Sunday, March 25, 2012

Highlights from the Program Chairs

(One of seventeen youtube shorts from the program chairs highlighting hot topics for CLEO 2012)

For a few years now CLEO conference organizers have been posting youtube shorts highlighting contributed talks, symposia, research trends, and any new or unique directions for the upcoming conference. This year there are seventeen videos from the program chairs, all worth watching. However, for those who prefer text over A/V, I thought it might be helpful to highlight the highlights here.

Conference Program Stats

-The 2012 program has been selected from a record number of submissions.

-In just its second year, CLEO's new Technology and Applications Conference saw a 50 % increase in submissions.

-350 papers, 15 % of all submissions, live in the subcommittee sections "Nano-optics and Plasmonics" or "Micro- and Nano-Photonic Devices"

-Subcommittee section: "Fiber Amplifiers, Lasers and Devices" was the single committee that received the most submissions

CLEO Applications and Technology: Government and National Science, Security and Standards Applications

In his youtube short, subcommittee Chair Ian Mckinnie of Lockheed Martin Coherent Technologies briefly discusses the two tracks of this subcommittee: 1) Ultrafast Laser Applications and 2) Instrumentation and Sensing.

Mckinnie talks about how the ultrafast program covers a broad range ultrafast laser applications spanning those performed at large facility-class systems to those on a bench top or operating table. These are exemplified by the tutorial talk, AW3J1, "Enabling Science at the Advanced Light Source X-ray Facility" that will be given by Roger Falcone of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory from 4:30-5:30 pm on May 9, and the invited talk AW3J4, "Applications of Ultrafast Lasers" by Mike Mielke of Raydiance Inc., also on May 9, but from 6:00-6:30 pm

The Advanced Light Source (ALS) is a large synchrotron source that produces laser light over an extremely broad spectrum including the hard-to-reach soft x-ray region. Falcone will be discussing the use of the coherent radiation at this user-facility for applications such as precise material processing and biomedical research.

On the other hand, Mielke will be discussing the use of compact fiber systems for micromachining and laser surgery. See blog post "Machining with Ultrafast Pulses" for some stunning videos and more information on these compact micromachining systems.

On the remote sensing side, Massayuki Fujita, from the Institute of for Laser Technology in Osaka, will be giving an invited talk on an application of remote sensing not typically found in the CLEO conference program- nondestructive inspection for heavy industrial processes. Fujita's talk, ATuG3 "Nondestructive Inspection for Heavy Construction" can be heard on Tuesday May 8, at 2:30 pm.

CLEO Applications and Technology: Biomedical

In his youtube short, subcommitee chair Yu Chen from University of Maryland mentions a number of specific talks you won't want to miss:

In the session "In vivo Imaging", there will be two talks on on image-guided spectroscopy. The first will be a tutorial talk by Brian Pogue of Dartmouth on integrating optical molecular spectroscopy techniques into standard medical imaging equipment, ATh4C1, "Image-Guided Spectroscopy of Cancer: Translating Optical Technology into Clinical Tools" on May 10, at 4:30 pm. The second will be an invited talk from Brian Benaron of Spectros Corporation, ATh4C4, "Molecular Spectroscopy and Imaging: A multibillion-dollar industry reshaping biotech and medicine" also on May 10, but 6:00 pm.

Chen also mentions the contributed talks from the In Vivo session by Saivash Yazdanfar of GE Global Research who will be speaking about fluorescence image-guided procedures in talk ATh4C2, "Fluorescence Image Guided Surgical Instruments and Contrast Agents for Intraoperative Visualization of Nerves" on May 10, 5:30 pm as well as contributed talk from Adam Straub of Cornell University who will be presenting work on increasing multi-photon image acquisition speed by a whopping two orders of magnitude, ATh4C3, "Multiphoton Multifoci Modulation Microscopy for High-Speed Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging"at 5:45 pm on May 10.

Chen goes on to highlight other talks in session "OCT and Microscopy" which will be held on Thursday May 10, from 2:00-4:00 pm, perhaps most notably talk JTh3J, "Recent advances in translating OCT into GI Endoscopy" by Brett Bouma of Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the pioneers of OCT. There will also be a host of cutting edge talks in session "Cellular Imaging and Therapy" 8:00-10:00 am on Thursday May 10. This session kicks off with an invited talk by Adam Wax from Duke University, ATh1M1, entitled "Coherence Imaging for Early Cancer Detection."

CLEO Applications and Technology: Industrial Applications

In his video short, subcommittee chair Eric Mottay of Amplitude Systemes discuses the two major trends of the Industrial Applications subcommittee: 1) micro- and nanofabrication techniques and 2) applications of graphene.

