Conference Notes

and Andreas F. ThossORCID iD:

Preview: Photonics West 2020

San Francisco, CA, USA, 1–6 February, 2020

In February 2020 the SPIE Photonics West conference and exhibition will open its doors once again at the San Francisco Moscone Center. It is, in fact, not one conference but a congress uniting three main conferences with a large number of side events, and it is not one exhibition but is actually two. About 5200 presentations were given at the last event, 22 000 people attended the conference and there were 1400 exhibitors.

The two exhibitions are the BiOS Expo and the Photonics West exhibition. The first is a smaller event with about 220 exhibitors and takes place on the Saturday and Sunday at the beginning of the main conference. The much bigger SPIE Photonics West exhibition starts on Tuesday 4th February 2020 at 10 am and ends on Thursday afternoon at 4 pm. SPIE have announced 1350 exhibitors.


SPIE Photonics West will be the biggest conference on optics and photonics in 2020, and it has a lot to offer.

Citation: Advanced Optical Technologies 8, 6; 10.1515/aot-2019-0060

The conferences

After years with new and changing conferences, the organizers now focus on three main conferences:

BIOS: A review of current research and applications where light is applied in the biomedical field. Topics include photonic therapeutics and diagnostics. Special attention is paid to translational research, clinical technologies, and systems.

LASE: This is all about lasers. Topics include laser source engineering, nonlinear optics, laser manufacturing, laser micro-/nanoengineering, three-dimensional (3D) fabrication, materials processing, and more.

OPTO: This is about a wide range of technologies related to optics: Topics include optoelectronic materials and devices, photonic integration, displays and holography, nanotechnologies in photonics, advanced quantum and optoelectronic applications, semiconductor lasers and LEDs, micro-opto-electro-mechanical systems-micro-electro-mechanical systems (MOEMS-MEMS), and optical communications.

Most remarkable among the various side events is the SPIE AR, VR, MR event chaired by Microsoft’s Bernhard Kress and Christophe Peroz from Magic Leap, Inc. This 3-day event includes a new technical program, invited industry talks, panel discussion, an optical design challenge for students, courses (require separate registration and fees), headset demonstrations, and the opportunity to network with leading companies and thought leaders.

Beside the actual symposia, SPIE has arranged for a few application tracks. Those are particular fields of interest which arrange papers submitted to the conferences into one track. One track is ‘Brain’, another one ‘Translational Research’, and finally, there is ‘3D Printing’. These are not separate symposia, but tracks that resemble submissions from LASE, BiOS or OPTO into one topical framework.

The industry program

SPIE is an association that caters to the applied research and photonics industry. Accordingly, the list of industry events at Photonics West is long. Most well known is certainly the Prism Awards ceremony where the best new products from various fields of optics are recognized at a festive banquet. The event takes place on Wednesday 5th February 2020 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, Yerba Buena Ballroom (Lower Level).

Less well known but equally as interesting is the SPIE Startup Challenge. New photonics enterprises have the chance to pitch to two fields, healthcare and deep tech. As the organizers say: ‘With over $85 000 in cash, prizes, and promotion at stake, this is an event not to be missed.’

The top two entrepreneurs from each semi-final track will have just 5 min each to pitch their businesses to a team of expert judges. The top pitch presenter will go home with $10 000 in cash from JENOPTIK and $5000 worth of equipment from Edmund Optics.

The event on Wednesday 5th February will conclude with a networking reception from 3:30 to 4:30 pm where you can meet the presenters and fellow attendees involved in photonics entrepreneurship. More information is available at the Startup Challenge website:

Of course, there is much more in the industry program, actually about 60 events in 3 days. This includes 13 sessions with industry talks on the expo industry stage, a 2-day job fair, and the Wednesday Industry workshops. All this, and of course, the exhibition itself, is accessible with the ‘Exhibition Only’ badge. The startup challenge as well as the conferences require a conference badge.

The Laser and Photonics Marketplace Seminar

The Marketplace Seminar is a separate event which offers photonics-industry executives, analysts, and investors strategic insights and guidance, with exclusive content and invaluable, high-level networking opportunities.

Now in its 32nd year, the Laser Focus World-produced seminar will be augmenting SPIE’s growing industry program. The day-long seminar, taking place on the Monday between the SPIE BiOS and SPIE Photonics West exhibitions, features content specifically designed for industry executives, covering the state of the global laser and photonics markets, trade challenges, investment flows, and emerging technology trends and opportunities.

