The SPIE Photonics West 2016 technical conference and exhibition returns to The Moscone Center in San Francisco, February 13-18, offering attendees the opportunity to explore the latest innovations in lasers, photonics, optics, optoelectronics, biophotonics, biomedical optics, 3D printing and more. As in the past, the event will once again kick off with BiOS, the world’s largest biomedical optics conference, before transitioning into the Photonics West conference and exhibition. Last year’s event hosted more than 21,000 attendees and put the products and services of over 1,250 exhibitors on display. More than 4,800 technical papers will be available to conference participants throughout the week.

Technical Conference

This year’s technical program consists of three separate conferences – BiOS, LASE and OPTO - designed to help attendees quickly and accurately access their areas of interest.

BiOS: BiOS, which is the world's largest biomedical optics conference, gives attendees the opportunity to learn about the latest advancements in the areas of biomedical optics, diagnostics and therapeutics, new imaging modalities, optical coherence tomography, and tissue optics. The conference is divided into six tracks:

  • Photonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics;
  • Clinical Technologies and Systems;
  • Neurophotonics, neurosurgery, and optogenetics;
  • Tissue Optics, Laser-Tissue Interaction, and Tissue Engineering;
  • Biomedical Spectroscopy, Microscopy, and Imaging;
  • Nano/Biophotonics.

LASE: LASE is the Laser Technology and Industrial Laser Conference where attendees can learn about the latest laser manufacturing; laser materials processing; micro-nano packaging; fiber, diode, solid state lasers; laser resonators; ultrafast, semiconductor lasers and LEDs; and 3D fabrication technologies. The five conference tracks offered by LASE are:

  • Laser Source Engineering;
  • Nonlinear Optics;
  • Semiconductor Lasers and LEDs;
  • Laser Micro/Nanoengineering;
  • Laser Applications.

The busy show floor at SPIE Photonics West (SPIE Photonics West)
OPTO: OPTO is the Optoelectronics and Photonics Conference part of SPIE Photonics West, devoted to addressing the latest developments in a broad range of optoelectronic technologies. Attendees can expect to hear the latest on silicon photonics, photonic crystals, optoelectronics, semiconductor lasers, quantum dots, and nanophotonics research. OPTO is organized into eight conference program tracks:

  • Optoelectronic Materials and Devices;
  • Photonic Integration;
  • Nanotechnologies in Photonics;
  • MOEMS-MEMS in Photonics;
  • Advanced Quantum and Optoelectronic Applications;
  • Semiconductor Lasers and LEDs;
  • Displays and Holography;
  • Optical Communications: Devices to Systems.

In addition, three Photonics West Application Tracks will be available to give attendees access to technical papers and presentations featured at conferences they may not be able to attend:

SPIE Photonics West gives exhibitors an opportunity to demonstrate their latest technology. (SPIE Photonics West)
Green Photonics: SPIE Green Photonics 2016 will highlight papers dealing with solid state lighting and displays, laser-assisted manufacturing and micro/nano fabrication, communications, and renewable energy generation via fusion and photovoltaics. Topic areas to be addressed include:

  • Laser-assisted Manufacturing and Micro/Nano Fabrication;
  • Renewable Energy Generation: Fusion and Photovoltaics;
  • Environmental Monitoring and Sensing;
  • Solid State Lighting and Displays;
  • Communications.

Attendees check out new products at SPIE Photonics West (SPIE Photonics West)
Translational Research: SPIE Translational Research 2016, which is being offered as part of SPIE Photonics West, will highlight papers from BiOS that showcase the latest photonics technologies, tools, and techniques with high potential to impact healthcare. Topic areas to be covered include:

  • Clinical Technologies and Systems;
  • Tissue Optics, Laser-Tissue Interaction, and Tissue Engineering;
  • Photonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics;
  • Biomedical Spectroscopy, Microscopy, and Imaging;
  • Nano/Biophotonics;
  • Neurophotonics, Neurosurgery, and Optogenetics

3D Printing: SPIE Applications of 3D Printing 2016 will highlight papers from BiOS, LASE, and OPTO that showcase innovative ways to apply this new multidimensional/multidisciplinary technology. Topics to be addressed include:

  • Additive manufacturing;
  • Selective laser melting, laser sintering, laser photopolymerization;
  • Novel materials, protean materials, and laser interactions;
  • Software that increases efficiencies and speed;
  • In-situ sensors or probes to verify and quantify additive manufacturing processes in real time;
  • Conformal photonics/electronics.

