News Feature | November 23, 2022

Bright Ideas — Prism Award Finalists Announced, Insight Into Alternative Material For Solar Cells, and Exploring Graphene Quantum Dots

John Oncea

By John Oncea, Editor


SPIE, the international society for optical engineering has announced this year’s finalists for the SPIE Prism Awards. The 24 companies, across eight categories, will be honored during a 1 February 2023 gala evening at SPIE Photonics West. “The 2023 Prism Award finalists represent the most innovative technologies and developments in the optics and photonics industry,” said SPIE CEO Kent Rochford. “The scientists, engineers, and companies bringing these exciting products to market are impacting our daily lives and prospective futures in transformative ways, whether they are working on healthcare, augmented and virtual reality, quantum technologies, or any of the other categories.”

A new microscope has helped make discoveries about a promising solar cell material, according to ScienceDaily. A team of scientists from the Department of Energy's Ames National Laboratory developed a new characterization tool that allowed them to gain a unique insight into a possible alternative material for solar cells. Under the leadership of Jigang Wang, senior scientist from Ames Lab, the team developed a microscope that uses terahertz waves to collect data on material samples. The team then used their microscope to explore Methylammonium Lead Iodide (MAPbI3) perovskite, a material that could potentially replace silicon in solar cells.

Coherent Market Insights released a reportGlobal Laser Diode Market Size, Share, Price, Trends, Growth, Report and Forecast 2022-2028 – estimating the global laser diode market to be valued at $11.9 million in 2021 and forecasted to reach a value of $41.6 million by 2028 at a CAGR of 18.8% between 2021 and 2028. The report examines current developments in the sector and how they might impact a wider market. In addition to using the SWOT and Porter's Five Forces models to analyze the industry, it also considers market dynamics and important demand and pricing indicators.

Intel Corporation's acceleration program for early-stage deep tech startups, Intel Ignite, announced 10 startups selected for the fourth cohort in Munich, Germany.  The 12-week program began on November 14. Intel Ignite allows innovative startups to work intensively with technology experts from Intel, as well as investors, entrepreneurs, serial founders, and leading industry experts to accelerate their growth. Innovations coming out of the Intel Ignite program include making autonomous driving safer, reducing the energy consumption of hardware and cloud data centers, accelerating and improving AI algorithms, and making artificial intelligence more transparent. has released a reportThe Global Market for Graphene Quantum Dots 2023-2033 – exploring graphene quantum dots (GQDs), a relatively new member of the carbon nanomaterials family. GQDs display properties derived from both graphene and quantum dots (QDs), combining the structure of graphene with the edge effects, non-zero band gap, and quantum confinement effects of QDs and are being widely investigated for applications in optoelectronics, photonics, biomedicine, energy storage and conversion, anti-counterfeiting, and sensors.

Over the past three years, researchers at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) have developed an inexpensive alternative using lightweight optoelectronic silicon microchips such as those found in electronics. Now, in collaboration with the University of Málaga in Spain and Carleton University in Ottawa and supported by the High-throughput and Secure Networks (HTSN) Challenge program, the NRC team working with Dr. Pavel Cheben and Dr. Schmid has addressed huge challenges specific to integrated photonics. For example, they mastered the concept of implementing large-aperture light emitters directly onto a photonic integrated chip. The next phase of this project will involve working with Carleton University to build a functioning beam-steering system with optical antennas, as well as to devise innovations for performance improvements that include massive increases in wireless data rate.

Rockley Photonics has demonstrated groundbreaking technology that supports infrared and hyperspectral image detection and sensing devices to view images more clearly, at longer distances, and in low-light situations. Working in collaboration with UC Santa Barbara, the experiment shows first-time demonstration of a compact (micron-sized), monolithic silicon photonic electro-absorption-modulator maintaining its performance down to 4 Kelvin (-269.15 Celsius), enabling transmission of signals at cryogenically cooled temperatures with a compact, photonic integrated circuit.