Congress News—Hot topics from the conferences

Here you find our latest key news about World of Photonics Congress 2021.

CLEO®/Europe: „A great range of topics for talents and experts“
EQEC 2021: “Deep learning in photonics”
Digital Optical Technologies: “Like a flash-back to the early cell phone market”
ECBO: “One step ahead of clinical practice”
LiM – Lasers in Manufacturing: “Increasingly smart, flexible and precise”
Optical Metrology: “Trend towards the use of artificial intelligence“

CLEO®/Europe: „A great range of topics for talents and experts“

The CLEO®/Europe 2021 (June 21-25, 2021) will take a deep dive in the latest developments in the fields of applied physics, optical engineering and applications of photonics and laser technology. The conference is part of the virtual World of Photonics Congress. In this interview, Prof. Concita Sibilia, representing the conference chairs, provides insight into the highlights, trends and proceedings of the CLEO®/Europe.

What highlights does the CLEO®/Europe 2021 offer?

Prof. Concita Sibilia: We have once again put together a very huge conference, which will cover a great range of emerging topics. The CLEO®/Europe-EQEC 2021 will feature 1,454 presentations, including 919 oral talks and 42 poster presentations as well as three Plenary, five Tutorial and nine Keynote talks. Moreover, we offer 12 Short Courses that will take deep dives in ultrashort pulse technology, high-power fiber lasers, practical quantum optics, terahertz (THz) applications or silicon photonics, just to name some of the featured topics. These half-day short courses and our entire program offer plenty of overview, deep insights and professional orientation – for experts and talents alike. The latter is particularly important to me as a university professor. One of the expected highlights is the plenary talk of Prof. Robert Boyd, who was a pioneer in non-linear quantum optics and is today very active in the emerging field of quantum photonics. He will talk about his findings in the research of novel meta-surface-materials, which offer zero-refractive indexes. With this, he recently triggered a wave of scientific publications. Especially with him, it is a real pity that we can only gather in the virtual format.

Does your conference reflect new technological trends from your area of the photonics industry?

Prof. Concita Sibilia: The whole CLEO deals with latest developments in photonics. Be it photonic crystal devices for the application in modern LiDAR systems, for example in the automotive sector. With Toshiko Baba, we won one of the leading experts in this field. Angel Rubio from Hamburg will provide an insight into the modeling of ultrafast pump probe spectroscopies, or Dwayne Miller from Toronto will offer us an overview of the application of Picosecond infrared lasers in minimally invasive surgery as well as in biodiagnostics. We cover a very broad spectrum of photonic trend technologies – and the leading researchers in the given areas, be it laser source development, e.g., deep UV light emitting diodes or ultrafast lasers, be it materials, fiber optics, nonlinear optics, THz sources and applications, high-field physics, optical telecommunications or be it Nano- and Biophotonics. Just here, I am very curious about the keynote by Sylvia Vignolini from Cambridge. She will talk about living photonic structures with reference to optical appearance design. In addition, the insights in non-linear THz-spectroscopy, which Martina Havenith-Newen from Ruhr-University Bochum will offer, seem exceptionally interesting to me. The talk of Fabio Antonio Bovino from Rome will also be very interesting due to his novel approach to the exciting topic of quantum information and quantum processing. However, this may be a personal preference: I can only advise interested people to study our program carefully.

How do you run the CLEO®/Europe - and are there networking opportunities despite the virtual format?

Prof. Concita Sibilia: The CLEO®/Europe 2021 will take place as a virtual online conference. This is a pity, but because of the pandemic, it is the best solution to bring the community together to share the latest research approaches and results. Photonic technologies are emerging in so many areas that congresses are crucial for all of us to keep up to date. Exactly for this, we also need interdisciplinary exchange: We organize Joint Sessions with the EQEC, with the European Confer-ences on Biomedical Optics (ECBO) and with the Optical Metrology within the framework of the World of Photonics Congress 2021. Even though it is a pity that we will not be meeting personally in Munich this time, there are also some advantages to the virtual format. Especially for young scientists from different parts of the world, it has never been so easy to participate in the CLEO® – without travel and hotel costs. Perhaps it is a unique opportunity – of which they should take advantage. Then we all can use the chat functions for networking until we can meet again in real life.