Talks in the latter category can be found in a joint session with CLEO: Science and Innovation subcommittee six in session "Graphene and Carbon Advanced Photonic Materials" which will be held form 11:00am-1:00 pm on May 8. This session will host talks presenting graphene-based devices such as detectors, modulators, and tunable resonators. Recall that Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize for showing the "exceptional" properties of graphene such as it being simultaneously the thinnest and strongest material, having better electrical conductivity than copper, better heat conduction than all other known materials, and having nearly 100 % transparency yet an extremely high density (so dense helium atoms cannot pass through). Be sure to see how this "magical" material is being translated into devices that may be on the market in the next three to five years.

On the other hand, the invited talks for this subcommitee all center around micro- and nano- fabrication processes. Arnold Gillner of the Fraunhofer Institute will discuss how ultrafast lasers can be used for surface processing at the micro- and nanoscale level for applications in light guiding, fabrication of low friction surfaces, or wear-resistant surfaces. His talk, ATu3L1, "Micromanufacturing and nano surface functionalisation with ultrashort pulsed lasers" is scheduled for May 8, at 4:30 pm. Additionally, Paul Webster from Queen's University will be discussing online monitoring during fabrication, particularly concerning the control of depth, in invited talk ATu3L5, "Inline Coherent Imaging: Measuring and Controlling Depth in Industrial Laser Processes," on May 8, at 5:45 pm and Rick Russo from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will be speaking about real-time spectroscopy of a sample after it has been turned into a plasma through laser ablation in talk, AW1H3 "Laser Plasmas for Spectrochemistry" on May 9, at 11:00 am.

CLEO Applications and Technology: Energy and Environment

In his video short, subcommittee chair Christian Wetzel from Rensselaer Polytechnich Institute discusses two trends in paper submissions 1) environmental sensing, particularly atmospheric sensing using quantum cascade lasers (QCL) and 2) Breakthroughs in LED lighting, for which many contributed papers address ways of overcoming "droop" (the reduction in efficiency by when driving with high current).

These two topics will be also be discussed indirectly and directly in the special symposium "50th Anniversary of the Semiconductor Laser" in which one of the pioneers of the QCL, Jerome Faist, from the Institute of Quantum Electronics in Zurich, will be giving an invited talk "Quantum Cascade Lasers: Coming of Age" as well in the plenary talk, "Development of nonpolar and semipolar InGaN/GaN light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and Laser Diodes" by solid-state lighting giant Steven Denbaars of University of California, Santa Barbara.

Wetzel mentions two must-see invited talks in his short. One is talk JTh4J1 "Hydrogen Generation using Nitride Photoelectrode" by Kazuhiro Ohkawa of Tokoyo University of Science on May 10, at 4:30 pm. Ohkawa will show results of solar powered water-splitting on a nitride-based electrode for which the incident photon-to-electron conversion efficiency (IPCE) is upwards of 70%. The other is JTh1L3, "III-Nitride Optochemical Nanosensors" in which Jörg Teubert from Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen will discuss a nitride-based nanosensor for spectroscopic measurement and ph detection.

CLEO: Science and Innovation

In his youtube short, program co-chair René-Jean Essiambre of Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent discusses some of the trends of the various committees.

In subcommittee 11: Fiber Amplifiers, Lasers and Devices, Essiambre notes a trend in papers demonstrating lasers between 1.8-2.0 microns. This is a region where thulium and holmium give efficient and broad gain. Specifically, many submissions show increased wavelength tunability or higher-power operation. Since Essiambre mentions this track, I figured this would give me license to shamelessly promote my own contributed talk. I will be presenting a contributed paper in this category, CTu3M7, "All-fiber 10-GHz Picosecond-Pulse Generation at 1.9 μm without Mode-locking" which demonstrates an unconventional method for pulse generation in this spectral region.

What is so exciting about 2.0 micron light is that there are good gain media in this spectral region and it is just on the edge of the mid-IR for which spectral signatures for various interesting molecules have sharp unique absorption lines- the fingerprint region. Therefore, 2.0 micron sources may be good seed sources to frequency-shift to redder, more spectroscopically significant wavelengths. Two micron light also holds interest for silicon photonics since two-photon absorption, a hindrance for many processes involving tightly confined and/or pulsed light, drops off rapidly in silicon at 2.0 microns and beyond.

Essiambre also notes other trends in the various subcommittees in Science and Innovations. In subcommitee 12: Lightwave Communications and Optical Networks many submissions address new modulation formats and constellations, spatial multiplexing, and high spectral efficiency systems.

Subcommittee 13: Active Optical Sensing saw a focus on frequency combs, particularly making comb sources more accurate, with narrower line-widths, yet at the same time keeping them simple, portable, inexpensive and usable in harsh environments. This was also the trend for papers submitted to subcommittee 14: Optical Metrology. In addition, topics for this subcommittee address applications to astronomy, spectroscopy, and use for high precision standards, not to mention distribution of high-precision combs.

Check out the videos for more details and information. One of the marvelous things about CLEO is that it has so much breadth and hosts so many talks. However, this also makes it overwhelming and difficult to decide what to attend and to decipher new trends in research and applications. I recommend taking some time to hear what the chairs have to say so that they can make your work a little easier.

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