2013 Events

Note: The presentations for some events are available for browsing and downloading on the linked titles. Photo slideshows will be launched for those large clickable pictures. Each photo in the slideshows will be displayed for 10 seconds and automatically resized to fit your browser window and can be right clicked to the original size in another window. It may take a few moments for each photo to be loaded dependent upon your Internet connection speed.

January 17, 2013: "Curious about Curiosity on Mars?" by Dr. Chris McKay, NASA AMES

Abstract

Our annual "family holiday lecture - one month late" NASA has sent its most capable Mars rover ever, a veritable chemistry/geology laboratory on wheels to help answer our many questions about our neighbor planet's soil, rocks and atmosphere. Dr. Chris McKay, reknowned Mars Expert from NASA AMES, will bring the Photonics Society the latest news and views from this incredibly capable rover -- especially the analysis of rocks and soil vaporized by Curiosity's powerful ChemCam laser. (See article in "Opitcs & Photonics News" (OPN) Jan 2013.)

Biography

Christopher P. McKay is a planetary scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, studying planetary atmospheres, astrobiology and terraforming. He majored in physics at Florida Atlantic University, where he also studied mechanical engineering. He received his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Colorado in 1982.

May 7, 2013: "Semiconductor Laser Reliability and Failure Analysis" by Dr. Robert W. Herrick, INTEL

Abstract

Semiconductor lasers are the least expensive lasers available, as well as the most reliable. But they have a remarkably hard job, and most types are vulnerable to catastrophic failure if numerous precautions are not taken in their design and fabrication. We begin with a discussion of the most popular applications for semiconductor lasers. Materials and design details are critical in determining what vulnerabilities might be present. After two case studies of what can go wrong when the key steps are omitted, we go through the recommended procedure for qualifying new lasers, particularly for ultra-high reliability telecom or datacom deployments of lasers. Manufacturing guidelines are also addressed. Finally, the key to continuous improvement is failure analysis, so we briefly show how FA data can be collected, interpreted, and used to improve the designs.

Biography

Robert Herrick is one of the leading authorities in semiconductor laser reliability and failure analysis. He has contributed invited book chapters on the reliability of VCSELs (one of the most popular types of semiconductor lasers), and semiconductor laser failure analysis, as well as having given numerous invited papers and chaired conferences and sessions on these subjects. He received his MSEE from the University of Illinois in 1987; after graduation he worked on high power semiconductor lasers at McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis, Missouri, where he developed an appreciation for the vulnerabilities of semiconductor lasers to rapid degradation, particularly in high-power operation. He focused on these issues during his PhD work at UCSB (1992 ­ 1997), where he did the first studies on VCSEL failure analysis. Since 1997, he has worked the last 15 years as a reliability engineer and reliability manager at numerous semiconductor laser and VCSEL companies, including HP / Agilent, Emcore, Coherent, Finisar, and JDSU. Dr. Herrick has served as the chair of the local Santa Clara Valley chapter of the IEEE Photonics Society, and been a meeting organizer from 2005 to the present. He also was a co-founder of the IEEE Photovoltaic joint chapter, and is currently serving as the treasurer. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE, and a member of the SPIE and the Materials Research Society (MRS).

June 4, 2013: "Genetic Analyzers at Pacific Biosciences" by John Hejtmanek, Pacific Biosciences

Abstract

Pacific Biosciences launched the RS, a high resolution genetic analyzer in early 2011. The RS incorporates novel, single molecule sequencing techniques and advanced analytics to reveal true biology in real time. The RS conducts, monitors and analyzes biochemical reactions at the individual molecule level.The RS' subsystems include high performance optics, automated liquid handling, and an environmental control center. The RS uses a state-of-the-art computer system to perform the primary data analysis (base calling), and requires a high performance computer cluster to assemble the DNA molecule. The company received the 2010 Advanced Sequencing Technology Award from the National Human Genome Research Institute, and Technology Review magazine included them in their list of the top 50 most innovative companies for both 2010 and 2011. John Hejtmanek will provide updates on the latest genetic research activities, and then present an overview of the many sciences used at PacBio to produce a DNA analyzer capable of monitoring single molecule sequencing real time.