THE PERSON: Prof. Concita Sibilia

Prof. Concita Sibilia is professor of Physics at the Department of Basic and Applied Science- Engineering Faculty and Head of the Nonlinear Optical Lab at La Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy.


The virtual CLEO®/Europe will highlight the latest developments in a wide range of laser and photonics topic areas. In conjunction with the EQEC 2021, which will focus on basic research, the CLEO is being organized by the European Physical Society (EPS) in cooperation with the Quantum Electronics and Optics Division (QEOD), the Optical Society (OSA) and the IEEE Photonics Society.

EQEC 2021: “Deep learning in photonics”

The fundamentals of quantum optics and quantum information as well as related fields such as atom optics, nano-optics and ultrafast optics will be the focus of EQEC 2021 (June 21-25, 2021). The sub-conference of the virtual World of Photonics Congress will also be dedicated to nonlinear phenomena, self-organization, metamaterials and plasmonics as well as theoretical and computational photonics. In this interview, Prof. Thomas Udem, representing the conference management, talks about highlights, trends and the EQEC schedule.

What highlights does the EQEC 2021 offer?

Prof. Thomas Udem: A hot and rather new topic for photonics is applications of machine learning. We are organizing a joint CLEO®/Europe-EQEC 2021 Symposium "Deep Learning in Photonics" on this topic, which has received a remarkable number of highly-rated submissions. I am particularly looking forward to that. Of course, the plenary talks will be conference highlights: At EQEC this year, Prof. Nirit Dudovich will speak about the research of her lab at the Weizmann Institute in Rechovot, Israel. Her focus will be on attosecond interferometry.

Are there any new trends in quantum technology emerging in the lecture program?

Prof. Thomas Udem: This year, EQEC has ten topics with a total of 515 presentations. The largest of these is the session on quantum information, communication and sensing, which focuses on quantum networks and entanglement. This is consequential, as this is where photonic technologies can excel in contrast to the actual quantum information processing and storing.

How do you run the EQEC - and are there networking opportunities despite the virtual format?

Prof. Thomas Udem: This year, EQEC will take place only online due to Corona. To better connect the participants, there will be "virtual booths" and "collaborative sessions" in addition to virtual poster sessions. For each lecture, we will set up a web page where speakers can upload their CV, presentation slides and contact information. In addition, the online profiles of the attendees and a mobile app will allow scheduling virtual meetings with other attendees.

THE PERSON: Prof. Thomas Udem

Prof. Thomas Udem is a senior scientist in the Laser Spectroscopy Research Group at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. As part of the team of Prof. Theodor W. Hänsch, Prof. Udem was instrumental in the development of the frequency comb technique, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2005.


The virtual EQEC 2021 is being organized by the European Physical Society (EPS) in cooperation with the Quantum Electronics and Optics Division (QEOD), the Optical Society (OSA) and the IEEE Photonics Society.

Digital Optical Technologies: “Like a flashback to the early cell phone market”

SPIE Europe is organizing the Digital Optical Technologies 2021 (June 21-25, 2021) as part of the virtual World of Photonics Congress from. In this interview, Dr. Christophe Peroz, who is heading the conference together with Microsoft´s Bernard C. Kress, talks about anticipated highlights and trends as well as the proceedings of the virtual symposium.

What highlights does SPIEs Digital Optical Technologies 2021 offer?

Dr. Christophe Peroz: Among our 30 lectures, Hiroki Kikuchi’s keynote is certainly worth mentioning. He will introduce Sony’s 3R-Technology: reality, real-time, and remote. It is about immersive large-screen displays, about real-time sensors for automotive safety and comfort, and about augmented, mixed or virtual reality (AR/MR/VR) technology that currently connects enterprises and people all over the world despite the pandemic. In his presentation, Kikuchi San will introduce the latest micro-displays, AR/MR/VR technologies, light field displays and laser devices. Another highlight is SCHOTT’s lecture about optical glass development for AR waveguides. In addition, I definitely will not miss the insights in compact low-power gaze gesture sensors for smart glasses given by Bosch and TRUMPF. This is an important topic for the development of smart glasses. Also highly recommended: the half-day course instructed by Microsoft`s Bernard C. Kress. He provides a comprehensive technological overview, and introduces listeners to the subject with all his experience and enthusi-asm. It’s worth it!

Does your conference reflect new technological trends from your area of the photonics industry?

