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May 29
Example of a Photovoltaic wall

Photovoltaic wall at MNACTEC Terrassa – courtesy wiki commons

This year’s CLEO Conference, sponsored by APS/Division of Laser Science, IEEE Photonics Society and the Optical Society includes S&I 15: LED, Photovoltaics and Energy-Efficient (“Green”) Photonics which is part of the Science & Innovations technical program. Tom Giallorenzi, OSA’s Science Advisor interviewed Jonathan Wierer, Sandia National Laboratories, USA, Photonics, Subcommittee Chair, S&I 15 to find out about some of the trends for this year’s hot paper submissions.

Tom Giallorenzi:               Can you review the talks that you got and were there any themes or any outstanding trends that you were able to discern?

Jonathan Wierer:             We have a tutorial by Seth Coe-Sullivan on colloidal quantum dots and then there were a few quantum dot submissions and one of them is by a student from Bilkent University.

He’s going to be talking about putting colloidal quantum dots into an LED structure.  And the problem is the quantum dots are very small materials, and it’s not your typical planar PN junction where it’s very easy to make contacts and inject current and produce light.  Now you have these small little quantum dots and the question is how do you put current into these quantum dots?  So they’re putting these quantum dots into polymers that facilitates injecting current into them.  And so that’s not necessarily new, but they’re trying to engineer the polymers to make that energy transfer from the polymers to the quantum dots more efficient.

Tom Giallorenzi:               And did you get  any papers on energy efficiency?

Jonathan Wierer:             They’re all on energy efficiency.  If I have an LED talk,  nine times out of ten, they’re talking about making the LED more efficient. This quantum dot talk I was talking about from Bilkent University, the quantum dots are very efficient.  So if I photo pump them, hit it with a laser and see how many photons I get out, that process is very efficient.  What’s not efficient is trying to put it into an electrically injected structure.    And so they’re trying to learn how to make that injection more efficient.  And on the flip side, for example, this tutorial from Takashi Fukui, he’s trying to make nanowire solar cells more efficient.  And if the solar cell is efficient, naturally your systems’ more efficient; you can harvest more of the sun.

Tom Giallorenzi:               Could you characterize the energy program at CLEO this year?

Jonathan Wierer:             So, for the energy efficiency CLEO programs, there’s two of them.  The SI 15 is more on the device and device physics side and it covers LEDs and solar cells, but then we have  a sister program going on that’s A&T 2 and there, they’re also concerned with energy and the environment, but it’s more at a system level.  So you’ll see talks about LEDs,  but at the system level, where they’re applying these sensors that are more energy efficient.  So, it’s nice,  you have these two sets of talks and they span the gamut from device physics up to the system level.  So it gives you a nice broad cover of the energy sector.

Tom Giallorenzi:               Why would somebody in the energy field want to come and hear some of these talks?

Jonathan Wierer:            If you’re interested in solar, there’s a lot of strong talks covering enhanced absorption by using light trapping and plasmonic structures.  And if you’re a researcher working in the solar field, that’s very interesting because it leads to a reduced amount of material that you have to use.  And so there’s a lot of strong talks from students in the field that are up and coming and if I’m a solar guy at a solar company, not only do I want to find out if  this information is useful for my company, but also I want to make connections with the students for the company’s future.

On the LED side, our invited talks play right into solid-state lighting.   Using colloidal quantum dots for solid-state lighting and using nanowires for LEDs are hot topics.  These talks are from two different companies.  So they’re being implemented, and I think that’s probably really interesting for anybody in the LED field.

Tom Giallorenzi:               When you say that we can implement it, are they in commercial products?

Jonathan Wierer:             Yes, you can find some commercial products with colloidal quantum dots.

Tom Giallorenzi:               And how much of a difference do they make?

Jonathan Wierer:             So, for example, colloidal quantum dots can do things that conventional LEDs can’t.  Seth Coe-Sullivan will talk a little bit more about it, but in the red, current LED technologies have some limitations.  And the colloidal quantum dots may be able to help in the red;  to reach efficiencies that you can’t get with conventional LEDs.

Tom Giallorenzi:               What are some of the big reasons you think I should attend my CLEO?

Jonathan Wierer:             One of the reasons why I like coming to CLEO is because there are always a lot of good excellent talks.  CLEO has a very good reputation.

