• Technical Conference:  14 – 17 October 2019
  • Science & Industry Showcase:  15 – 16 October 2019

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The Intersection of Science + Applications

The 2018 Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science conference and exhibition concluded today featuring the latest in optics and photonics research and technology. The FiO meeting was held in conjunction with Laser Science, a meeting sponsored by the American Physical Society’s Division of Laser Science (DLS).


Convening 1,300 scientific and industry leaders, this year’s meeting provided attendees with innovative programming, spanning the content areas that will give rise to tomorrow’s technological breakthroughs. To that end, the conference was built around transformative technologies being developed under four key topics:  automotive optics, nanophotonics and plasmonics, quantum technologies and virtual reality and augmented vision.
“From the thematic organization of the conference to the selection of speakers, FiO + LS was designed to be a forward-looking program that effectively coupled research with realization. And we wanted attendees to be part of that realization,” said Christoph Harder, Swissphotonics, Switzerland, general co-chair for Frontiers in Optics.


That futuristic focus inspired discussions that addressed not only the evolution of the science, but also explored the future of the optics and photonics community. For example, OSA President Ian Walmsley painted a picture of OSA circa year 2030 as the professional society of the future.


WiSTEE Connect (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Entrepreneurship) convened the third international symposium “Global Women of Light” (GWL), focusing on career strategies for women in science, technology, engineering and entrepreneurship.


The technical program, including the plenary and multi visionary talks, offered fundamental research and its connection to emerging advances. Heike E. Riel, whose talk was entitled “The Future of Computing”, addressed the most exciting new frontiers of information technology: non-von Neumann and quantum computing. Gérard Mourou considered how chirped pulse amplification makes it possible to reduce the size of particle accelerators, which can affect applications in imaging for medicine, materials science and energy.


Conference visionary and contributed talks expanded upon these themes, and explored the latest insights into these rapidly evolving areas. For example, new research focused on topics that highlighted the broad-reaching impact optics and photonics provide across industries. Key peer-reviewed papers included:


Holography, Light-Field Technology Combo Could Deliver Practical 3-D Displays
Researchers in Japan and Belgium have begun to explore a combination of holography and light field technologies as a way to reduce the size and cost of more people-friendly AR/VR devices.


Near-Infrared Laser Systems for Monitoring Forest Dynamics from Space Pass Final Tests
A group of NASA engineers presented their work designing and building the laser systems for NASA's Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) mission, set to launch in November.


Compact Fiber Laser May Enable Wearable Tech and Better Endoscopes
Researchers from the Institute of Photonics Technology at Jinan University in Guangzhou have developed a smart, flexible photoacoustic imaging technique that may have potential applications in wearable devices, instrumentation and medical diagnostics.


FiO co-chair Wei Lee, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan, noted, “The conference aligned the FIO + LS programming to offer a true glimpse of the intersection of science and applications.”


Science and Industry Showcase
Furthering that connection, this year's conference again featured a variety of special events on the exhibition floor. For example, Ouster demonstrated its OS-1-64 automotive sensor, and attendees were able to test out VR and AR headsets, courtesy of MicroSoft HoloLens and Oculus Go. Other on-floor show programming helped to match attendees with new opportunities, from sessions on understanding the U.S. National Quantum Initiative, as supported by the National Photonics Initiative, to those exploring how to navigate the funding process and identify potential entrepreneurial prospects.


"FiO was very busy this year. We had a steady stream of customers visiting our exhibit to talk about our products, even outside the dedicated exhibit hall hours," said Max Chang, technical engineer at Santec USA. "As a result, we made new contacts, connected with current relations and generated great leads. We had great conversations with many high level scientists doing cutting edge work, and we discussed how to apply our products to current and future requirements."


“As optics and laser science continue to ignite technological developments, our goal was to ensure FiO + LS attendees had programming to help them identify the potential avenues for continued scientific advancement,” said Peter Delfyett, University of Central Florida, USA, LS co-chair.


Nathan Newbury, National Institute of Standards & Technology, USA, LS co-chair summarized this year’s event in one key sentiment. “The conference delivered a message of pervasive innovation. As an industry, we are entering a new paradigm where optics and photonics are on the forefront of development, both in scientific advancement and in market solutions. It’s a great time to be in the field.”


Videos of select presentations will be available on-demand in coming weeks on the FiO + LS website. The 2019 conference will be held on 14-17 October at the Washington Hilton, Washington, District of Columbia, USA.

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