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Prism Award finalists highlight optical innovation

16 Nov 2012

Brain imaging, narcotics detection and an atmospheric ash monitor all feature in short-list for annual competition.


Twenty-seven finalists have made the short-list for the 2013 Prism Awards, with the nine category winners set to be revealed during next year’s SPIE Photonics West conference and exhibition.

Sponsored by SPIE and Photonics Media, the awards were established to celebrate and draw attention to advances in photonics technologies and the applications that they enable.

This year sees three finalists in each of nine categories, covering applications from defense and security to biophotonics and industrial manufacturing.

Strong showing for Raman, hyperspectral
Among the eye-catching finalists this time are no fewer than three Raman-based detection systems: Thermo Scientific’s “TruNarc” portable Raman spectroscopy system for rapid detection of narcotics, the “Stroker” low-light Raman system from Wasatch Photonics, and Leosphere’s “R-MAN510” dual-polarization Raman lidar system for atmospheric monitoring – including “unambiguous” ash threat detection.

Hyperspectral imaging also features strongly, with Spectral Imaging’s “AsiaFENIX” system, P&P Optica’s “Hyperchannel” explosives detector, and Tornado Spectral Systems’ “Hyperflux” VIS-NIR spectrometer all finalists.

In the industrial lasers category, IPG Photonics’ new green fiber laser is up against Aerotech’s versatile “Nmark” series of scanners, as well as the “TeraBlade” 2 kW direct-diode source from MIT spin-out TeraDiode that promises a new level of compactness for laser welding and cutting.

The only company to feature in more than one category, and therefore in with a chance of winning two Prisms, is ultrafast specialist Femtolasers Produktions. The Vienna University of Technology spin-out is short-listed in the scientific lasers category for its ultra-stable “FEMTOSOURCE Rainbow CEP4”, and again in the life sciences and biophotonics category for its compact “INTEGRAL Core” Ti:sapphire laser.

Deeper brain imaging
Also in the life sciences category is Olympus America, for its “SCALEVIEW” microscope objectives – designed to allow deeper imaging into the brain – and a spectral imaging system for skin cancer detection from Verisante Technology.

SPIE’s CEO Eugene Arthurs said of the 2013 short-list: “Each year the quality of entries is higher and the competition keener. The awards celebrate the wide reach of photonics as an enabling technology and the innovation power of our community. Photonics inventions help create valuable new jobs in communications, healthcare, security, manufacturing, and entertainment.”

Tom Laurin, the CEO of co-sponsor Laurin Publishing, said of the 27 finalists: “Just as they are building on the inventions and innovations of the industry giants who came before them, they are all helping to build a strong industry for the future.”

Winners will be announced at a gala dinner taking place during next February’s Photonics West event – at which many of the finalists are also exhibiting. For full details, visit the 2013 Prism Awards web site. All of the finalists and their respective categories are listed below:

Defense and Security
OEwaves: Micro-Opto-Electronic-Oscillator, information systems on UAVs and other platforms
P&P Optica: The PPO HyperChannel, high-resolution detection of explosives
• Thermo Scientific Portable Analytical Instruments: TruNarc, handheld system for rapid narcotics identification

Detectors, Sensing, Imaging, and Cameras
• Princeton Instruments: IsoPlane SCT spectrograph, research-grade imaging spectrograph
• SPECIM, Spectral Imaging: AisaFENIX full spectrum hyperspectral imager, imaging plant health, detecting invasive and illicit species
• Wasatch Photonics: Stroker f/1.3, Raman spectroscopy in such low-light applications as on-line and industrial settings

Green Photonics
AdTech Optics: DFB QCL 783, air pollution and emissions monitoring
Javelin: ChromaID, environmental-toxin and food-safety testing
LEOSPHERE: R-MAN510; real-time detection of atmospheric hazards

Industrial Lasers
• Aerotech: Nmark AGV and Nmark CLS, versatile scanners
IPG Photonics: GLR-100, single-mode CW green laser for materials processing, solar cell manufacturing, semiconductor inspection and annealing, etc.
• TeraDiode: TeraBlade 2kW High Brightness Direct Diode Laser, beam combining for 1-µm fiber or disk laser brightness and direct-diode wall-plug efficiency and compactness, for industrial metal cutting and welding

Life Sciences and Biophotonics
FEMTOLASERS Produktions: INTEGRAL Core, small sub-8fs Ti:sapphire laser for biomedicine or industry
Olympus America: SCALEVIEW Microscope Objectives, seeing farther into the brain
Verisante Technology: Aura, multimodal imaging for skin cancer detection

AFL: LZM-100 LAZERMaster, CO2-laser system for splicing and shaping glass
• Heidelberg Instruments: MicroPG501 Direct Write Lithography System, desktop maskless lithography tool for small patterns
• Parian Technologies: Archetto 3, exponentially less-expensive nanolithography tool

Optics and Optical Components
• TAG Optics: TAG Lens 2.0, ultrahigh-speed acoustics to increase depth of field
TelAztec: Anti-Reflection Microstructures (ARMs), suppressing reflection for solar modules, displays, finished optics
• Tornado Spectral Systems: HyperFlux VIS-NIR multimode spectrometer, high spectral resolution with order-of-magnitude higher photon flux

Scientific Lasers
Continuum: Horizon OPO, full-spectrum spectroscopy research tool
FEMOTOLASERS Produktions: FEMTOSOURCE rainbow CEP4, ultra-stable tool for ultrafast science
• Insight Photonic Solutions: Advanced OCT Swept Tunable Laser, high-performance, low-cost tunable laser

Test, Measurement, Metrology
KMLabs: Chromatis, fast, accurate characterization of dispersive properties
Linden Photonics: Lindex Optics Cleaners, cleaning media for fiber optics
• RESOLUTION SPECTRA SYSTEMS: ZOOM SPECTRA, ultrahigh spectral resolution for tunable laser control, laser diode measurement, Bragg component measurement, high-depth OCT

ABTechSPECTROGON ABUniverse Kogaku America Inc.Optikos Corporation TRIOPTICS GmbHHyperion OpticsLaCroix Precision Optics
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