The detailed program of the Marketplace seminar on Monday, 3rd February is as follows:

7:00 amRegistration and continental breakfast8:00 amWelcome and introduction

John Lewis, Editor in Chief, Laser Focus World8:10 am–8:45 amPhotonics for the future: New components, new opportunities

Akira Hiruma, President and CEO, Hamamatsu Photonics8:45 am–10:00 amGlobal laser markets: Insights and forecasts

Conversation with Editor in Chief John Lewis

Allen Nogee, Laser Analyst, Strategies Unlimited10:00 am–10:30 amBreak10:30 am–11:10 amChina: Economic and political tensions and the future of the world’s largest laser market

Bo Gu, PhD, Bos Photonics11:10 am–12:10 pmExecutive panel: The global photonics marketplace – Key trends in markets and technologies

Moderator: Stephen G. Anderson, Director, Industry Development SPIE

Panelists: Giovanni Barbarossa, PhD, President, Laser Solutions Group and CTO II–VI Incorporated

Ralf Kimmel, General Manager, TRUMPF Laser Technology

David Nislick, PhD, CEO, Excelitas Technologies

Kurt Weingarten, PhD, General Partner, Tarkas Ventures12:10 pm–1:40 pmNetworking lunch with SPIE

Global public policy and investments

Jennifer Douris O’Bryan, Government Affairs Director, SPIE1:40 pm–2:30 pmKeynote discussion

A conversation with John Lee, MKS Instruments

John T.C. Lee, President and COO, MKS Instruments2:30 pm–3:00 pmEmerging laser applications – New demands on optics

Jessica DeGroote Nelson, PhD, Director of Technology & Strategy, Optimax Systems3:00 pm–3:30 pmBreak3:30 pm–4:00 pmMulti-kW ultrafast lasers

Dieter Hoffman, Manager, Lasers and Optics, Fraunhofer ILT4:00 pm–5:00 pmSensors and Sensing Panel: VCSELS vs edge-emitters and the race for new applications

John Dexheimer, LightWave Advisors

Panelists: Karlheinz Gulden, II–VI Incorporated

Mary Hibbs-Brenner, Vixar5:00 pm–6:30 pmNetworking reception

Beer, pretzels and more…

If you have enjoyed all the presentations and you had a day that gave you the feeling that the investment in exorbitant hotel prices in San Francisco was justified, then it is time for a drink and relaxed conversation with old friends and new contacts.

And there is a good chance that you can have that for free, or at least it might be included in your ticket or your SPIE membership. A inaugural reception starts Sunday night at 5 pm with refreshments at the ‘Optical Design Challenge Awards and Reception’. It is announced for 5:00 pm and there is a promising crowd of sponsors for the challenge: Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Huawei, and SPIE invite you to attend. The location is Room 12 (South Exhibit Level).

On the Monday night SPIE invites you to its Welcome reception. That is probably the biggest event, open for all conference attendees. It begins on Monday evening at 7:00 pm at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, Yerba Buena Ballroom (Lower B2 Level). SPIE promises ‘delicious San Francisco-inspired cuisine’ and ‘outstanding and visionary accomplishments of the past that inspired the present day and future applications of optics and photonics’.

On the Tuesday night, there will be the exhibitor reception. So far, SPIE has no further details on their website, however it usually starts at 6 pm. But you may join booth parties before that time. The long time champion for booth parties at the LASER Munich, Toptica photonics, will start at 5 pm at their booth. This year’s motto is ‘All Wavelengths’, this is a must-see event…

Wednesday is the day for celebrating: You may join the SPIE Startup Challenge Awards Reception at 5 pm in Room 21 (North exhibit level). The bigger party is certainly the Prism awards ceremony and the banquet at the Marriott Marquis Hotel at 6 pm. SPIE says, ‘This gala has become the largest gathering of CEOs and VIPs in the photonics industry.’

This is a small preview, there are many more receptions, short courses, presentations, plenaries, etc. After all, Photonics West is a great meeting of the global photonics community. Attending is a good way to learn about recent or coming trends. But first of all, it is about meeting people.

EOS News

Optics and photonics experts and students meet in Porto in September, 2020

The European Optical Society’s Annual Meeting (EOSAM) will gather optics and photonics experts and students together in Porto, Portugal, 7–11 September 2020. A full week of novel research results presented from the widest range of optics and photonics fields, tutorials, special sessions, as well as industry-oriented programs and networking events will entice you together with the beautiful city of Porto.