Professional Development

San Francisco’s colorful Chinatown (Bruce A. Bennett)
This year’s SPIE Photonics West will offer 67 half- and full-day courses and workshops designed to help you stay competitive and advance your career. You will have an opportunity to learn current approaches in lasers and applications, sensors, imaging, IR systems, optical & optomechanical engineering and more, as well as earn CEUs toward fulfilling ongoing professional education requirements. Some of the new and featured courses being offered include:

  • Fluorescence Sensing and Imaging: Towards Portable Healthcare;
  • Lithium Niobate Devices and Applications;
  • Improving Laser Reliability – an Introduction;
  • Optics in the Hospital – Endoscope Specification and Design;
  • Computational Nanomedicine;
  • How to Construct Your Own Spectrometer;
  • Fundamentals of Molded Optics;
  • Optical Glass – Properties and Application-oriented Specification;
  • Passive and Active Fiber Optics;
  • Ultrafast Lasers and Amplifiers;
  • High Dynamic Range Imaging;
  • Biomedical Applications of Specialty Optical Fibers and Fiber Sensors;
  • Modeling and Simulation with Computational Fourier Optics;
  • Advanced Thermal Management Materials.

Pedestrian walkway on the Golden Gate Bridge (Bruce A. Bennett)
In addition, career development workshops are being offered to help you learn such skills as creating compelling research proposals, crafting scientific and technical presentations, conducting a successful job search, and writing technical articles and white papers. SPIE Student Members who register in advance can attend these workshops for $10 or less.

Industry Events

A number of unique industry events are planned for this year’s SPIE Photonics West.

On Monday, February 15, there will be a Photonics Cluster Reception hosted by SPIE where leaders from regional optics and photonics clusters can connect with each other over drinks and appetizers and get an industry update from Stephen Anderson. There will also be two events to help you improve your marketing efforts, and two events devoted to helping you deal with ITAR regulations.

On Tuesday there will be panels and presentations on such topics as patent filing considerations, financing a photonics business, and an industry perspective on silicon photonics and integrated circuits.

Wednesday is, by far, the busiest day of the week for industry events. In addition to panels on 3D printing; the conflict minerals (tin, tantalum, tungsten, gold) rule; and getting hired; attendees can learn what makes for a great optics and photonics workplace, or listen to industry leaders share their perspectives on the world of optics and photonics. The SPIE Startup Challenge gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to pitch new photonics businesses to a panel of judges for cash prizes, and the day ends with the gala PRISM Awards Banquet and Ceremony.

Alcatraz Island (Bruce A. Bennett)
For those diehard attendees who just can’t get enough, Thursday kicks off with a photonics industry update keynote address and ends with a commercialization and prototype showcase where attendees can meet one-on-one with the entrepreneurs who pitched their business ideas during Wednesday’s SPIE Startup Challenge.

A popular event for SPIE Fellows is the annual SPIE Fellows Luncheon, which will be held on Monday, February 15, from noon to 1:30 pm. This year’s speaker will be Prof. David Sampson from the University of Western Australia, who will speak about using optics to image cells in human tissues.


For many attendees, the high point of the event is the exhibitions. Kicking off this year’s Photonics West week is the BiOS Expo where the products and technologies of 220 exhibitors in biomedical optics and photonics will be on display. The BiOS Expo, located in Moscone West, will be open on Saturday, February 13, from noon to 5:00 pm, and Sunday, February 14, from 10 am to 5:00 pm.

The main Photonics West exhibition opens on Tuesday, February 16 in Moscone North and South, and will showcase the products and services of more than 1250 exhibitors specializing in lasers, photonics, optics, fiber optics, imaging and sensing equipment, lenses and filters, metrology, and more. The Photonics West show floor will be open on Tuesday from 10 am to 5 pm, Wednesday from 10 am to 5 pm, and Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm.

After Hours

If you’ve never been to San Francisco, or even if you have, take some time before and after the show to explore the many scenic, cultural, and gastronomical pleasures the iconic City by the Bay has to offer.

Spend some time exploring the city’s diverse, multicultural neighborhoods from North Beach and Chinatown to the legendary Haight-Ashbury or Castro district. Ride up and down the hills on one of San Francisco’s classic cable cars, walk or bike across the breathtaking Golden Gate Bridge (1.7 miles long, 220 feet above the water), or visit the historic City Lights Bookstore and Vesuvio Café where the ghosts of famous Beat writers like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac still linger. Take a boat ride to Alcatraz Island and explore one of the world’s most notorious prisons. If shopping is your thing, the Union Square area offers everything from souvenir shops and boutiques to indoor malls and major department stores. And when those hunger pangs hit, you can find a restaurant serving any type of cuisine you crave from fresh seafood on Fisherman’s Wharf to tasty tacos and burritos in the Mission District.

When all is said and done, between the show and the city that hosts it, there will be no lack of stimulation for your mind, your body, and your soul.

To download the complete SPIE Photonics West 2016 program and register for the event, go to