Biography

John Hejtmanek is the VP of Product and Reliability Engineering at Pacific Biosciences. After graduating from UC Davis with a BS in Physics, he spent 11 years in the biotech and medical industries as a systems engineer, working on a variety of products including: DNA and Peptide synthesizers, robots used to automate blood diagnostic tests, and whole blood diagnostics meters. John then switched to telecommunications, working for Lucent Technologies, Polycom and Extreme Networks. In July 2011, John was recruited back to biotech, joining Pacific Biosciences. John earned his MBA from Santa Clara University in 2010.

June 11, 2013: "Quantum Cascade Lasers" by Prof. Jerome Faist, ETH Zurich

Abstract

Quantum cascade lasers: pushing the frontier between optics and electronics Quantum cascade lasers have opened up many new opportunities in quantum electronics, by freeing us from previous limitations in material wavelength limitations. They have opened up a wide range of wavelengths in the mid and near infrared. We will discuss how QCL¹s work, how they are used, and what new developments are being pursued.

Biography

Jérôme Faist was born in Geneva, and obtained his Bachelor and Ph.D. in Physics, in the group of Prof. F.-K Reinhart from the Swiss Institute of Technology in Lausanne in 1985, 1989 respectively. After a post-doc in IBM Rueschlikon (89-91), he joined F. Capasso's group in Bell Laboratories in 1991 where he worked first as a post-doc and then as a Member of Technical Staff. From 1997 to 2007, he was professor in the physics institute of the University of Neuchâtel. In 2007, he became professor in the institute for quantum electronics of the ETH Zurich. His present interests are the development of high performance QC lasers in the Mid and Far-infrared and the physics of coherence in intersubband transitions in the presence of strong magnetic fields

July 2, 2013: "Compressive Light Field Displays & Cameras" by Dr. Gordon Wetzstein, MIT Media Lab

Abstract

With the invention of integral imaging and parallax barriers in the beginning of the 20th century, glasses-free 3D displays have become feasible. Only today -more than a century later- glasses-free 3D displays are finally emerging in the consumer market. The technologies being employed in current-generation devices, however, are fundamentally the same as what was invented 100 years ago. With rapid advances in optical fabrication, digital processing power, and computational perception, a new generation of display technology is emerging: compressive displays exploring the co-design of optical elements and computational processing while taking particular characteristics of the human visual system into account. In this talk, we explore modern approaches to glasses-free 3D display using compressive light field displays. In contrast to conventional display technology, these systems aim for a joint-design of the display optics and computational processing - a concept that has been exploited for image capture in computational photography for about a decade.

Biography

Gordon Wetzstein is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the MIT Media Lab. His research interests include light field and high dynamic range displays, projector-camera systems, computational optics, computational photography, computer vision, computer graphics, and augmented reality. Gordon received a Diplom in Media System Science with Honors from the Bauhaus-University Weimar in 2006 and a Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of British Columbia in 2011. His doctoral dissertation focuses on computational light modulation for image acquisition and display. He organized the IEEE CVPR 2013 and 2012 Workshops on Computational Cameras and Displays and won a best paper award for "Hand-Held Schlieren Photography with Light Field Probes" at ICCP 2011, introducing light field probes as computational displays for computer vision and fluid mechanics applications.

September 17, 2013: "Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur " by Dr. Simon Poole

Abstract

Every company - even the largest houseehold names such as Google or Apple or even IBM - begins life as a start-up. Drawing on experience gained from Dr. Poole's extensive start-up history, this presentation will look at how some of the companies and research groups in which Dr. Poole has been involved got started, what they did and how they subsequently developed and thrived. The presentation aims to inspire researchers who are considering how to commercialize their research to take the next steps and move out of the research lab and into the brave new world of commercialization.

