Optics in detecting threats, patents and more: AIO Day 3

By Arlene Smith, Ph.D.

Haris Riris (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, USA) spoke about 'Trace Gas Detection with Lidar from Space'. Trace gas detection is important for many earth and planetary science applications. Haris has demonstrated two viable architectures for a methane transmitter using OPA (Optical Parametric Amplifiers) and multi-wavelength OPOs to enable earth observation for methane measurements with resolutions down to 1 ppm.

The final speaker in the session, Augustus Way Fountain III (US Army, USA), discussed the 'Trends and Challenges for the Detection of HME Threats'. All detection events have three basic tasks: signature measurement, background measurement and analysis of the two to reconcile difference and make an informed decision on the threat. The detection of substances used in Home Made Explosives (HME) is nontrivial and while the technology is advancing, standoff detection is still a goal and not an operational reality in this field.

In the afternoon session -'You Light Up My Life' - Michelle Stock (Norlase, USA) described 'Compact, Direct-doubled Diode Lasers for Visible Light Applications'. Tapered directly-doubled diode lasers are potentially the the simplest architecture to go from electrons to photons with powers 1 - 20 W, and can be used on their own, or to pump Ti:Sapphire lasers for use in OCT and Two-Photon Fluorescence Microscopy. Next, Brandon Redding (Yale Univ, USA) spoke about how the motivation to get more power per mode drove his research towards a D-shaped cavity architecture.  Sebastian Stark (Menlo Systems GmbH, Germany) introduced 'Ultrafast Lasers and Frequency Combs for Industrial Applications'. This next-generation mode-locking technology, based on Nonlinear Optical Loop Mode-locking (NALM) structure, with no moving parts and no saturable absorber, can be stable and reliable in the long term. Michael Cone (Texas A&M Univ, USA) rounded out the session with his work on integrating cavity ring-down spectroscopy (ICRDS), which has advantages of isotropic illumination of the sample, independence of scattering effcts and is not restricted to specific cavity modes.

The evening session 'Photonics: The Next Generation' comprised two talks - one invited, one contributed - and a panel discussion. Michael Watts (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA) brought us 'Towards an Integrated Photonic LIDAR Chip'. This solution enables wide-angle beam steering over a wide range, meaning high-resolution 3D imaging in applications such as autonomous vehicles (and a more intelligent robot vacuum cleaner!) is within reach.  Christophe Martinez (CEA-LETI, France) shared a smart windshield concept utilizing holographic techniques, with good visual rendering even in bright external conditions.

This brought us straight into the Patenting Panel Session. Three patent attorneys, Mark Gallagher (Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP, USA), Richard E Kurtz II (Greenberg Traurig LLP, USA), and Kirk Damman (Lewis Rice, USA), offered their views on 'IP and Brand Protection in a Highly Competitive Technical Landscape’. The audience were walked through the life of a patent, gained insights into 'first to file' vs 'first to invent', and advised us on the filing process - file early, ask for expert help in preparing your application, and be prepared to wait two years or more before learning your fate (which is usually a rejection!). This session ran late due to an energizing audience discussion on this complicated and fascinating topic.

The AIO committee and some attendees gathered for a late dinner in Arlington, marking our last evening together at this meeting.




Posted: 11 June 2015 by Arlene Smith, Ph.D. | with 0 comments

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