July 2014

Awesome Optics at AIO

By Arlene Smith, Ph.D. | Posted: 24 July 2014

The morning session of Day 4 - Awesome Optical Materials - was opened by Dr. Tigran Galstian (Universite Laval & LensVector). Tigran presented a liquid crystal-based motion-less adaptive optical system. This cost-effective approach has been successfully applied to mobile phone camera technology to enable autofocus, with future applications in LED lighting and ophthalmic products (contact lenses and intraocular lenses). Dr. Alexandre Brolo (University of Victoria) spoke about tailoring metallic nanostructures for Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS). Alexandre also discussed various potential applications for SERS probes, such as in designing customized cancer treatment by imaging the protein expression in dysplastic cells.

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Day 3 at Applied Industrial Optics 2014

By Arlene Smith, Ph.D. | Posted: 17 July 2014

Day 3 of AIO 2014 was action-packed with two panel sessions and a joint session with the Imaging Systems and Applications meeting, in addition to three 'regular' AIO sessions.

Dr Steven Dodge (Simon Fraser University) opened the first session of the day - 'Meaurement Makes Success' - with a presentation on Time-Domain Terahertz spectroscopy. Steven has used this technique to determine the thickness, moisture and basis weight of paper, and, in theory, this can be applied to other composites. Continuing the theme, Dr Rene Beigang (University of Kaiserslautern) discussed his work on Terahertz Time Domain Spectroscopy to analyse multi-layer structures. By adjusting the imaging frequency, different features can be isolated. Dr Balaji Gopalan (West Virginia University Research Corp) presented his research in using HSPIV (High Speed Particle Image Velocimetry) to measure particle velocity at very high sample rates, and Dr Christoph Leithold (University of Technology, Dresden) described a low-cost, fluid-membrane, adaptive lens for measurements through a dynamic gas-liquid interface.

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Applied Industrial Optics 2014: Summary of Day 1

By Arlene Smith, Ph.D. | Posted: 15 July 2014

Day 1 of AIO 2014 kicked off at 8:30am with the first session - 'Far and Away We See You'.  We heard from Dr Stewart Hager (Hager Environmental and Atmospheric Techno) about his work in replacing manned, single-line, Non-Dispersive IR systems, which are currently used for measurement of vehicle emission fumes, with EDAR (Emission Detecting and Reporting) technology. Similar to satellite-based detection systems, EDAR scans the vehicle from above, and a 3-D image of the emission plume can be reconstructed. Next, Dr Pietro Ferraro (INO, Italy) presented new applications of digital holography to detect survivors in fire scenes. By moving to IR wavelengths, the numerical aperture, and hence the size of ths scene which can be captured, increases 20-fold. Dr Steve Buckley (TSI Inc) rounded out the first session with the challenges of taking LIBS (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) out of the lab and into the field. The performance and characteristics of LIBS give the method unique advantages for real-time industrial measurements.

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Applied Industrial Optics 2014: Highlights from Day 2

By Arlene Smith, Ph.D. | Posted: 15 July 2014

Day 2 of AIO 2014 opened with the Joint Plenary Session, featuring speakers from Applied Industrial Optics (AIO), Imaging Systems and Applications (IS), and Laser Applications to Chemical, Security and Environmental Analysis (LACSEA). Dr Bernard Kress (Optics Lead at Google Glass, Google [X] Labs and AIO Plenary speaker), addressed a packed room about see-through optics for Head Mounted Displays (HMDs), current market offerings, and the requirements for the various HMD market segments. Dr Kress noted,"Today's fragmented HMD/smart glass markets require the development of a wide range of optical architectures to fit constantly evolving requirements. The perfect see-through optical technology for the consumer market has yet to be discovered." Dr Ramesh Raskar (MIT, IS Plenary Speaker) followed with a presentation on his work in cutting-edge computational imaging applied to inverse problems. Imaging with ultrafast sources - "Femto-Photography" - enables us to record what lies beyond the line of sight. In other words, we can look around corners! The third speaker of the session, Christof Schulz (University of Duisburg Essen, LACSEA Plenary Speaker), described his heroic efforts in flame control and the manufacture of nanoparticles.

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Light Enables Tomorrow’s Technologies

By Elizabeth Rogan | Posted: 14 July 2014

Living in a high-tech world, we don’t always stop to think about what enables us to video chat across the globe, detect cancer or even play an interactive video game. In all of these cases, a key enabler is photonics—applying light (photons) to advance technologies.

The Optical Society (OSA) has been a leader in the science of light for almost 100 years. As we approach the International Year of Light, our members are well positioned to create awareness of the importance light and light-based technologies. As a founding partner of IYL2015, OSA supports the IYL goal of “highlighting to the citizens of the world the importance of light and optical technologies in their lives, for their futures and for the development of society.”

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How To Make the Most of AIO 2014

By Arlene Smith, Ph.D. | Posted: 10 July 2014

Before you leave for AIO, use OSA’s online itinerary planner to manage your schedule during the meeting. AIO 2014 is part of the Imaging and Applied Optics Congress, which means sessions from all six topical meetings run concurrently during the week. Don’t miss out on the talks you want to attend!

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The Body Optic - Molecular Probes Save Lives

By Arlene Smith, Ph.D. | Posted: 1 July 2014

Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world; in fact, the American Cancer Society estimates 96,830 new cases of colorectal cancer cases in the United States for 2014 alone. Barratt’s Esophagus, which is strongly associated with esophageal adenocarcinoma, affects up to 10% of patients suffering from long-term acid reflux.


Diseased areas can be difficult to detect, even with a high-resolution imaging tool. I work in optical modelling of imaging systems for early cancer detection. I am a member of a multidisciplinary research group comprising electrical and mechanical engineers (and me, the physicist!) and molecular biologists. The biology team develop molecular probes, which, when excited with light of a certain wavelength, fluoresce, and act as a guide as to whether areas of tissue are normal (cancer-free) or pre-malignant mucosa (dysplasia). This fluorescence property is particularly useful when cancer is at an early stage when it is most likely to respond to treatment.  The molecular probe can highlight dysplastic regions during routine endoscopic procedures, increasing the likelihood of a correct diagnosis.

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