Dr. Simon Poole is an engineer/entrepreneur with over 30 years experience in photonics in research, academia and industry. He has been involved in numerous successful start-ups in both Academia and industry and is renowned for both his contribution to the technology of photonics as well as the companies he has founded.

Biography

Dr. Simon Poole is an engineer/entrepreneur with over 30 years experience in photonics in research, academia and industry. He obtained his PhD from Southampton University in 1987 and was a member of the team that invented the Erbium-Doped Fiber Amplifier (EDFA) in 1985. In 1988 he moved to Australia and founded the Optical Fiber Technology Centre (OFTC) and subsequently Australian Photonics Cooperative Research Centre (APCRC) at the University of Sydney where he was director of the Sydney Node from 1991 to 1995. The APCRC grew to over 150 researchers and led to 15 start-ups which raised a total of over $250m in Venture Capital funding.

In 1995, Dr. Poole led the first spin-off company from the APCRC, Indx Pty Ltd which manufactured Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBGs) for optical communications. Indx was acquired by Uniphase Corporation (now JDS Uniphase) for $US6m and subsequently grew to over 300 people with exports of over $100m pa. After leaving JDSUniphase in late 2000 he worked as a venture partner with KPLJ Ventures before co-founding Engana Pty Ltd in September 2001.

As Enganaâ's CEO Dr. Poole raised $13m in VC funding and oversaw the development and launch of Enganaâ's market-leading Dynamic Wavelength Processor line of Wavelength Selective Switches in early 2005. The company, now Finisar Australia, employs 280 people in Sydney and a similar number in China, with annual sales of Wavelength Selective Switches of >$100m pa.

In 2008, Dr. Poole started a new group within Finisar, the New Business Ventures Group, to generate new, high value added businesses using the principles of Open Innovation. The first business within this group was the highly successful WaveShaper range of Programmable Optical Processors which already has sales of over $6m pa.

Dr. Poole is a Fellow of the IEEE in 2001 and is also a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers Australia (FIEAust), a Senior Member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (SMIET) and a Chartered Engineer (CEng). He has published over 150 refereed papers in journals and international conferences as well as filing 7 patents, including the initial patent on the EDFA.

November 5, 2013: "Optical and Electronic Approaches to Restoration of Sight to the Blind" by Prof. Daniel Palanker, Department of Ophthalmology and Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory Stanford University

Abstract

Retinal degenerative diseases lead to blindness due to loss of the “image capturing” photoreceptors, while neurons in the “image-processing” inner retinal layers are relatively well preserved. Information can be reintroduced into the visual system using electrical or optical stimulation of the surviving inner retinal neurons. Some electronic retinal prosthetic systems have already been tested in human patients and approved for clinical use, while more advanced technologies are being developed. Alternatively, light sensitivity can be artificially introduced into retinal neurons using opto-genetic or opto-pharmacological methods. Several optogenetic approaches have been successfully tested in animal models of retinal degeneration. I will review the current state of art with each of these approaches, their challenges, technological solutions and perspectives of restoration of sight to the blind.

Biography

Daniel Palanker is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and in the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory at Stanford University. He received his PhD in Applied Physics in 1994 from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Dr. Palanker studies interactions of electric field with biological cells and tissues in a broad range of frequencies: from quasi-static to optical, and develops their diagnostic, therapeutic and prosthetic applications, primarily in ophthalmology. Several of his developments are in clinical practice world-wide: Pulsed Electron Avalanche Knife (PEAK PlasmaBladeTM), Patterned Scanning Laser Photocoagulator (PASCALTM), and 3-D Image-guided Laser System for Cataract Surgery (CatalysTM). In addition to laser-tissue interactions, retinal phototherapy and associated neural plasticity Dr. Palanker is working on electro-neural interfaces, including the Photovoltaic Retinal Prosthesis for restoring sight to the blind.