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Showing posts from July, 2013

August recess brings Congress home for US photonics industry

One of the best chances of the year for the US photonics industry to capture the ear of Congress is scheduled to begin Friday: the August recess.

Do you wish that your Congressional representative or senator understood why your photonics business or research is important to the economy?

Do you wish that your representative knew how photonics helps -- to give just a few examples -- ensure community safety, cure diseases such as cancer, enable mobile phone communications and the internet, power 3D printing of airplane parts -- and create new industry and jobs?

To help tell the photonics story, researchers
including Naomi Halas of Rice University
(above) tell in an SPIE.tv video how they use
optics and photonics to kill cancer, treat brain
disorders, make computers run faster, convert
mobile phones into sophisticated wireless
diagnostic devices, identify concealed explosives,
and more. (Video:1:38) And do you wish that Congress realized that the nations that are most successful at being leaders …

Lasers may not be habit-forming

The Wall Street Journal reported recently on research at MIT aimed at curing people’s bad habits. But this involved sessions with a physicist rather than a psychologist.
After identifying cells important to habit formation, scientists were able to make them light-sensitive, and then “turn off compulsive behaviors, break habits they had previously inculcated and prevent habits from forming in the first place,” according to a report published in the Wall Street Journal, “Bad Habits Bent With Light” (subscription required).
We’ve reported on it before, particularly in the fascinating work of Ed Boyden at MIT (see SPIE Newsroom video interview with Boyden). In addition, Fraunhofer’s Ernst Bamberg gave a Hot Topics presentation on the topic at SPIE Photonics West 2013. But nothing makes technology like this accessible to the general public as well as relating it to something personal. Want to quit smoking? There’s a laser app for that! (Or there may be soon.)
As authors Kyle Smith and A…

What are we waiting for? Bring on more LEDs!

Efficient solid-state lighting (SSL) installations conserve national energy supplies and save real money for the consumer. Future applications have the potential to prevent some very serious diseases, and one light-emitting diode (LED) application is even aimed directly at saving lives.
And like all new technology, they bring the potential for new jobs and industry growth.
So it’s no wonder that SSL has been the focus of recent high-level studies released by the European Commission and by the United States’ National Academies (NA).
In line with its Digital Agenda for Europe, the EC’s “Lighting the Cities ” aims to help more European cities transition to LED-based lighting. With lighting accounting for approximately 50% of electricity consumption in cities, decreasing that about by the EU’s target of 20% by the year 2020 will have a major impact on the region’s carbon footprint, noted Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes.
Several European cities have already deployed SSL, with energ…