Public Release: 

Science and applications intersect at the 2017 FIO + LS

Revamped conference concludes with a successful meeting in Washington, DC

The Optical Society

WASHINGTON - The 2017 Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science (FIO + LS) conference and exhibition concluded today featuring the latest in optics and photonics research and technology. With over 1,200 attendees, this year's meeting has been redesigned to provide attendees with innovative elements, such as the new Science and Industry Showcase and Visionary Speakers, and new presentation formats to spur thoughtful conversation around a richer array of results. The conference was built around four transformative technologies that are redefining the future: Automotive, Nanophotonics and Plasmonics, Optics in Computing and Virtual Reality and Augmented Vision.

"The technology enabled by optics and photonics is extraordinary," said Roseanne Sension, general co-chair for Laser Science. "The conference aligned the FIO + LS programming to offer a true glimpse of the intersection of science and applications."

Addressing the new meeting format, Susana Marcos, general co-chair for Frontiers in Optics said, "FIO + LS's new programming, speaker categories and presentation opportunities offered an exciting new experience for people at either their first FIO + LS meeting, or those who have been attending for many years, with trans-disciplinary contents, fostering exchanges between academia and industry, and cross-pollination opportunities across fields."

Science and Industry Showcase

Bridging the gap between academia and applied research, this year's conference featured a variety of special events on the exhibition floor, live demonstrations and programming to support professional development and facilitate networking. Highlights included seven programs from OSA Technical Groups discussing nearly every facet of the optics community, electronic posters presented by attendees and students and 'rapid oral' presentations which offered a new format for presenters, attendees and exhibitors to share and collaborate.

Groot Gregory, technical marketing director at Synopsys and FIO + LS exhibitor, said "The new features incorporated this year, such as the integration of the posters and 'rapid fire' oral presentations, was an effective way to bring conference attendees to the exhibition floor. Those direct interactions, maximized our ability to connect with current and potential customers."

Jin U. Kang, from the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics (LCSR), Johns Hopkins University, added "Our team had a live demonstration of surgical robots for eye surgery on display at FiO + LS. The exhibition offered us an opportunity to connect with those in the optical sciences to showcase how photonic techniques can be used to guide medical robots and provide critical information that can make robotic surgeries safer and better."

Plenary Speakers and Advocacy

FIO + LS featured two outstanding plenary speakers focusing on the high-profile technologies that are reshaping automobiles and astrophysics. Plenary presentations from Jason Eichenholz looked at LiDAR for autonomous vehicles, and Laura Cadonati detailed LIGO's recent achievements in creating a new astronomy of gravitational waves.

"We were extremely fortunate to have Jason and Laura as our plenary speakers this year," said Steven Cundiff, co-chair of Frontiers in Optics meeting. "Gravitational waves and the future of self-driving cars are hot optics. Not only for optics and photonics, but for society as a whole. The discoveries these two discussed will affect how we get around in the future and how much we can learn about the universe."

In addition to the plenary speakers, FIO + LS took advantage of the Washington, DC location and featured a talk from Rush Holt, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and former Congressmen from New Jersey. The program focused on the role scientists should play in the policy-making process, how people can get more involved in legislative process and a question and answer session with the audience.

Visionary Speakers

As technology advances at an ever-increasing pace, the potential applications for optics continue to grow and fuel new discoveries. To highlight the breakthrough work being done in optics, a new speaker category of was introduced this year.

Mark G. Raizen, general co-chair for Laser Science further explained, "The Visionary Speaker series is a great initiative, providing colloquium-style talks by recognized leaders in optics and laser science."

These "Visionary Speakers" were optical science innovators and leaders from both within and beyond the optics and photonics community. The Visionary Speakers discussed the future of innovation as it related to the four main conference themes.

The visionary speaker lineup included:

  • Majed Chergui, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

  • Michael Godwin, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, USA

  • Evelyn Hu, Harvard University, USA

  • Scott McEldowney, Oculus Research, USA

  • Vladimir M. Shalaev, Purdue University and Birck Nanotechnology Center, USA

  • James K. Thompson, JILA, NIST & University of Colorado at Boulder, USA

  • Marc A. Taubenblatt, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, USA

  • Jungsang Kim, Duke University and IonQ Inc., USA

  • Wilhelm Kaenders, TOPTICA Photonics, Germany

Videos of these presentations will be available on-demand in October on the FiO + LS website.

Hot Topics in Optics and Laser Science

Researchers from around the world presented industry leading technical peer-reviewed papers on topics including:

Relativistic Self-Focusing Gives Mid-IR Driven Electrons a Boost -- A team of researchers from the University of Maryland in College Park, USA and the Technical University of Vienna, Austria observed the production of relativistic electrons driven by low-energy, ultrashort mid-infrared laser pulses.

Getting Hold of Quantum Dot Biosensors -- Researchers from the University of Melbourne, Australia and Huazhong University o Science and Technology, China harnessed the power of optical tweezers to develop an all-silicon nanoantenna to trap individual quantum dots suspended in a microfluidic chamber.

Clamping Down on Causality by Probing Laser Cavities -- A collaboration between the University of Central Florida and Yale University was able to monitor the optical response of an externally probed laser cavity before and after gain clamping, revealing the underlying mechanisms driving the cavity's responses.

FIO + LS 2017 provided attendees from around the world with the opportunity to network, present, learn, and connect. The 2018 conference will be held on 16-20 September at the Washington Hilton, Washington, District of Columbia, USA.


About FiO + LS

Frontiers in Optics is The Optical Society's (OSA) Annual Meeting and held together with Laser Science, a meeting sponsored by the American Physical Society's Division of Laser Science (DLS). The two meetings unite the OSA and APS communities for five days of quality, cutting-edge presentations, in-demand invited speakers and a variety of special events spanning a broad range of topics in optics and photonics--the science of light--across the disciplines of physics, biology and chemistry. The exhibit floor will feature leading optics companies, technology products and programs. More information at:

About The Optical Society

Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:

Rebecca B. Andersen
The Optical Society
+1 202.416.1443

Joshua Miller
The Optical Society
+1 202.416.1435

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