for key technologies.
"The high level of talks at FiO + LS from global leaders in optics and photonics research and innovation and the large number of Ph.D. students and young professionals make it 'the' place to learn and network," said 2019 FiO Co-chair Christoph Harder of Swissphotonics, Switzerland. "With new programming, special sessions, dynamic visionary speakers and special theme sessions, FiO + LS, the annual meeting of OSA, is the place where scientific ideas meet industrial interests."
The first plenary presentation of FiO + LS, titled “Generating High-Intensity, Ultrashort Optical Pulses,” was given by 2013 OSA President and 2018 Nobel Laureate in Physics Donna Strickland, who discussed the foundational research that led to her award-winning development of chirped pulse amplification (CPA) and the myriad innovations it has spawned. The power of CPA comes from its ability to create incredibly powerful yet fleetingly brief bursts of laser light, which led to numerous scientific advances and to such innovations as advanced laser eye surgery and precision cutting applications for industry.
Ronald Hanson, scientific director at QuTech, University of Delft, The Netherlands, provided a glimpse of future information sharing in the second plenary talk titled “The Dawn of a Quantum Internet.” Hanson described how future quantum networks will harness the power of entanglement, potentially revolutionizing the way data is stored, processed and transmitted across global networks.
With each new discovery, the fields of optics and photonics continue to grow and fuel new advances. To highlight recent breakthroughs in these areas, a number of industry and research experts were selected as Visionary Speakers for the conference.
Science and Industry Showcase
Bridging the gap between academia and applied research, this year’s conference featured a variety of special events in the Science and Industry Showcase exhibit floor, including live demonstrations and programming to support professional development and facilitate networking.
Also this year on the exhibit floor, a wide range of technical posters were presented, including a select number of Dynamic e-Posters, which added a multimedia element to the traditional printed format. Authors of particularly compelling posters were also given the opportunity to give Rapid-fire Oral Presentations, which highlighted key results from their research in brief yet high-impact sessions.
Other highlights included an update on the National Quantum Initiative (NQI) by University of Maryland, U.S.A., quantum physicist and IonQ founder Christopher Monroe, a Q&A session with PhD scientists and engineers who spent one year working for a member of the U.S. Congress through the Congressional Fellowship program, and a professional development and networking luncheon for students seeking insights at the beginnings of their careers.
“FiO + LS has certainly lived up to its reputation of providing unparalleled content and value,” said LS Co-chair Anne Kelley of the University of California, Merced, U.S.A. “The message was clear that, as an industry, optics and photonics is on the forefront of development, both in research and in translating discoveries into innovation engines.”
“Optics and laser science create an unmatched synergy that pushes technological development,” said LS Co-chair Hailin Wang, University of Oregon, Eugene, U.S.A. “The attendees at FiO + LS were able to take advantage of unique programming to help them identify the potential avenues for continued advancement.”
The 2020 conference will be held 13 - 17 September at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C., USA.