Dr. Christophe Peroz: The development of AR/MR/VR smart glasses is accelerating as a result of the Covid crisis, because even the biggest sceptics have understood the value of this technology. Manufacturers around the world are investing heavily. Several presentations introduce the latest technological approaches to reducing the size, weight, power consumption and cost of smart glasses and displays. Other lectures compare AR-glasses from different manufacturers in use cases such as remote maintenance or industrial equipment repair. I think many industries and companies are looking for such an approach. On the other hand, the B2B market is crucial for manufacturers, who want to bring smart glasses to market. The current AR/MR/VR market reminds me of the early cell phone market. It is like a flashback: First, it started in B2B, matured technologically – and then entered the consumer market. Our exclusive program delivers all kinds of solutions that will help immersive technologies mature – advanced systems, new materials and processes, miniaturized sensors and displays and high-level subsystems. For example, high refractive index wave-guides patterned by nanoimprint lithography, miniaturized VCSEL-based 3D-sensors or specialized light sources such as µ-LEDs, high-efficiency near-infrared OLEDs, or new ultra-compact RGB laser diode modules for integration into near-to-eye displays.

How do you run the Conference - and will there be networking opportunities despite the virtual format?

Dr. Christophe Peroz: Unfortunately, we have to conduct the conference completely online. We will record the presentations and make them available afterwards so that all participants from all time zones can view them conveniently. During the lectures, we will offer a chat function where participants can ask questions and get in touch with each other. Due to the circumstances, the program is a little bit less international as usual and more academic. But this will change again – at the latest at the next Digital Optical Technologies in Munich.

THE PERSON: Dr. Christophe Peroz

Dr. Christophe Peroz is Chief Display Researcher at Sony Corp. in Tokyo


The Digital Optical Technologies 2021 is being organized by SPIE – The international society for optics and photonics. It will focus on the compo-nents, systems design and applications of emerging digital optical technologies in all social, academic, medical and industrial areas. It will reflect technological trends like 3D sensors, immersive multimedia, novel displays, light sources and imaging systems.

ECBO: “One step ahead of clinical practice”

Within the scope of the virtual World of Photonics Congress, the OSA – The Optical Society will host the European Conferences on Biomedical Optics (ECBO) (June 20-24, 2021) supported by SPIE. In our short interview, Prof. Ronald Sroka discusses the highlights, technological trends and procedures of the virtual ECBO on behalf of the conference management.

What are the highlights of the ECBO this time?

Prof. Ronald Sroka: I am very much looking forward to the keynote from Professor Vasilis Ntziachristos, who will be talking about the possibilities of and the progress being made in the area of fluorescence and optoacoustic imaging. We are also staging a two-hour Hot Topics session in which the heads of the six ECBO sub-conferences will present trends from their respective sessions. They will provide an overview and preview of the conferences in order to give the participants some orientation in the virtual format and awaken their interest in particularly promising presentations. A third highlight will be the joint sessions of ECBO and CLEO, which will be dedicated to innovative methods in the field of deep tissue imaging such as two-photon absorption, holographic processes and optical coherence tomography (OCT). In particular, optoacoustics provide us with ever-deeper insights into tissues. Due to absorption, light alone is able to penetrate deeper tissue structures and send signals from there only to a limited extent; however, optoacoustic methods now offer incredible possibilities to obtain information in this area. In combination with sound on the detection side, the light waves penetrate deep tissue, where, as a result of absorption, they trigger minute thermal reactions of the molecules. This minute expansion triggers an ultrasound signal that can be measured on the surface. This way, we get very informative 3D images of tissue structures, which open up new possibilities in vascular surgery, for example. Anyone who is interested in this topic should definitely not miss Vasilis Ntziachristos’s presentation.

Will the presentations be looking at new trends in the area of biomedical optics?

