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Showing posts from June, 2011

Ideas from the photonics lab can improve -- and even save -- lives

We’re living in the Century of the Photon, and examples of the important roles the enabling technology of photonics and optics play in our lives are everywhere.

For examples, start with computers and the internet.

SPIE Fellow John Greivenkamp, professor of optics at the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences, talks about the optical technologies inherent in those applications in this brief video.



A list of 50 breakthroughs contributed by researchers at America’s national labs has been compiled in a brochure published by the U.S. Department of Energy, and posted in a PDF on their website. Among the list:



From learning about photosynthesis came the ability to explore how to derive sustainable energy from the sun.An engineered particle removes arsenic from drinking water, and an ultraviolet-light system kills microbes that cause water-borne diseases. A revolution in medicine that has saved many lives with cancer-detecting nuclear imaging devices came out of development of the sc…

How many ways can photonics innovation change life for the better?

Quick quiz: List five examples of how photonics technology has changed how you live -- how you work, travel, relax, look after your health --- whatever. Easy, right? Now, name five photonics-based changes you expect to see in the near future. Also easy.

Photonics solutions are everywhere, and the time is ripe for more photonics innovation. Governments, industry, and other funders around the world are developing new policy initiatives and offering new sources of funding in support of photonics R&D.

Some of those initiatives need your participation to be successful. Among them:

●   In the UK, photonics recently was named one of the potential candidate areas for investment in the next phase of the Strategy and Implementation Plan for Technology and Innovation Centres (TICs). If you live in the UK, you can help influence that choice: Comments about what photonics can do are being sought, and can be posted on the photonics TIC discussion space or emailed to centres@tsb.gov.uk.

●   The Euro…

Tiny island, big opportunity! (Part 2 of 2 from Biophotonics '11)

(This is a guest post by Sabine Donner and Nadine Tinne, SPIE Student Chapter members who spent the end of May in Sweden at Biophotonics '11)

Last week we wrote about our expectations going into Biophotonics '11, and now that school has finished for the summer, we wanted to check back in to share a bit of our experience and encourage you all to find ways to get in touch with others in your own fields of research.

The tiny island of Ven between Denmark and Sweden hosted 15 professors and 64 students from 18 countries who joined the Biophotonics ’11 Summer School. Seven days was hardly enough time to sufficiently discuss topics of biomedical optics, hear lectures and make friends!

Dr. Katarina Svanberg (SPIE’s president) and the many other lecturers shared deep insights with us into their fields of research, including OCT, photodynamic therapy, and tumor imaging, and also motivated us to use photonics to fulfill unmet clinical needs. They emphasized the many ways that photons and…