Not only is it a good way to see all these excellent talks, it’s also a way to meet these people face to face, to have interactions with them. That actually goes a long way for me personally.  I have to make these connections and to try to build future research and programs, and maybe there’s common ground where we can work together. It’s just one of the reasons why I come here.  Nine times out of ten, you can read what’s going on in the literature.  I can sit at my desk, get on the computer, and read what these guys are doing.  But actually coming to a conference, meeting the person, making a connection, it just takes it another step.

Tom Giallorenzi:               Thank you very much.

For more information on the Science & Innovations program, visit www.cleoconference.org for more information.


May 21
There is no break in the review conference. Everyone is eager to share with others about their ideas. People were shuffling around to maximize the precious time together.

There is no break in the review conference. Everyone is eager to share their ideas. People were shuffling around to maximize their precious time together.

By Frank Kuo – Paramountist Blog

Being an active OSA young professional comes with additional bonuses once in a while. This time, I was happily summoned as “scientific paparazzi” to sneak into one of the committee meetings for CLEO: 2013 happening in the DC metropolitan area. Digging for insider info on CLEO’s hot topics and from CLEO: 2013 committee chairs and members –  as they reviewed, scored and sessioned all the CLEO papers was the top mission.

My first impression about this conference is the vibrant energy. All the chairs and committee members were holding such high spirits. I don’t feel they came to the conference as referees to select the best papers. I feel they came to learn more and look for new inspiration.  While it can be difficult to make decisions on which papers represent the best in the field – they are there to do their job – accepting only the highest-quality papers for the CLEO: 2013 program.

My first personal encounter  with one of the Chairs was a short conversation with professor James C. Wyant,  who also served as President of OSA in 2010. As program co-chair of “CLEO: Applications & Technology,” he is very happy to see CLEO is creating a trend of applying its strength in core science into applications. This, of course, will foster more interaction between academia and industry. He is especially keen on the topics about “metrology” and “sustainable energy – laser-driven inertial fusion energy”. If you are still not aware of these two topics, I strongly advise you to check out the short course on metrology, and the tour of the National Ignition Facility (NIF) to learn more and gain a first hand experience. All of these sound very exciting.  Joining the tour allows you to have the chance to see one of the most powerful lasers in the world, and how to use it to mimic the core of the sun.  And, the metrology course will introduce you to the tabletop X-ray light source that is one of the prominent rising stars in optical science. You better grab your opportunity to attend by checking out the CLEO website now.

Professor Wyant also shared the concern about the impact of U.S. federal government’s sequester on optical science too. Although we all feel sorry about the cuts on  financial support, he is cautiously optimistic. Optical science has found its applications in many aspects of our society, and many more will come. With all of  humanity benefiting from optical science applications, we shall look for more that originate from optical science to accompany our future. Thanks to him and many other researchers, we are striving toward this goal.

Then, I was lucky to catch a few humorous and witty scientists during the lunch break. Having a meal together with Professor Christian Wetzel, Professor Mark A. Zondlo, and Dr. Max Shatalov – manager of SETi. They all serve in the session of environment/energy.  They were impressed by an increase of the number of the submitted papers. To me, it seems to make sense. With the population of Homo sapiens increasing, the Earth is barely breathing. Without our effort, we will definitely engage into an irreversible future. As a result, taking care of the environment must become our priority, and I am happy to see research that is helping to make this possible.

They also told me about some interesting topics you should not miss:

1.      Using the quantum cascade lasers for the environmental sensing: We are all very excited that QC lasers are finally portable and can be brought to the field for various applications. For example, trace gases like SO2, methane, or air pollutants are all targets under the scrutiny of QC lasers. If you are a green-oriented person, you should not miss this opportunity when you come to CLEO: 2013. In addition, we were discussing a very interesting paper in which a laser is used to probe the “particle size.” Again, if you feel intrigued about it, you just have to keep your eyes open for topics like these while wandering around in the conference center.

2.      Using UV-LED, for sterilization and water purification: This is a perfect example of how optical science is helping the humanity. UV-LED, being more compact and consuming less energy compared with traditional light sources, will probably become the main light source for food sterilization (in our discussion, UV-LED shining on strawberries was the content). The environmental impact of adopting this new light source into the food processing chain is self-evident. Cool science with a mix of practical goals – I guess this is yet another reason  why CLEO is awesome.

