BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA — SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, marked a triumphant Photonics West last week, with more than 22,000 registered attendees from 85 countries across the international optics and photonics community.
Held at San Francisco's Moscone Center from 28 January to 2 February, the largest annual photonics conference — which includes BiOS, LASE, OPTO, Quantum West, the BiOS Expo, the Photonics West exhibition, and the co-located AR|VR|MR conference and exhibition — hosted over 1,400 exhibitors, and featured over 4,500 technical presentations.
“That was one of the best SPIE Photonics Wests ever,” said SPIE CEO Kent Rochford. “The energy, engagement, and enthusiasm at the Moscone Center during the week was out of this world. AR|VR|MR over at Moscone West was a hive of activity, and the Quantum West program has become a must-attend event. But most of all, it was wonderful to see the networking, research-sharing, and business that went on all week among world-leading scientists, engineers, students, and businesspeople. What a great return to Photonics West.”
The exciting week showcased the latest technologies and discoveries of a diverse and thriving optics and photonics industry, bringing together researchers, innovators, engineers, and business leaders from across the globe. With the 15th annual Prism Awards honoring the top new optics and photonics products, and the fast-paced Startup Challenge pitch competition, SPIE Photonics West showcased and recognized the best optics and photonics technologies, trends, and entrepreneurial opportunities, while Quantum West’s talks and panels offered keen insights into this growing commercial ecosystem. The week also included extensive professional-development opportunities; a comprehensive range of technical presentations on everything from the latest laser applications to biomedical and healthcare innovations; live demonstrations on the exhibition floor; and a 25-company Job Fair. And on top of it all, Photonics West featured a packed calendar of special events, from EDI workshops to the highly popular Paws for a Break sessions with therapy animals, and focused networking events aimed at increasing global collaboration and advancing careers.
In addition, a program of 50 courses offering expert-led professional development and learning, included a top-rated Optical Technologies and Architectures for Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality Head-Mounted Displays taught by 2023 SPIE President and Director, Google AR, Bernard Kress.
While the week held myriad opportunities for attendees to learn, network, and share their latest advancements, it was the buzzing exhibitions, including 52 companies at AR|VR|MR, that best showcased the increasingly vital photonics industry and the importance of in-person meetings.
“It’s been fun to see everybody back and excited to see what’s in store for the coming year,” said Ibsen Photonics Senior Business Development Manager Heidi Olson. “We’ve had new leads and we’ve also been able to reconnect with a lot of projects that had slowed because people just weren’t here or weren’t connecting. It’s been fun to see the new opportunities re-emerging. It finally feels more like 2019, except I think it’s even better now: the layout is so open, so the whole thing feels like one cohesive show.”
“We have been very pleased with the number of attendees, with quite a good mixture from industrial to scientific researchers,” added MKS Senior Director of Product Marketing Scott White. “And we’ve been very pleased with how many attendees have been showing up with real projects to talk about. It’s great to be back and meeting people face-to-face again.”
“Honestly, we are right back where we were before the pandemic,” noted Hamamatsu Senior Marketing Coordinator Alison Kohyama. “There’s been a great amount of traffic at the booth, people seem to be even more engaged, wanting to discuss their projects, because they haven’t been able to in a while.” For Kohyama and her colleagues, SPIE Photonics West offered an extra, company-focused bonus: “It’s actually been wonderful because a lot of us don’t get to see each other anymore, so as far as networking within the company it’s been great as well — we haven’t been able to do that in-person in a long time.”
Also during the Photonics West week, SPIE invited applications for the 2023 SPIE Endowment Matching Program.
SPIE Photonics West 2024 will take place 27 January-1 February at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The call for papers for the 2024 event will open in Spring of 2023.
SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, brings engineers, scientists, students, and business professionals together to advance light-based science and technology. The Society, founded in 1955, connects and engages with our global constituency through industry-leading conferences and exhibitions; publications of conference proceedings, books, and journals in the SPIE Digital Library; and career-building opportunities. Over the past five years, SPIE has contributed more than $22 million to the international optics community through our advocacy and support, including scholarships, educational resources, travel grants, endowed gifts, and public-policy development. www.spie.org.