After being forced to go virtual in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SPIE Photonics West 2022 technical conference and exhibition returns to The Moscone Center in San Francisco, January 22 - 27, offering attendees the opportunity to once again explore the latest innovations in lasers, photonics, optics, optoelectronics, biophotonics, biomedical optics, 3D printing and more. In accordance with federal, state, and local regulations, it is envisioned that proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masks will be required for all participants.

As in the past, the event will kick off with BiOS, the world’s largest biomedical optics conference, before transitioning into the Photonics West conference and exhibition. Previous events have hosted as many as 22,000 attendees and put the products and services of well over 1,000 exhibitors on display. More than 4,000 technical papers and 40 courses and workshop options will be available to conference participants throughout the week this year.

Technical Conference

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

BiOS: Billed as the “industry’s most important biophotonics, biomedical optics, and imaging conference, BiOS takes place on January 22 & 23 and gives attendees the opportunity to learn about the latest advances in the areas of biomedical optics, diagnostics and therapeutics, biophotonics, new imaging modalities, optical coherence tomography, neurophotonics, optogenetics, and tissue optics. This year, BiOS will feature 46 technical conferences divided into six technical tracks:

The SPIE Photonics West conference and exhibition is back at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. (Photo: Bruce A. Bennett)
  • Biomedical Spectroscopy, Microscopy, and Imaging

  • Photonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics

  • Clinical Technologies and Systems

  • Tissue Optics, Laser-Tissue Interaction, and Tissue Engineering

  • Nano/Biophotonics

  • Neurophotonics, Neurosurgery, and Optogenetics

Attendees stream into the exhibit hall at SPIE Photonics West 2020, the last time the event was held in-person. (Photo: Bruce A. Bennett)

LASE: LASE, also known as “the industrial laser, laser source, and laser application conference,” offers attendees the opportunity to learn about the latest fiber, diode, and solid state lasers; vertical external cavity surface emitting lasers (VECSELs); laser-based micro- and nanoprocessing; laser 3D manufacturing; high-power laser materials processing; ultrafast optics; laser resonators, microresonators, and beam control; nonlinear frequency generation and conversion; and laser system packaging. A total of 15 conferences will be divided up into four tracks:

  • Laser Sources

  • Nonlinear Optics and Beam Guiding

  • Micro-/Nano Applications

  • Macro Applications

OPTO: OPTO is the Optoelectronics, Photonics Materials and Devices Conference, devoted to addressing developments in a broad range of optoelectronic technologies. Attendees can expect to learn about the latest in silicon photonics, photonic crystals, optoelectronics, semiconductor lasers, and nanophotonics. OPTO will feature 36 conferences organized into eight technical tracks:

  • Optoelectronic Materials and Devices

  • Photonic Integration

  • Nanotechnologies in Photonics

  • MOEMS-MEMS in Photonics

  • Advanced Quantum and Optoelectronic Applications

  • Semiconductor Lasers, LEDs, and Applications

  • Displays and Holography

  • Optical Communications: Devices to Systems

Applications Tracks

SPIE Photonics West’s application tracks group presentations on a specific topic together within the program so that participants can easily locate presentations specific to their area of interest. The four focused topics are: brain, translational research, 3D printing, and COVID-19 research.

SPIE Brain: SPIE Brain 2022 will highlight papers from BiOS, LASE and OPTO that describe the development of innovative technologies designed to increase our understanding of brain function. Some of the topics to be covered include:

  • Structured Illumination for Mapping Brain Activity

  • 3D Reconstruction of Human Brain Areas with Light Sheet Microscopy

  • High-Resolution Deep Brain Imaging Using Adaptive Optics Three-Photon Microscopy

  • Choosing an Optimal Wavelength to Detect Brain Activity in Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy

Translational Research: SPIE Translational Research 2022 will highlight papers from BiOS that showcase the latest photonics technologies, tools, and techniques with high potential to impact healthcare. Topics to be covered include:

  • Technical Innovations and Clinical Translation for in Vivo Taman Spectroscopy, Multimodal Imaging and Raman-Based Chemical Imaging

  • Clinical Translation of Intracranial Pressure Sensing with Diffuse Correlation Spectroscopy

  • Translational Studies on Optogenetic Reactivation of Retinal Ganglion Cells

  • Assessing Aggressive Prostate Cancer in Intact Prostate with a Translational Needle Photoacoustic Sensing Probe

3D Printing: SPIE Applications of 3D Printing 2022 will highlight papers that showcase innovative ways to apply this multidimensional/multidisciplinary technology. Topics to be covered include:

  • Controlling Light in Scattering Materials for 3D Printing

  • Xolography for Volumetric 3D Printing

  • Optical Element Fabrication by 3D Printing via Liquid Immersion

  • Enhancing the Tip of Optical Fibers with Micro 3D Printing

COVID-19 Research: This new track will showcase papers that illustrate the creativity and breadth of the optics and photonics community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the topics to be covered include:

  • High-Resolution Intranasal Micro-Optical Coherence Tomography Imaging of COVID-19 Positive Human Subjects

