The SPIE Photonics West 2017 technical conference and exhibition returns to The Moscone Center in San Francisco, January 28 through February 2, 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 20,000 attendees and put the products and services of over 1,300 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: 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
Attendees check out new products at SPIE Photonics West. (Bruce A. Bennett)

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
Over 1300 companies will be exhibiting at this year’s SPIE Photonics West. (Bruce A. Bennett)

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
Hamamatsu’s booth featured a driving simulator in 2016. (Bruce A. Bennett)

Brain 2017: A new addition to the SPIE Photonics West lineup is Brain 2017, which will highlight papers from BiOS, LASE, and OPTO that describe the development of innovative technologies to increase our understanding of brain function. Available presentations will be broken up into four categories:

  • Clinical and Translational Neurophotonics
  • Neural Imaging, Sensing, Optogenetics, and Optical Manipulation
  • Clinical Technologies, Laser Tissues Interaction, and Tissue Engineering
  • Nanobiophotonics
Laser Components brought NOX the Robot to SPIE Photonics West 2016. (Bruce A. Bennett)

In addition, there will be a special neurotechnology plenary session on Sunday, January 29 from 3:30 to 5:30 pm that will highlight the many advances occurring in the neurophotonics field and provide a networking and communication forum.

Translational Research: SPIE Translational Research 2017 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:

  • Photonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics
  • Neurophotonics, Neurosurgery, and Optogenetics
  • Tissue Optics, Laser-Tissue Interaction, and Tissue Engineering
  • Clinical Technologies and Systems
  • Biomedical Spectroscopy, Microscopy, and Imaging
  • Nano/Biophotonics
One of San Francisco’s legendary cable cars makes its way down to Fisherman’s Wharf. (Bruce A. Bennett)

3D Printing: SPIE Applications of 3D Printing 2017 will again 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

This year’s SPIE Photonics West will offer 72 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 this year include:

  • Stray Light Analysis and Control
  • Volume Bragg Gratings — New Optical Components Providing Unique Means
  • Fundamentals of Applied Pathophysiology in Optical Diagnostics
  • Nanophotonics: Fluorescence and Plasmon-Controlled Fluorescence
  • Thin Film Optical Coatings • High-Power Laser Technologies
  • Methodology for Measuring Dynamic Functional Connectivity in Neuroimaging Data Analysis
  • The Very Least You Need to Know about Optics
  • Fluorescence Sensing and Imaging Towards Portable Healthcare
Colorful Chinatown is a popular tourist destination. (Bruce A. Bennett)

A number of professional development workshops are also being offered to help you learn such skills as creating compelling research proposals, crafting scientific and technical presentations, conducting a successful job search, writing technical articles and white papers, and the seven habits of highly effective project managers.

Industry Events

Over 30 unique industry and special events are planned for this year’s SPIE Photonics West where you can learn about everything from choosing the right photodetector for a LiDAR system, to the challenges and opportunities presented by 3D printing, to how to increase a startup business’ chances of success.

For those seeking social interaction and networking opportunities, there will be an ABET Reception on Sunday, January 29 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm where attendees can learn about the ABET accreditation process. If that’s not to your liking, there’s a Women in Optics presentation — with refreshments to follow — on Monday from 5:00 – 6:30 pm. And, of course, one of the highlights of Monday’s social activities is the gala Photonics West Welcome Reception for all paid registered conference attendees from 7:00 – 8:30 pm.

Another popular event is the Speed Networking Social, held on Tuesday, January 31 from 4:30 – 6:00 pm at the ThirstyBear Brewing Company near the Moscone Center.

Looking for a job? Be sure to check out the Job Fair where prospective employers do their best to attract top talent. This year’s Job Fair will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 am to 5 pm.


Examples of San Francisco’s iconic architecture. (Bruce A. Bennett)

For many attendees, the high point of the event is the exhibitions where they can see the latest products and technologies on display. Kicking off this year’s Photonics West week is the BiOS Expo where the products and technologies of more than 200 exhibitors in biomedical optics and photonics will be on display. The BiOS Expo will be open on Saturday, January 28 and Sunday, January 29 from 10 am to 5:00 pm.

The main Photonics West exhibition opens on Tuesday, January 31 in Moscone North and South, and will showcase the products and services of more than 1300 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 and Wednesday from 10 am to 5 pm, and Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm.

After Hours

If you’re not too tired from seminars, networking events, and prowling the exhibit halls, try to spend some time exploring San Francisco, one of the most interesting cities in America. There’s plenty to see and do, from walking its many hills or riding them aboard one of the city’s legendary cable cars to taking a boat trip around the bay or over to Alcatraz Island. You can wander around world-famous Fisherman’s Wharf and sample some fresh seafood. Or perhaps a stroll through colorful Chinatown for a little souvenir shopping would be more to your liking. Grab an espresso or a slice of pizza in North Beach, San Francisco’s version of Little Italy, or take a trip down memory lane with a visit to the Haight Ashbury section where it doesn’t take much to feel the ghosts of the psychedelic ‘60s. And did you know that you can walk or bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge?

However you choose to spend your free time in the City by the Bay, you’re sure to find it a fitting complement to what you’ll see and learn at this year’s SPIE Photonics West 2017.

To download the complete SPIE Photonics West 2017 program and register for the event, go to .