At the world’s largest photonics conference, more than 20,000 attendees packed San Francisco’s Moscone Center from 1 February through 6 February. Across one vibrant week, the SPIE Photonics West symposium, its BiOS, LASE, and OPTO symposia, and the inaugural AR/VR/MR conference boasted more than 1,300 exhibitors, 5,300 presentations, nearly 60 technical courses, and multiple industry-related special events.
From the glamorous Prism Awards honoring the top new optics and photonics products and the energizing Startup Challenge pitch competition, to the brand-new, industry-focused Venture Summit and the annual SPIE Job Fair, Photonics West showcased and recognized the best optics and photonics technologies, trends, and entrepreneurial opportunities. Latest research presentations – including a plenary by Nobel Laureate Eric Betzig – focused on both established and emerging areas, from 60-year-old laser technology and advancements in biomedicine, to AI, lidar, and quantum.
As part of a larger professional development track, popular courses included “Optical Technologies and Architectures for VR/AR/MR and HMDs,” and the brand-new “Modern Optical Measurements: An Introduction with Practical Applications.” And, during a special event, SPIE and the University of Central Florida unveiled the $650,000 SPIE-Glebov Family Optics and Photonics Graduate Scholarship Fund for the UCF’s College of Optics and Photonics, the latest collaboration in the five-year, $2.5 million SPIE Endowment Matching Program.
A perpetually busy industry stage featured dynamic panels on everything from equity in industry to AI in medical imaging, contributing to an already buzzing exhibition floor. “Hamamatsu Photonics considered Photonics West 2020 a great success,” said Hamamatsu Vice President of Marketing Earl Hergert. “We appreciate having the chance to contribute to the photonics community through our exhibition presence, industrial presentations, and sponsorships of workshops and conferences. Photonics West is the premier photonics show in the world, and the biggest source of our new opportunities. We look forward to Photonics West 2021.”
“We’ve had a super week both at BiOS and Photonics West this year,” said M Squared CEO and Founder Graeme Malcolm. “I think the combination of those two shows is always a good barometer for the health of the industry, and we’ve had a really vibrant and inspiring week. We see a lot of areas underpinned by photonics really starting to come through – that’s all the way from life sciences to chemical sensing to quantum. I think it’s a really exciting time for our industry, and the show and the conference have really been a highlight of the start of this year, of 2020.”
“Chromacity have been attending Photonics West since the company was founded over eight years ago and we’re excited to see the conference continue to grow as the leading photonics event worldwide,” said Chromacity CEO Shahida Imani, who also participated as a Startup Challenge judge, as a mentorship-panel member for the Venture Summit, and as a part of a trio of photonics CEOs discussing equity in industry. “It’s been an absolute pleasure to participate this year, and we look forward to attending again next year.”
“Schott is in ardent support of SPIE and Photonics West,” noted Director of Sales of The Americas at Schott North America Stephen J. Sokach. “We’ve always enjoyed great successes here, as well as a cooperative relationship. There were concerns about attendance dropping off this year because of world events, but we have been pleasantly surprised with the quality of the attendees as well as the quantity. We’ve had a very successful show, and we look forward to coming back next year.”
“The week has been incredible,” noted Dan Ford, senior sales territory manager of MKS Instruments, Ophir Products. “The traffic has been steady and in high quantities, and the lead quality has just been terrific. We’ve been seeing customers that we’ve been in business with for many years: they’ve got new projects starting up, so we’re seeing a very bright future in the industry here in the US and abroad.”
“The robustness and resiliency of the global photonics community shone through at Photonics West,” said SPIE Senior Director of Global Business Development Andrew Brown. “We experienced an extremely vibrant gathering of the international community in San Francisco: the packed plenary sessions and conferences, dynamic networking and industry events, and hustle of business being conducted during the exhibition brought a sense of normality to a period of global uncertainty. This was also a time when the values of our community around diversity, inclusion and compassion were reinforced. We truly are a global family in the photonics industry, and Photonics West continues to be the welcoming venue for its annual reunion.”
Photonics West 2021 will take place 23-28 January at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The call for papers for the 2021 event will open in early April, with abstracts due 15 July.