Optics Industry Luminaries Network and Learn at FiO 2007, Field's Longest-Standing Event



Angela Stark

Optics Industry Luminaries Network and Learn at FiO 2007,
Field's Longest-Standing Event

-- OSA Votes to Introduce Review Journal; 2008 Officers Announced --

SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 1 – Frontiers in Optics 2007 (FiO), the longest-standing meeting in optics and photonics, closed Sept. 20 after a week of top-quality research presentations, symposia and special events. Consisting of 157 sessions and nearly 800 technical presentations, talks honed in on some of the most innovative research in the field. More than 1,300 attendees convened during the meeting's keynote sessions, technical talks, exhibition and networking events.  

With the leaders of the Optical Society of America (OSA) all in attendance, FiO always serves as a backdrop for a number of important announcements. One example: the OSA Publications Council approved the creation of an optics review journal. More information on this journal, including its launch date and the submission process will be available in January 2008.

"Thanks to the foresight of the OSA Publications Council, OSA will be able to act quickly to establish a new review journal," says Elizabeth A. Rogan, OSA executive director. "Our leadership agrees that as the publisher of the highest-impact optics and photonics journals, OSA’s review journal will surely capture the best research in the field. This new publication will be an important focus of our activities in 2008."

Another business announcement at the meeting identified OSA's next leaders. 2007 President Joseph Eberly reported that James Wyant of the University of Arizona was elected as the 2008 OSA vice president and Alexander Gaeta, Cornell University, USA; Masataka Nakazawa, Tohoku University, Japan; and David Welch, Infinera, USA were also elected as new directors-at-large. 

As part of the FiO technical program, the conference keynote session featured two industry luminaries discussing timely topics. Eli Yablonovitch of the University of California, Berkeley gave a keynote talk on nanophotonics and the growing role plasmonics is playing in the field, calling it "the bridge from the micro to the nano world." He also challenged the audience by talking of the need for a light source in silicon, a laser that functions as well and as efficiently as what's been done in other mediums. Nobel Laureate John Hall with JILA and the University of Colorado, also gave a provocative plenary talk on the origins and future of the optical frequency comb. Citing important research for its development, Hall spoke about all those who helped to come up with the theories that lead to the comb, as well as the comb's potential in non-invasive diagnostics. He also made a passionate entreaty for his colleagues to get out in the community and work with children in 6th through 8th grade, emphasizing the importance of inspiring passion for scientific research in young minds.

OSA's own commitment to this topic of ongoing science education was emphasized in several events at the meeting. Held in conjunction with FiO, Educators' Day brought together nearly 100 middle- and high-school science teachers for hands-on experiment training. The event was designed to give teachers the resources to bring optics alive in their classrooms. At another event, a representative from the Girl Scouts of the USA attended student sessions to encourage them to become active with their own local troops. An OSA Foundation brunch emphasized the importance of preparing tomorrow's great minds and focused on the support the Foundation provides for student education. 

On the technical side, the FiO program featured some exciting new research, including papers on an intraocular camera for retinal prostheses, a LIDAR system for planes, confocal polarimetry measurements of tissue infected with malaria, an ultrafast gigantic photo-response and a 21st century version of Young's experiment. The "Optics Overview" session on Sunday emphasized the most important developments in each sub-field of optics and photonics, providing a comprehensive look at the entire field. Post-deadline papers showcased the latest advances for the conference.

Complementing the contributed and invited technical talks in the program were the special symposia organized to reflect on some of the emerging and important developments in optics, both historical and recent. "Optics for Energy" captured interest with discussions focusing on the hot topic of energy efficiency. "Optics and the Second 'Magic Decade' of Quantum Mechanics" had a standing-room only audience as it looked at the historical evolution of the field. "(Guarded) Rational Exuberance: Renaissance after the Telecom Boom?!" drew many attendees and forecasted the future of optical communications and was a perfect topic for the location of this year's meeting.

Located in San Jose, this year's event took advantage of its Silicon Valley location to showcase innovations coming from organizations in the region. Almost 50 talks at the event featured research conducted by area academic institutions and corporations on such diverse topics as photonic crystals, fiber lasers and cellular imaging.

The exhibition further rounded out the programming at the conference, featuring 50 of the industry's leading companies. Newport, Optikos, Swamp Optics, Thorlabs and others were all on-site showcasing their latest products and generating sales.
"Three of OSA's honorary members, Emil Wolf, Charles Townes and John Hall, joined us at FiO this year," said Rogan. "Leaders in the field attend OSA's Annual Meeting because it served them as students and continues to serve their technical interests as seasoned professionals.  It gives attendees an unparalleled opportunity to learn, network and connect not only with one another, but also with some of the field's most renowned scientists and engineers. I want to thank the conference chairs, Connie Chang-Hasnain and Greg Quarles, the technical program chairs and all of the volunteers for making FiO 2007 a resounding success."

Consistent with the strength of the FiO technical program, the annual meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Laser Science, collocated with FiO, was a strong feature of the week. The APS Arthur Schawlow Prize in Laser Science was awarded during the joint FiO/APS conference plenary session to Szymon Suckewer for pioneering contributions to the generation of ultra-short wavelength and femtosecond lasers and X-ray microscopy. Suckewer gave a short acceptance speech and a technical overview of his work at the meeting.

Next year’s conference will take place Oct. 19 – 23 in Rochester, N.Y. For more information throughout the year, visit www.frontiersinoptics.org.

About OSA

Uniting more than 70,000 professionals from 134 countries, the Optical Society of America (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit www.osa.org