This time all topics in the field of optics and photonics will be covered. Several topical meetings with specified topics, as well as a special topical meeting on Advances and Applications of Optics and Photonics will guarantee the inclusion of all fields. New topical meetings are added on top of the already established ones, and special sessions and events will be announced soon.

Topical meetings (TOMs) included at EOSAM (more to be added soon):

  1. TOM 1 – Silicon Photonics and Guided-Wave Optics
  2. TOM 2 – Computational, Adaptive, and Freeform Optics
  3. TOM 3 – Optical System Design, Tolerancing, and Manufacturing
  4. TOM 4 – Bio-Medical Optics
  5. TOM 5 – Resonant Nanophotonics : Fundamentals, and Applications
  6. TOM 6 – Frontiers in Optical Metrology
  7. TOM 7 – Organic and Hybrid Semiconductor Materials, and Devices
  8. TOM 8 – Optics and Arts
  9. TOM 9 – Tapered Optical Fibers, from Fundamental to Applications
  10. TOM 10 – Optical Communications
  11. TOM Advances and Applications of Optics and Photonics

Submissions are welcomed for oral and poster presentations for all topical meetings (two pages in total). The submission will be opened on 3rd December 2019 and will last until 26th March, 2020. Companies are also warmly invited to send posters describing their key know-how. These industrial posters will be displayed in the topical meeting rooms, as well as added in a general poster session for all attendees to view. Price per poster is only €100 and only requires delivering the poster onsite.

In addition to the several topical meetings, a special session on European Union (EU) project dissemination is planned. Chaired by Giampiero Gerini, the session will give the opportunity to present ongoing or just finished projects, supported by the EU. One can present an overview of ones goals and ones major achievements. Submissions for this session are also welcomed starting 3rd December, 2019.

Tutorials on topical meeting topics, as well as an autumn physics school will be held on Monday 7th September, with free entrance for all EOSAM attendees.

Much more is planned and will soon be announced. Follow the EOSAM website and social media for updates:


EOSAM on Twitter:

See you in Porto, Portugal in 2020!


Douro River and the historical port of Porto. (Wikipedia, mcxurxo published under CC BY 2.0 licence

Citation: Advanced Optical Technologies 8, 6; 10.1515/aot-2019-0060

Conference Calendar



SPIE Photonics West

San Francisco, CA, USA

1–6 February 2020

SPIE Medical Imaging

Houston, TX, USA

15–20 February 2020

SPIE Advanced Lithography

San Jose, CA, USA

23–27 February 2020


Optical Fiber Communications Conference and Exhibition (OFC)

San Diego, CA, USA

8–12 March 2020

OSA High Brightness Sources and Light-driven Interactions Congress

Prague, Czech Republic

23–25 March 2020

SPIE Photonics Europe

Strasbourg, France

29 March–2 April 2020


OSA Biophotonics Congress: Biomedical Optics

Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

20–23 April 2020

SPIE Defense+Commercial Sensing

Anaheim, CA, USA

26–30 April 2020



Aachen, Germany

6–8 May 2020


San Lose, CA, USA

10–15 May 2020



Stuttgart, Germany

16–18 June 2020

Stuttgarter Lasertage SLT 2020

Stuttgart, Germany

16–17 June 2020

2020 International Conference Laser Optics (ICLO)

Saint Petersburg, Russia

8–12 June 2020

SPIE Astronomical Telescopes+Instrumentation

Yokohama, Japan

14–19 June 2020

OSA Imaging and Applied Optics Congress

Vancouver, British Columbia Canada

22–26 June 2020


OSA Advanced Photonics Congress

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

13–16 July 2020


SPIE Optics+Photonics

San Diego, CA, USA

23–27 August 2020


Conference on Numerical Simulation of Optoelectronic Devices (NUSOD)

Turin, Italy

14–18 September 2020

Abstract Submission Date: 15 April 2020

Frontiers in Optics: the 104th OSA Annual Meeting and Exhibit/Laser Science Conference

Washington, DC, USA

14–17 September 2020

2020 IEEE Photonics Conference (IPC)

Vancouver, BC Canada

27 September–1 October 2020


OSA Laser Congress/ASSL

Quebec city, Quebec, Canada

13–17 October 2020



Stuttgart, Germany

10–12 November 2020

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Journal + Issues

Advanced Optical Technologies is a strictly peer-reviewed scientific journal. The major aim of Advanced Optical Technologies is to publish recent progress in the fields of optical design, optical engineering, and optical manufacturing. Advanced Optical Technologies has a main focus on applied research and addresses scientists as well as experts in industrial research and development.