• Technical Conference:  10 – 15 May 2020
  • Exhibition: 12 – 14 May 2020

2019 Plenary Speakers

View the plenary videos.



Naomi J. Halas

Naomi J. Halas, Stanley C. Moore Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Professor of Physics, Chemistry, and Bioengineering, Rice University, USA
Plasmonics: Putting Light to Work from the Dipole Up

Metallic nanoparticles, well-known for their vibrant color, have become a central tool in the nanoscale manipulation of light. Their resonant illumination gives rise to intense, local photothermal heating and hot electron generation, properties that are useful in applications ranging from prostate cancer therapy to photocatalysis for producing useful chemicals.

Biography: Naomi Halas is the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Professor of Physics, Chemistry, and Bioengineering at Rice University. She was the first person to demonstrate that the shape of plasmon-supporting metallic nanoparticles determines their color. She pursues studies in nanophotonics with applications in biomedicine, optoelectronics, chemical sensing, solar water treatment and plasmonic photocatalysis. She has more than 300 refereed publications and more than 20 issued patents. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.


Chris Monroe

Christopher Monroe, Distinguished University Professor & Bice Sechi-Zorn Professor, University of Maryland, and Chief Scientist, IonQ, Inc., USA
Quantum Computing with Atoms

Quantum computers offer hope for attacking problems that are beyond the capability of any possible conventional information processor. Individual atoms are the highest quality components for a scalable quantum computer, with unmatched coherence properties and reconfigurable circuits that are “wired” with laser beams. Monroe will speculate on the future of this field and the critical role lasers and optics will play.

Biography: Christopher Monroe is a leading atomic physicist and quantum information scientist. He demonstrated the first quantum gate realized in any system at NIST in the 1990s, and at the University of Michigan and University of Maryland, he discovered new ways to scale trapped ion qubits and simplify their control with semiconductor chip traps, simplified lasers and photonic interfaces for long-distance entanglement.  He received the American Physical Society I. I. Rabi Prize and the Arthur Schawlow Laser Science Prize, and has been elected into the National Academy of Sciences.  He is Co-founder and Chief Scientist at IonQ in College Park, Maryland.


Mial Warren

Mial Warren, Vice President of Technology, TriLumina Corp., USA
A LIDAR in Every Garage — The Race for Automotive Optical Sensor Supremacy

A review of the history, motivation and technologies for LIDAR sensors in automobiles. There is a multi-billion-dollar race to integrate complex, high-performance optoelectronic systems into the world’s largest industry. Warren will explain the unique performance specifications that have been emerging from the automotive industry and how they drive the technology.

Biography: Mial Warren is a former DMTS at Sandia National Laboratories, where he did research on vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) technology, diffractive optical element design and fabrication, micro-optical system integration and nanophotonics. He retired from Sandia in 2012 to join a venture-capital funded start up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is currently Vice President of Technology for TriLumina Corporation, where he is leading the development of high-power VCSEL arrays and near-infrared illumination modules for automotive LIDAR and 3D time-of-flight imaging applications.


Chris Xu

Chris Xu, Professor, School of Applied and Engineering Physics, The Mong Family Foundation Director, Cornell Neurotech – Engineering, Cornell University, USA
Imaging Deeper and Faster: Watching the Brain in Action with Ultrafast Lasers

Brain research is a multi-disciplinary endeavor, and inspires the development of innovative measurement tools. By pushing the boundaries of imaging depth and speed, nonlinear optical microscopy enables large-scale, non-invasive monitoring of brain activity in live animals, and is poised to play a major role in understanding how brains work. 

Biography: Chris Xu is Professor of Applied and Engineering Physics, Cornell University. He is the founding co-director of Cornell Neurotech, and the director of Cornell NeuroNex Hub, an NSF funded center for developing and disseminating neurotechnology. His current research areas are biomedical imaging and fiber optics. Prior to Cornell, he was a member of technical staff at Bell Laboratories, developing fiber optic communication systems. He received his PhD in Applied Physics from Cornell University, and contributed to the early development of multiphoton microscopy. He is a Fellow of The Optical Society, and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He has 32 patents granted or pending.


2018 Nobel Laureates in Physics

Arthur Ashkin

Arthur Ashkin

Video Presentation: Reflections on Optical Tweezers and the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics


Gérard Mourou

Gérard Mourou, École polytechnique, France

Passion for Extreme Light

Extreme-light laser is a universal source providing a vast range of high energy radiations and particles along with the highest field, highest pressure, temperature and acceleration. It offers the possibility to shed light on some of the remaining unanswered questions in fundamental physics like the genesis of cosmic rays with energies in excess of 1020 eV or the loss of information in black-holes. Using wake-field acceleration, some of these fundamental questions can be studied in the laboratory. In addition, extreme-light enables study of the structure of vacuums and particle production in "empty" space, which is one of the field's ultimate goals, reaching into the fundamental QED and possible QCD regimes.

Looking beyond today's intensity horizon, we will introduce a new concept that could make possible the generation of attosecond-zeptosecond high energy coherent pulse, de facto in x-ray domain, opening at the Schwinger level, the zettawatt and PeV regime; the next chapter of laser-matter interaction.

Biography: Gérard Mourou is Professor Haut-Collège at the École Polytechnique. He is also the A.D. Moore Distinguished University Emeritus Professor of the University of Michigan. He received his undergraduate education at the University of Grenoble (1967) and his PhD from University Paris VI in 1973. He has made numerous contributions to the field of ultrafast lasers, high-speed electronics and medicine. But his most important invention, demonstrated with his student Donna Strickland while at the University of Rochester is the laser amplification technique known as Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA). CPA revolutionized the field of optics, opening new branches like attosecond pulse generation, nonlinear QED and compact particle accelerators. It extended the field of optics to nuclear and particle physics. In 2005, Mourou proposed a new infrastructure, the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI), which is distributed over three pillars located in the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary. He also pioneered the field of femtosecond ophthalmology that relies on a CPA femtosecond laser for precise myopia corrections and corneal transplants. Over a million such procedures are now performed annually. Mourou is member of the US National Academy of Engineering, and a foreign member of the Russian Science Academy, the Austrian Sciences Academy and the Lombardy Academy for Sciences and Letters. He is Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur and was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics  with his former student Donna Strickland.


Donna Strickland

Donna Strickland, University of Waterloo, Canada

Generating High-intensity, Ultrashort Optical Pulses

With the invention of lasers, the intensity of a light wave was increased by orders of magnitude over what had been achieved with a light bulb or sunlight. This much higher intensity led to new phenomena being observed, such as violet light coming out when red light went into the material. After Gérard Mourou and I developed chirped pulse amplification, also known as CPA,  the intensity again increased by more than a factor of 1,000 and it once again made new types of interactions possible between light and matter. We developed a laser that could deliver short pulses of light that knocked electrons off their atoms. This new understanding of laser-matter interactions led to the development of new machining techniques that are used in laser eye surgery and micromachining of glass used in cell phones. 

Biography: Donna Strickland is one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 for co-inventing Chirped Pulse Amplification with Gérard Mourou, her PhD supervisor at the time of the discovery. She earned her PhD in optics from the University of Rochester and her BEng from McMaster University. She was a research associate at the National Research Council Canada, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a member of technical staff at Princeton University. In 1997, she joined the University of Waterloo, where her ultrafast laser group develops high-intensity laser systems for nonlinear optics investigations. She is a recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Premier’s Research Excellence Award and a Cottrell Scholar Award.  She served as the president of The Optical Society (OSA) in 2013 and is an OSA Fellow.

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