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Showing posts from January, 2019

#FacesofPhotonics: Optics Expert and SPIE Course Instructor, Dr. Alexis Vogt

"Mama, can you teach us about optics?"

Dr. Alexis Vogt, Endowed Chair and Associate Professor of the Optical Systems Technology Program at Monroe Community College, is no stranger to hearing phrases like this in her home.

"Perhaps because of some brainwashing, my children love optics and have even mastered bedtime delay tactics with phrases like, 'How do you make glass, Mama?' My children are my motivation to work hard and create diverse opportunities for them to experience. What an amazing process to see the inquisitive mind of a child develop."

Vogt, too, was introduced to optics at a young age -- building a five-foot periscope for a 6th-grade science project -- and promptly fell for the field. She received both her B.S. and Ph.D. in optics from the University of Rochester, and, upon graduating in 2007, went on to design contact lenses for Bausch + Lomb.

As part of her busy schedule, Vogt teaches courses for SPIE. She will be at Photonics West next week …

#FacesofPhotonics: Jet Propulsion Lab Photonic Part Specialist Cheryl Asbury

When you think of ballet, photonics isn't usually the first word that comes to mind -- unless you know Cheryl Asbury, Photonic Part Specialist for Mission Assurance at JPL/Caltech, and an avid dancer since childhood. But pirouettes aren't Asbury's only passion: she'll be bringing more than 20 years of experience in laser development to SPIE Photonics West next week, teaching a course entitled "Improving Laser Reliability: An Introduction." That course, which she teaches alongside independent consultant Will Grossman, will cover a range of best practices, tips, and tricks that contribute to improved laser reliability.

"We use an interactive case study format that generates lively and informative discussions," says Asbury, who earned a BS in Applied and Engineering Physics from Cornell University and an MS in Applied Physics from the University of Michigan. "Laser designers, manufacturers, and end users have all found the course useful, as it ad…

#FacesofPhotonics: Professor of Medical Physics and Photonics West Hot Topics Speaker, Clare Elwell

Meet Clare Elwell, Professor of Medical Physics at University College London (UCL), Director of the Near Infrared Spectroscopy Group in the Biomedical Optics Research Lab, and global health advocate. Among her students, Elwell is highly regarded as an inspiration to others in her department and an excellent supervisor.

"When I mention that Clare is my supervisor," says UCL PhD Candidate Laura Katus, "people reliably respond along the lines of: ‘Really? She’s so cool!’ quite often followed by an ‘I want to be like her.’ What makes Clare such a fantastic supervisor, speaker, and group leader, is her ability to pitch whatever topic to precisely the right level, giving everyone in the room the feeling of being on eye level and an integral part of the academic mission."

Elwell has dedicated herself to thinking outside the box when it comes to applications of her technology, specifically how it they can address global health challenges. For the Gates Foundation-funded B…

#FacesofPhotonics: Hyungwoo Choi and Andre Kovach of USC's Armani Research Lab

Technical conferences such as SPIE Photonics West are known for giving students the opportunity to present their research, perfect their presentation and networking skills, and actively engage with other researchers in a setting outside of their university lab.

SPIE Fellow and University of Southern California Professor Andrea Armani, astrong advocate of student professional development,brings a group from her lab to SPIE Photonics West each year to present their latest work. You can follow along with the Armani Research Lab and their journey to the conference via Armani's Twitter feed.

Hyungwoo Choi, Rene Zeto, Dongyu Chen, and Andre Kovach will accompany Professor Armani to Photonics West for a series of six presentations. The list of talks can be found here.

Choi attended SPIE Photonics West last year as an author and was pleasantly surprised by the size of the audience that attended his talk, "My presentation was early in the morning on the last day of the conference. Also, …

#FacesofPhotonics: SPIE Britton Chance Award Winner and Professor of Radiology, Samuel Achilefu

Recipient of the 2019 SPIE Britton Chance Award in Biomedical Optics; Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis; 2019 SPIE BiOS Hot Topics keynote speaker: these are just a few of the titles currently held by Dr. Samuel Achilefu.

Achilefu's research is changing the way we think about cancer therapy. Some cancer cells do not respond to traditional treatment, but Achilefu's team has found that if you stimulate those inactive cancer cells with light, they become responsive, providing surgeons with a more accurate path to removing the cancer. "I really believe we will be reaching a solution very soon," Achilefu commented.

To read more about the SPIE Britton Chance Award and Achilefu's research, see the January SPIE Professional article. In the meantime, please enjoy his interview with SPIE's Faces of Photonics!


1. How did you become interested in the optics and photonics field? Was there a person wh…

#FacesofPhotonics: NASA Intern Elaine Stewart

Meet Elaine Stewart: chemical engineering student, world-traveler, intern at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and this week's SPIE Face of Photonics. Elaine is fascinated by space exploration and how optics impacts our ability to "study distant stars that have never been seen before."

Her research has taken her around the world -- from Bochum, Germany, where she studied material science and engineering at Ruhr-Universität, to Houston, Texas, to work on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) while it was under cryogenic vacuum chamber testing, to Melbourne, Australia, where she studied biochemical and product engineering at the University of Melbourne in 2017. And, when she's not busy traversing the globe, she is focusing on graduating from the University of Delaware in 2019 with a Bachelor's in Chemical Engineering.

Elaine makes a point of remaining an active member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Student Chapter at her university, …