  • Strategies for the Development of Photonic Sensors for COVID-19

  • A 3D Printed Microarray Device Towards SARS-COV2 Detection

  • Integrated Photonic Chip for Spike Protein and Antigen Detections

Educational Courses

This year’s SPIE Photonics West will offer 40 courses designed to help you stay competitive and advance your career. This year’s courses will focus on a variety of technologies including lasers, biophotonics, augmented and virtual reality, optical system design, and more. Courses range from two-hour to full-day and, in some cases, two-day formats. Some of the courses being offered this year include:

  • Optical System Design: Layout Principles and Practice

  • Photodetectors: Theory, Practice, and Applications

  • Optical Measurements for (Automotive) Displays

  • Solid State Laser Technology

  • Optical Metrology for AR/VR/MR

  • Quantum Computing

These courses all have fees involved, so it would be wise to register in advance.

Social Networking Events

You know what they say about all work and no play, so a variety of industry and social networking events are planned for this year’s SPIE Photonics West.

From Saturday, January 22, through Tuesday, January 25, there will be a series of First-Timer’s Meetups where SPIE staffers will be on hand to help newbies get the most out of this year’s event.

The BiOS Expo Happy Hour on January 23 from 2:30 - 3:30 pm will allow attendees to socialize with exhibitors. Later that day from 7:00 - 8:30 pm at the ThirstyBear Brewing Company, the SPIE Career Lab will give people connected to the optics & photonics industry the opportunity to help each other with professional advice, questions, and opportunities. There will also be a SPIE Publications Reception-BIOS at the InterContinental Hotel from 8:00 - 9:00 pm.

On Monday, January 24, there will be a Student and Early Career Networking Social from 5:00 - 6:00 pm in the Moscone Center Level 3 West lobby, an Executive Women’s Meetup offsite from 6:00-7:30 pm, and the always popular Photonics West Welcome Reception in the Yerba Buena Ballroom from 7:00 - 9:00 pm.

Tuesday, January 25, will feature a SPIE Student Chapter Meetup from 11:00 am - 12:00 pm in the Career Hub, a whiskey tasting at the SPIE Booth (#3374) from 1:00 - 5:00 pm in the afternoon, a Career Networking Mixer from 4:00 - 5:00 pm, the SPIE Publications Reception-OPTO and LASE from 5:00 - 6:00 pm at the InterContinental Hotel, and the LGBTQ+ Social from 6:30 - 7:30 pm at the Table-top Tap House, open to those with a paid registration badge.

Wednesday, January 26, will feature a second round of whiskey tasting at the SPIE Booth in Hall D from 1:00 - 5:00 pm, and a Black in Photonics Meetup in the Level 1 West Career Hub from 5:30 - 6:30 pm.

The social networking opportunities will wrap up on Thursday, January 27, with another whiskey tasting at the SPIE Booth from 12:00 - 4:00 pm, as well as the popular Photonics West Happy Hour from 2:30 - 3:30 pm.

One of San Francisco’s iconic cable cars (Photo: Bruce A. Bennett)

In addition, throughout the week there will be a job fair, free headshots by professional photographers, and free resume reviews to help kickstart your career or take it to the next level.

Finally, don’t miss the always popular SPIE Startup Challenge, a pitch competition that is a lively, interactive event showcasing the power of entrepreneurs to move photonics technology to the global marketplace. The top entrepreneurs with pre-seed and seed stage businesses will have just five minutes to pitch their businesses to a team of expert judges. The top pitch presenter will go home with $10,000 in cash.


For many attendees, the high point of the event is the exhibits where they can see, feel and learn about the latest products and technology on display. As always, kicking off this year’s Photonics West week is the BiOS Expo where the products and technologies of more than 150 of the leading companies in the biomedical optics and photonics industries will be on display. The BiOS Expo will be open on Saturday, January 22 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday, January 23 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The main Photonics West exhibition opens on Tuesday, January 25 and will showcase the products and services of close to 1000 exhibitors who specialize 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 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Thursday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

After Hours

If you have any energy left after walking the exhibit hall for hours or attending workshops and seminars, get out and see some of San Francisco, one of America’s most interesting cities.

If you enjoy walking or running, try challenging some of the city’s legendary hills or walk the Embarcadero to see the Ferry Market Building and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. History? Take a boat ride to Alcatraz Island, or visit the City Lights bookstore. Architecture? Marvel at such iconic buildings as the Transamerica Pyramid; the green, triangular-shaped Columbus Tower (a.k.a. the Sentinel Building); or San Francisco’s magnificent city hall. Ride a cable car; grab some fresh seafood on Fisherman’s Wharf; or explore some of San Francisco’s colorful neighborhoods like Chinatown, North Beach, Haight-Ashbury, or the Castro.

Regardless of how you choose to spend your time in the City by the Bay, one thing is certain. Between SPIE Photonics West and all that San Francisco has to offer, you won’t get bored.

To download the complete SPIE Photonics West 2022 program and register for the event, go here .