The 2006 PhAST/Laser Focus World Innovation Awards program is designed to honor the most timely, groundbreaking products in the field of laser science. The awards are sponsored by Laser Focus Worldmagazine and PhAST-the Photonic Applications, Systems and Technologies conference, which is collocated with the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) and the Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference (QELS), or CLEO/QELS, all managed by the Optical Society of America (Washington, D.C.).
Innovation Award entrants were challenged to show how their application, service, or product (launched between March 2005 and March 2006) met several key criteria, including significant impact to the photonics industry, overall excellent functionality and long life expectancy, secure patent position, and above all, an exceptional level of innovation.
One winner and four honorable mentions were chosen out of 24 entrants. The awards were presented at the CLEO/QELS and PhAST Plenary Session on Monday, May 22. – Gail Overton
INNOVATION AWARD WINNER: Daylight Solutions (Poway, CA)
Daylight Solutions was recognized for its mid-infrared solutions, including the development of high-volume, commercially viable, mid-IR laser sources based on quantum-cascade (QC) lasers. Although it has been known for decades that the mid-IR spectral region between 4 and 12 µm holds the key to important discoveries in molecular detection and imaging, the lack of high-performance, affordable mid-IR laser sources and detectors has stymied commercial efforts. Daylight Solutions’ “Tiny Tunables” are compact, high-performance, room-temperature, QC external-cavity tunable mid-IR lasers with a tuning range of 10% (compared to typically 1%) around 4.5, 5.5, 8.5, 9.5, and 10.5 µm center wavelengths-all in a footprint smaller than 24 cubic inches.