3.      Solar energy harvesting: How to harvest solar energy in a more efficient way is always an attractive scientific challenge for the researchers. In our short break, we touched on the topic of multi-junction cells, patterned surface — either nano or micro scales to trap more light into the solar cells, and using organic media to harvest the solar energy. Checking out the talk presented by Rebecca Jones-Albertus is a good entry point for you to delve into this domain.

In order to please the crowds of hard-core scientists, I also had a short chat with professor Zhigang Chen, who is serving for the CLEO: QELS Fundamental Science session of Nonlinear Optics and Novel Phenomena. He mentioned with zeal to me the breakthrough in plasmonic resonance, arbitrary trajectory manipulation of light propagation, using photonic periodic structure to test the idea of super-symmetry, and so on. The depth of the fundamental science he was trying to convey blows me away. Topics like these will always find their places in CLEO, and I always feel this is one of CLEO’s strengths. In fact, the entire QELS program poses a mental stimulus to my brain.  These courses are  so stimulating they are like “ “espresso for the brain!”

The truth is  what I mention here provides  just a small glimpse into all the great content being featured at CLEO. To get a glimpse at the full conference program, visit the CLEO website here!

View exclusive interviews with the Chairs and get more personal insight on hot topics and trends at CLEO: 2013.

Mar 30

(One of seventeen youtube shorts from the program chairs highlighting hot topics for CLEO 2012)

This post originally appeared on Jim’s CLEO Blog and is reproduced with permission from the author.

For a few years now CLEO conference organizers have been posting youtube shorts highlighting contributed talks, symposia, research trends, and any new or unique directions for the upcoming conference. This year there are seventeen videos from the program chairs, all worth watching. However, for those who prefer text over A/V, I thought it might be helpful to highlight the highlights here.

Conference Program Stats

-The 2012 program has been selected from a record number of submissions.

-In just its second year, CLEO’s new Technology and Applications Conference saw a 50 % increase in submissions.

-350 papers, 15 % of all submissions, live in the subcommittee sections “Nano-optics and Plasmonics” or “Micro- and Nano-Photonic Devices”

-Subcommittee section: “Fiber Amplifiers, Lasers and Devices” was the single committee that received the most submissions

CLEO Applications and Technology: Government and National Science, Security and Standards Applications

In his youtube short, subcommittee Chair Ian Mckinnie of Lockheed Martin Coherent Technologies briefly discusses the two tracks of this subcommittee: 1) Ultrafast Laser Applications and 2) Instrumentation and Sensing.

Mckinnie talks about how the ultrafast program covers a broad range ultrafast laser applications spanning those performed at large facility-class systems to those on a bench top or operating table. These are exemplified by the tutorial talk, AW3J1, “Enabling Science at the Advanced Light Source X-ray Facility” that will be given by Roger Falcone of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory from 4:30-5:30 pm on May 9, and the invited talk AW3J4, “Applications of Ultrafast Lasers” by Mike Mielke of Raydiance Inc., also on May 9, but from 6:00-6:30 pm

The Advanced Light Source (ALS) is a large synchrotron source that produces laser light over an extremely broad spectrum including the hard-to-reach soft x-ray region. Falcone will be discussing the use of the coherent radiation at this user-facility for applications such as precise material processing and biomedical research.

On the other hand, Mielke will be discussing the use of compact fiber systems for micromachining and laser surgery. See blog post “Machining with Ultrafast Pulses” for some stunning videos and more information on these compact micromachining systems.

On the remote sensing side, Massayuki Fujita, from the Institute of for Laser Technology in Osaka, will be giving an invited talk on an application of remote sensing not typically found in the CLEO conference program- nondestructive inspection for heavy industrial processes. Fujita’s talk, ATuG3 “Nondestructive Inspection for Heavy Construction” can be heard on Tuesday May 8, at 2:30 pm.

CLEO Applications and Technology: Industrial Applications

In his video short, subcommittee chair Eric Mottay of Amplitude Systemes discuses the two major trends of the Industrial Applications subcommittee: 1) micro- and nanofabrication techniques and 2) applications of graphene.

