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Showing posts from May, 2011

Water, water, everywhere: photonics can make sure it’s fit to drink

Do you have ready access to clean drinking water?
That isn’t something everyone around the planet can take for granted. More than a billion people do not have access to clean water, and around 1.5 million children die each year as a result of water-borne diseases.
Several projects we’ve heard about recently are employing photonics technologies to change this picture and save lives.
A European Union research consortium is working on a compact, low-cost photocatalytic water treatment system that uses photons from sunlight to decompose organic pollutants in water. The completed system will resemble rooftop solar panels, and will be placed on dwellings near ponds and streams with poor water quality. It will require no electricity or chemicals, so will be well-suited to developing regions – and sustainable, wherever it is installed. Funded by an EU Seventh Framework Programme grant ,the consortium includes groups from Denmark, France, Italy, Israel, Jordan, South Africa, and the UK. Among the …

School’s not out for summer: Broadening horizons at Biophotonics ’11 (Part 1 of 2)

Biophotonics ’11 is underway and two of SPIE’s Student Chapter members are participating in the summer school program. Sabine Donner and Nadine Tinne, both students pursuing their PhDs in biophotonics at the Laser Zentrum Hannovere e.V., are currently on the island of Ven in Sweden, learning about tissue optics, optical imaging and cell manipulation with lasers, among many other things. SPIE is proud to be a sponsor of this event, which brings together renowned lecturers from all over the world with promising students from this field. Nadine and Sabine are going to check back in at the end of the summer school session with additional reflections and more about what they learned, but in the meantime, here are some of their thoughts as they got ready to head to Sweden!

“We are excited about getting in touch with other young scientists and expert lecturers and having the chance to discuss our work with them – hopefully being inspired and prepared for our future research. We both got into…

Here comes the sun: Sustainable energy solutions and green photonics

The effort toward a sustainable energy future got a boost this week.

Japan — already a leading world player in expanding  solar energy production capacity development — announced it is changing direction from nuclear power initiatives for electricity generation to renewable energy sources. Prime Minister Naoto Kantold the world press that Japan will increase energy generation via solar, wind and biomass in its power grid, as well as enhance energy conservation.

While the change in direction was at least partly related to tsunami damage nuclear-power facilities experienced in March, green photonics initiatives in several countries in recent years have boosted the world’s capacity for sustainable energy.

Here’s where the action has been:

• Photovoltaics (PV) for solar energy: Following record installations in 2010, there is now nearly 40 GW of at-peak PV capacity installed around the world, according to the latest annual report and forecast of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association …