While conducting experiments for his doctoral thesis in 1969, Robert Alfano discovered the white-light supercontinuum laser—and was sure he'd made a mistake. "For three months I worked to find the source of my error," he told BioOptics World.
That supposed error has turned out to be a significant enabler for life sciences, as this issue's cover story illustrates (see "Supercontinuum empowers research, biomedicine," p. 34). To celebrate the 45th anniversary of supercontinuum generation, a special session during SPIE's Photonics West 2014 will feature seven speakers to explore a range of its aspects (February 5, 1:30 pm)—among them Govind P. Agrawal (University of Rochester) on biomedical applications of supercontinuum in optical fiber.
Photonics West will kick off on February 1 in San Francisco, CA, with the Biomedical Optics Symposium (BiOS) and BiOS Expo, which comprise our sector's major annual event—and the major part of the larger event. Overall, Photonics West will present approximately 4800 papers; about 2000 of these fall under BiOS.
The BiOS plenary, Hot Topics, will run as usual on Saturday, 7–9 pm. There, SPIE president H. Philip Stahl will announce winners of the Biophotonics Technology Innovator and Britton Chance Biomedical Optics awards. Then, eight selected speakers will dish up inspiration with talks on technologies ranging from scanning fiber endoscopy, to single-cell photonic nanocavity probes, to photoacoustic and optical coherence tomography (PAT and OCT, respectively); and on applications from chemotherapy and oxygenation assessment to neuroscience.
This year celebrates the 25th anniversary of the conference on laser-tissue interaction, while a new conference will cover optical elastography and tissue biomechanics.
SPIE will also introduce a "virtual symposium" on translational research—a Sunday lunchtime event featuring 200 papers on technologies and tools with high potential for clinical use. In addition, new panels will cover investing in healthcare ventures and financing startups. And a new tech-transfer showcase aims to connect academic and lab leaders seeking commercialization partners with business builders looking for new opportunities. And SPIE's Startup Challenge, which in past years has been dominated by biomedical optics, will give venture capital exposure and mentoring to aspiring entrepreneurs. On Sunday at 5 pm, Warren Grundfest of UCLA will chair a can't-miss presentation on FDA Policies and Procedures.
A first-come, first-served student networking "lunch with the experts" on Sunday at 12:30 pm will have veterans discussing careers in biomedical optics. And the annual Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation, designed to honor companies for newly released problem-solving products, has chosen as finalists for its Life Sciences and Biophotonics category AccuVein's AV400 vein viewing system, Holomic's rapid diagnostic reader, and Optofluidics' Nano Tweezer; the winner will be announced on February 6.
What a week! Want to meet and share notes on the event? Contact me: email@example.com, (603) 546-5985.
Editor in Chief