2018 Applied Industrial Optics (AIO) Chair, Dr. Martin Garbos shares his thoughts on the meeting.

By Sogol Borjian, Ph.D

Tell us a little about yourself. What is your background and how did you arrive at your current role?
My scientific background began with nanophysics studies in Wuerzburg, Germany and Vancouver, Canada. During my thesis, I developed a fully optical transistor using 2D photonic crystal structures. I got fascinated by photonic crystals and their ability to control various properties of light. After graduation, I joined Philip Russell’s division at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light. He gave me the opportunity to work on liquid filled photonic crystal fibers in conjunction with laser tweezers during my PhD thesis. Next, I entered the business world and joined Buerkert Fluid Control Systems in 2012. I currently work there in the field of optical sensors in a triple role as project manager, optics expert and head of the optoelectronics team. 
What is the Applied Industrial Optics (AIO) conference?
Applied Industrial Optics (AIO) is a networking platform for passionate people who work in the field of optics and want to transfer their work into real life applications. You can find students, CEOs, technical experts, young professionals, start-up founders, and many more amongst its attendees. We make sure to have ample time for conversation and try to create a friendly and familiar atmosphere. We also try to include fresh ideas every year by changing the committee. Typically, invited speakers become committee members and incorporate new ideas.
How did you first get involved in AIO? Why have you stuck around?
My connection to the OSA began when Philip Russell introduced me to it and I became a board member of the local student chapter “h-bar omega”. I attended conferences but lost contact when I started working in industry in 2012. Fortunately, three years later I was invited to give a talk at AIO in Washington. The open atmosphere and networking opportunities were great and they asked me to join the committee. It simply is a pleasure to work together in such a familiar atmosphere with remarkable people. I guess this is what got me more and more involved.
What do you think makes AIO meeting a remarkable meeting?
Personally, I have never attended a comparable meeting before. AIO is about the latest breakthroughs in a broad range of optics topics, but it is also about the challenges of getting ideas and optical technologies out into the real world in a beneficial way for society. I found the latter part being the most difficult and got in touch with many people at AIO who had the same experience. This was a great opportunity to get in touch and exchange tips and tricks about intellectual property, business models, start-ups, funding, etc. What AIO boils down to for me is a blend of cutting edge optics technologies, making it real and networking with interesting people in sessions or at the bar in the evening.
What is your favorite type of AIO Talk/Session?
I enjoy all types, especially when there is food and drinks involved. All jokes aside, if you ask me for my favorite it probably is the panel discussion. We usually arrange the chairs in a circular manner so the audience is part of the discussion. The panelists have a broad knowledge in a specific topic and everyone in the audience gets a chance to ask direct questions and discuss with them, other than just listening. Oftentimes the panel sessions are in the evening which creates an even more relaxed atmosphere. And yes indeed, usually we have food and drinks there as well.
How could AIO be helpful for the young professionals career wise?
Being a young professional, you are probably already experienced in the field of optics but still need to find out how to move on from surviving to thriving in industry. AIO is a great platform to meet people facing the same challenges or who might even have helpful answers for your problems since they have mastered them. Additionally, you can find great job opportunities here. We have had attendees who met their new employer at AIO in the past and they even seem to be very happy in their new jobs.


Posted: 26 March 2018 by Sogol Borjian, Ph.D | with 0 comments

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