Skip to main content

Why Light? SPIE Student Member Gilles Freddy Feutmba answers

Gilles Freddy Feutmba is a Student Member of SPIE and the next community member to answer our 'Why Light?' series. The series is leading up to the second annual International Day of Light this 16 May, and asks members of the SPIE community to explain why they feel light is so important.

Gilles is PhD Candidate at Ghent University working on the dense integration of ferro-electric Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT) based silicon phase modulators for diverse applications ranging from LiDAR to displays. He is also Vice President of the university's SPIE Student Chapter. He is an active Member of SPIE, serving on the Membership and Communities Committee, as well as the Student Chapter Subcommittee and the Student and Early Career Professionals ad hoc Committee. He answers for us what light means to him and to the greater global community.

Gilles Freddy Feutmba

What about light inspires you?

Everything about light fascinates me, from the fundamental physics to the beauty of rainbows and colors. To me, light is life and rhythms with gladness. I grew up in Douala, Cameroon where power cuts were frequent and places were dark and I remember the excitement we had as kids every time light came to be. Today, the diversity of applications of light is unlimited. I am amazed by how light find use not only in vital areas such as medicine, communications, food safety but also in socio-cultural areas such as entertainment, dancing, arts… and I believe we are yet to see the limits of light.

How can light help overcome a current global challenge?

Energy and health are sectors in which light-based technologies have helped push frontiers and solve existing problems. Light is now a viable and alternative source of energy for different places in the world and research is still ongoing to improve on this. Light-based technologies have given new tools to medical doctors that allows the early detection of several diseases for effective treatment. Light is also nowadays used for food safety and sorting.

What do you do to share your passion for light?

Outreach in various ways. I have been involved with student chapters and outreach activities of all kind promoting optics and photonics to the general public. Demos, tours, motivational speeches, posts on social media, jokes, love quotes… I use every means possible. I can only sustain evanescent modes.

The International Day of Light – IDL – takes place annually on 16 May. IDL is a global initiative that provides a focal point for the continued appreciation of light. This day recognizes light and the vital role it plays in science, culture and art, education, and sustainable development.

On 16 May, join SPIE and communities worldwide by participating in activities that illustrate how the science and art of light improves all our lives. For more information and to plan your own event, visit


  1. Congratulations, am happy learning more about light from you.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

#FacesofPhotonics: Optimax Director of Technology and Strategy, Jessica DeGroote Nelson

SPIE Senior Member Jessica DeGroote Nelson works as the director of technology and strategy at Optimax Systems in Ontario, New York. She also teaches as an adjunct assistant professor at The Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester (UR), and is a Conference Chair for SPIE Optifab 2019. 
Nelson also teaches Optical Materials, Fabrication, and Testing for the Optical Engineer at SPIE conferences. This course is geared toward optical engineers who are hoping to learn the basics about how optics are made, and ways in which to help reduce the cost of the optics they are designing. It is also offered online.
"Optical tolerancing and the cost to fabricate an optic can be a point of tension or confusion between optical designers and optical fabricators," Nelson says. "I teach this course to help give optical designers who are new to the field a few tools in their toolbelt as they navigate tolerancing and purchasing some of their first designs. One of the things I lov…

Taking a Deep Dive into the World of Biophotonics

SPIE Student Member Gavrielle Untracht is pursuing her PhD at The University of Western Australia. She had the chance to participate in the 9th International Graduate Summer School in Biophotonics this past June on the island of Ven between Sweden and Denmark.

At the school, sponsored by SPIE, invited experts from around the globe gave extended presentations on topics like tissue optics, strategies for cancer treatment using lasers, and entrepreneurship in photonics. Attendees also had the opportunity to present their current research projects, results, or ideas. Gavrielle shares her experiences of the summer school with this community in the following guest blog post.

I recently returned from a week of great discussions and beautiful weather at the 9th Biophotonics Summer School on the Isle of Ven, Sweden. This experience, made possible (in part) by SPIE, was an invaluable opportunity for networking and a deep dive into the world of biophotonics that I would highly recommend to any…

#FacesofPhotonics: Applied Optics Master's Student Christiane Ebongue

Bonjour! Meet Christiane Ebongue, graduate student at Delaware State University (DSU). Christiane is working on a master's degree in applied optics with a goal of achieving a PhD in Physics. When she is not spending time in the lab —something she says she loves so much, she would even want to be there on her birthday! — she enjoys her role as president of her university's SPIE Student Chapter.

Ebongue moved to the United States from Cameroon for college, although she only spoke French at the time. Learning to speak a new language while learning a new field of science was intimidating, she says, but this feat just speaks to how tenacious of a person Ebongue is.

Another example of this steadfast dedication and passion lies in her photonics advocacy work. After defending her thesis in the morning, Ebongue hopped in her car and drove from Delaware to Washington D.C., to participate in Congressional Visits Day, without missing a beat!

"It was awesome, I don't regret it at …