Talks in the latter category can be found in a joint session with CLEO: Science and Innovation subcommittee six in session “Graphene and Carbon Advanced Photonic Materials” which will be held form 11:00am-1:00 pm on May 8. This session will host talks presenting graphene-based devices such as detectors, modulators, and tunable resonators. Recall that Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize for showing the “exceptional” properties of graphene such as it being simultaneously the thinnest and strongest material, having better electrical conductivity than copper, better heat conduction than all other known materials, and having nearly 100 % transparency yet an extremely high density (so dense helium atoms cannot pass through). Be sure to see how this “magical” material is being translated into devices that may be on the market in the next three to five years.

On the other hand, the invited talks for this subcommitee all center around micro- and nano- fabrication processes. Arnold Gillner of the Fraunhofer Institute will discuss how ultrafast lasers can be used for surface processing at the micro- and nanoscale level for applications in light guiding, fabrication of low friction surfaces, or wear-resistant surfaces. His talk, ATu3L1, “Micromanufacturing and nano surface functionalisation with ultrashort pulsed lasers” is scheduled for May 8, at 4:30 pm. Additionally, Paul Webster from Queen’s University will be discussing online monitoring during fabrication, particularly concerning the control of depth, in invited talk ATu3L5, “Inline Coherent Imaging: Measuring and Controlling Depth in Industrial Laser Processes,” on May 8, at 5:45 pm and Rick Russo from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will be speaking about real-time spectroscopy of a sample after it has been turned into a plasma through laser ablation in talk, AW1H3 “Laser Plasmas for Spectrochemistry” on May 9, at 11:00 am.

CLEO Applications and Technology: Energy and Environment

In his video short, subcommittee chair Christian Wetzel from Rensselaer Polytechnich Institute discusses two trends… click here to read the full original post

Mar 20

Data points from Osram Opto Semiconductor of Germany. Lower black square at 142 lm/W demonstrating record white-light LED efficiency; second black square at 160 lm/W shows projected efficiency after further optimization

This post originally appeared on Jim’s Cleo Blog and is reproduced with permission from its author.

You may not think that LED lighting would be a controversial topic, but as the New York Times reports, it may be indirectly responsible for new anger among conservative lawmakers in the United States. A U.S. federal law passed in 2007 by the Bush administration will, among other energy-saving measures, make the sale of the incandescent 100-watt light bulbs illegal in 2012. Republican representatives Joe Barton of Texas and Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, and Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky have recently become vocal about the rights of Americans to purchase lighting of their choice (energy-efficient or not).

The alternatives to the more-than-a-century-old technology spurning this debate are a new make-over of halogens (not much more efficient than incandescent bulbs at about 20 lumens/W), compact fluorescent bulbs (about70 lumens/W), and LED lighting (Osram Opto Semiconductors of Germany just recently claimed to have set a record for warm-white LED chips at 142 lumens/W). CLEO attendees beware: might tea-party members be planning protests of sessions within CLEO Science and Innovation 15: LEDs, Photovoltaics and Energy-efficient (“green”) Photonics?

The “controversial” talks related to LED lighting can be found specifically in sessions “Nano-structured LEDs” on Monday, May 2, 1:30-3:15 pm and “Toward More Efficient Visible LEDs” on Wednesday, May 4, 1:30-3:10 pm. Many of these talks will address specific problems in the overarching goal of fabricating highly-efficient LEDs that can simultaneously mimic the white-light spectrum of an incandescent light bulb. White-light LEDs could reach luminous efficiencies of greater than 300 lumens/W once certain device and fabrication challenges are overcome.1

One of the greater challenges is overcoming the emission gap in the green-yellow region of the visible spectrum (515-600 nm).1,2 Whether multiple LEDs of different color are combined to produce white-light, or one or two different colored LEDs are used to pump phosphors to produce white light, current designs lack efficient production of yellow-green photons for true white-light color (a stinging irony for a technology slated as “green” photonics). Invited talk, CMU5, “Nitride-based Nano-columns and Applications” and contributed paper CMU6, “Diffraction-Coupled Plasmon-Enhanced Light Emission from InGaN/GaN Quantum Wells” in session “Nano-structured LEDs”will show different approaches to generating green light using nano-structures on InGaN. Lowering the dimensionality by using nano-structures allows one to play with defect, strain, and polarization properties of the material and hence light generating capability and extraction.2

Another challenge being addressed in session “Toward More Efficient Visible LEDs” is “efficiency droop” particular to InGaN…for the full post click here.

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