Prof. Ronald Sroka: The translation of new methods that have been developed over the past years into practical applications will be a subject of many presentations. And, in actual fact, “Translational Biophotonics” is our largest sub-conference this time around. Many methods are ready to make the transition to clinical studies and clinical practice, where they will have to prove their worth. Biophotonics provides medicine and biotechnological research with increasingly varied, more precise tools for diagnosis and for reviewing the success of treatments. Of course, another trend is the supporting use of artificial intelligence for faster evaluation of huge volumes of imaging data. The initial hype has now transitioned to practical applications, which will be described in numerous presentations. The true potential still has to be seen, such as distinguishing between healthy and diseased tissue without biopsies. Another important trend is miniaturized diagnosis devices for use at the point of care. Wearable, optical devices, smartphone-based imaging and rapid tests to detect rare diseases – it’s almost like having a laboratory in your scrub’s pocket. We can also expect to see increased use of scanners that can be used to measure and analyze blood values through the lips with no contact. This will enable physicians to obtain findings faster and cheaper and with much less bother for the patient – even when the symptoms are vague. This trend also includes optical breathing gas sensors, which, with the corresponding level of reliability, certainly have potential as a screening method in the early detection of severe diseases. The aim now is to make the leap from research to application.

How will you be organizing the ECBO – and will there be opportunities to network in spite of the virtual format?

Prof. Ronald Sroka: This time, it is purely an online conference with parallel sessions. All participants will be interconnected for the plenary talks. After conducting a global survey, we chose the time windows so that no one has to get out of bed at midnight. As always, we have the three to four-minute poster sessions, partly supported by videos, which can be discussed directly afterwards in connected chats. For individual sessions, in addition to direct questions about the presentation, we are also planning to have a slot for online discussions that the sessions chairs can organize creatively. It is up to the speakers whether they present live or submit recorded videos. The plan is that all presentations will remain online for about 30 days after the conference so that registered participants can catch up with any parallel sessions that they may have missed. This is one of the advantages of the virtual format. But we will hold the ECBO as an in-person event in Munich again as soon as this is possible. A virtual conference simply cannot replace personal contact and the random encounters from which, in many cases, productive cooperation develops.

THE PERSON: Prof. Dr. Ronald Sroka

Prof. Dr. Ronald Sroka manages the Laser Research Laboratory and the Laser and Immunology Research Facilities (LIFE) at Munich University Hospital.


The ECBO 2021 – European Conferences on Biomedical Optics is being organized by the OSA – The Optical Society. SPIE is the co-sponsor.

LiM – Lasers in Manufacturing: “Increasingly smart, flexible and precise”

LiM – Lasers in Manufacturing , scheduled for June 21 to 24, 2021, will explore new approaches to laser micro- and macro-processing and additive manufacturing. In the following interview, conference manager Prof. Michael Rethmeier talks about the highlights and trends of LiM 2021 and discusses the plans of the organizer, WLT, to come up with some virtual networking opportunities.

What will be some of the highlights of this year’s LiM?

Prof. Michael Rethmeier: For me, it all starts with the wide range of topics that will be covered in our 230 talks. They will explore the entire range of micro- and macro-material processing and additive manufacturing for highly complex and large components. Our program will also be international. We will have contributions about simulation technology from the United States, additive manufacturing from China and Russia as well as metallurgic topics from Japan. Two real highlights will be our keynote addresses. Professor Gleb Turichin of the Polytechnic University in St. Petersburg, who is also the president of the Saint Petersburg State Marine Technical University, will talk about the impressive progress in the production of meterlong components using additive laser material deposition. In addition, Dr. Jörg Krüger of the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM) will provide an overview of ultra-fast laser processes and potential emission of X-rays during these processes.

Will the series of talks also explore new trends in laser manufacturing processes?

Prof. Michael Rethmeier: LiM always focuses on the area of application-oriented developments. This focus ranges from laser processing of instruments used in minimally invasive medical procedures to new laser based processes for electro mobility. Unfortunately, we will not be able to see the solutions in the trade fair halls next door this year. Nonetheless, we will still present the latest application possibilities. Laser processes are becoming increasingly smart, more flexible and more precise. Data-supported processes and machine learning also make this possible, just as the increasingly precise lasers and beam shaping options do. These developments open the way for the processing of new materials and material combinations, which can often be processed only with lasers: varying combinations of aluminum, steel, titanium, cooper and plastics. The key to this is the fact that the thermal energy input can be controlled very precisely. This makes it possible to join combinations of materials, which until now could only be joined with a high effort. Electro mobility is a good example. No matter if you are talking about powertrain, batteries or lightweight construction – manufacturers need new, more precise manufacturing solutions.

How will you conduct the LiM – and will visitors be able to network in this virtual setting?

