The photonic quantum processor pictured here won the quantum technology award at the 2023 Prism Awards. (Image: Quix Quantum)

Photonics West 2023 featured the 15th annual gathering of the Prism Awards, a ceremony hosted by SPIE that honors and recognizes industrial innovation in photonics. This year's award ceremony included eight categories, a reduction from the 10 featured in 2022, with 24 total companies qualifying as finalists.

SPIE's international society for optics and photonics received 76 total applications from 19 different countries. Dynamic technology areas — encompassing augmented and virtual reality hardware, quantum, healthcare, and lasers — showcase the range and variety of this year's entries and finalists.

Here, Photonics & Imaging Technology provides a brief overview of the capabilities of each individual category award winner.

Award Category: AR VR MR

TriLite Technologies Trixel 3 

TriLite Technologies, the Vienna, Austria-based manufacturer that claims to develop the world's smallest projection displays, won the award for the "AR VR MR" category with their Trixel 3. TriLite describes Trixel 3 as its latest generation of laser beam scanners that uses a single two-dimensional MEMS mirror that moves in both the x and y directions in order to achieve a smaller and lighter package.

"Our latest product evolution, Trixel 3, sets a new standard in super small projection displays, and it is a revolutionary step forward in terms of size, weight, image quality, optical compatibility, power consumption and reliability," Peter Weigand, CEO at TriLite, said in a press release after winning the award.

Award Category: Biomedical

KUOS-0100 Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Scanner 

The KUOS-0100 won the award for the best Biomedical product. Developed by Korean startup Philophos, the KUOS-0100 is a briefcase-sized optical coherence tomography (OCT) device that can take real-time tomography of the inside of a living tissue similar to an ultrasound diagnostic device. The startup describes KUOS-0100 as the world's "first wireless handheld OCT."

"The company's slogan is to brighten the future of mankind with innovative optical technology, and this Prism Award is meaningful as it seems to be an encouragement to us that we have faithfully made such efforts over the past five years," Philophos CEO Jeong Joong-ho said in a statement released after the awards ceremony.

Award Category: Cameras and Imaging

Metalenz PolarEyes 

PolarEyes is the breakthrough polarization imaging platform developed by Metalenz, the Boston, Massachusetts-based developer of metasurface tech that seeks to enable the "proliferation of compact advanced sensing in mobile and beyond," according to its website.

PolarEyes is an optical module capable of instantly providing information previously unavailable to thereby providing highly valuable, previously unavailable information to machine vision systems.

Dr. Noah Rubin and Professor Federico Capasso demonstrated in foundational research that a single meta-optic can complete image all of the polarization information in a scene without filtering or loss of efficiency. Now, the team at Metalenz has productized this breakthrough with PolarEyes.

Dr. Noah Rubin and Professor Federico Capasso demonstrated in foundational research that a single meta-optic can complete image all of the polarization information in a scene without filtering or loss of efficiency. With PolarEyes, we are using our metasurface technology to look beyond just solving size and performance in existing sensor modules. We are empowering billions of devices with new information that will change the way that people and machines interact with and understand the world,” Rob Devlin, Metalenz Co-founder and CEO said in a press release.

Award Category: Lasers

Kyocera SLD Laser LiFi System 

Goleta, California-based Kyocera SLD Laser, Inc.'s DataLight high-speed laser LiFi commercial development kit that features a high-speed 1 Gbps, RF-free eye-safe bi-directional link. The company is targeting the development of LiFi for a wide variety of mobility applications, including car-to-x exterior, vehicle interiors, airplane cabins, undersea and space, defense and security, as well as future smart cities, healthcare, and smart factories.

Award Category: Quantum Technology

Quix Quantum Photonic Processor 

Quix Quantum's photonic quantum processor has 20 optical channels and is the anchor of the universal quantum computer being developed by the Netherlands startup. The processor is a low-loss, multimode, reconfigurable interferometer that requires end users to supply the light while its embedded quantum processing and control software "do the rest" according to its website.

“This is an incredible success for us,” said Dr.-Ing. Stefan Hengesbach, CEO of QuiX Quantum, “In four years, we went from an idea to delivering award-winning, market-leading hardware for photonic quantum computing. This awarded processor is the core element of our current generation quantum computers, which has already created a huge impact in the quantum ecosystem as an excellent tool to perform fundamental quantum mechanical experiments on chip.”

Award Category: Sensors

Ocean Insight SpeedSorter 

Ocean Insight's SpeedSorter is an industrial, high-throughput sensing system designed for in-line, nonferrous scrap sorting in difficult environments. Based on laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), the SpeedSorter quickly determines the chemical composition of each aluminum scrap object and communicates the result to the sorting system.

Award Category: Software

Dotphoton's Jetraw 

Dotphoton's Jetraw is a software capable of applying quantum physics insights to raw image compression. The three pillars of compression featured in Jetraw include image sensor characterization and modeling, accurate noise replacement, and metrological tests.

Jetraw technology is based on ‘untangling’ information from noise by calibrating the sensor, thus enabling the high compression ratio. ‘Untangling’ cannot be done fully, as Jetraw is still bound by the rules of information theory. Reduction of signal-to-noise (SNR) is kept at a minimum by enforcing strictly bounded, uniform, unbiased and uncorrelated errors, according to the Switzerland-based company.

Award Category: Test and Measurement

Precitec Optonik Flying Spot Scanner 

Precitec's Flying Spot Scanner (FSS) enables “high-speed OCT imaging for thickness and topography, and is combinable with various CHRocodile 2 IT sensors to create a smart inspection system,” according to its website.