Prof. Michael Rethmeier: We had two primary concerns in this regard: We wanted to ensure that all talks are given live and that our speakers have an opportunity to answer questions from the audience. We will also facilitate bilateral discussions on the conference platform. This will include chat functions and virtual coffee shops. We will not be able to serve any coffee. But our visitors can certainly brew a cup of their own at home. Once the pandemic is behind us, we will get together again as usual at the World of Photonics Congress in Munich.

THE PERSON: Prof. Michael Rethmeier

Prof. Michael Rethmeier is the head of the Department of Welding Technology at the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM) in Berlin, the Department of Joining Technology at the Technical University of Berlin and the Division of Joining and Coating Technology at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK in Berlin. He also teaches at the St. Petersburg Polytechnic University.


“Lasers in Manufacturing – LiM 2021” will be held as part of the virtual World of Photonics Congress. It is being organized by the WLT – Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft für Lasertechnik.

Optical Metrology: “Trend towards the use of artificial intelligence“

The Optical Metrology will offer around 300 lectures on six topics from June 21-25, 2021, as part of the virtual World of Photonics Congress. A good third of all presentations will be about measurement systems for industrial quality control. Machine vision, imaging in the medical and biotechnological fields or in art, archeology and architecture are also on the agenda. In this interview, Prof. Jörg Seewig, representing the conference chairs, talks about highlights, the trend towards artificial intelligence and the planned schedule for the virtual conference.

What will be your highlights at the Optical Metrology 2021?

Prof. Jörg Seewig: Though the format is virtual, we have received around 300 submissions for papers. The conference topic on measurement technologies for industrial inspection alone, headed by Peter Lehmann and Wolfgang Osten, has almost 100 international contributions. Here, the focus will be on research and development close to the market. Also very exciting: Peter J. de Groot´s plenary lecture regarding organizational and cultural hurdles for the use of highly sensitive inline measurement technology. For Industry 4.0 processes, inline inspection is indispensable. Therefore, the conclusions de Groot draws from his experiences as Executive Director of Zygo Corporation should be relevant for many industrial users. In addition, we have four keynotes and 70 poster presentations covering a broad variety of modern measurement systems and processes. It’s worth checking out our program in detail.

Are there any technological trends evident in the lecture program?

Prof. Jörg Seewig: Artificial intelligence is making its way into optical metrology on a broad front. Various presentations will discuss the possibilities to accelerate measurement processes and their evaluation with the help of AI algorithms. First, the advantage of using AI is the faster analysis of large amounts of image data - often directly on the GPU cores. Secondly, well-trained algorithms deliver precise measurement results even when the quality of the image data is not ideal, for example, due to poor lighting or low resolution. This could reduce the cost of measurement preparations in the medium term. Another ongoing trend is industrial inline inspection, i.e., non-contact measurements right inside the ongoing manufacturing processes. This is very relevant for battery or semiconductor production facilities, for example. Analogous to inline measurement in industry, the trend in the biomedical field is towards imaging living cells and tissues. Also exciting are the possibilities of multimodal sensor technology and parallelized measurements in which software is playing an increasingly important role. In many areas, we are seeing an ever-closer interaction between simulation and measurement technology, which leads to reliable results more quickly and with less measurement effort. Our Topic "Modeling Aspects in Optical Metrology" will provide some in-depth information on this.

How will the conference proceed - and does the virtual format offer networking opportunities?

Prof. Jörg Seewig: Unfortunately, the pandemic has thwarted our plans to hold the conference at least as a hybrid event with each lecture streamed live. We will therefore upload the papers to a server so that registered participants can follow them on-demand. In addition to these pre-recordings, four to five-hour sessions are being planned on all conference days in which our speakers will deliver their talks live in approximately eight-minute abstracts. We will also stream the plenary presentations live. For networking, of course, the online format is suboptimal. Chat discussions will be possible, to be sure. However, it will not replace the atmosphere of a real congress with its many chance encounters. We will make up for that next time in Munich.

THE PERSON: Prof. Jörg Seewig

Prof. Jörg Seewig heads the Department of Metrology and Sensors in the Faculty of Mechanical and Process Engineering at the Technical University Kaiserslautern. Focus: Optical surface metrology, inline production metrology and structure-oriented characterization of functional surfaces.


The virtual Optical Metrology 2021 is being organized by the SPIE.Europe in cooperation with the EOS - European Optical Society and the Lasers in Manufacturing - LiM 2021.

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