Neurophotonics to debut at SPIE Photonics Europe 2014

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The new field of neurophotonics ― bridging optical physics and neuroscience ― is being added to the already comprehensive programme for SPIE Photonics Europe in 2014. Abstracts are being accepted for 18 conferences in topics such as organic photonics, quantum optics, lasers and amplifiers and micro/nano technologies.

The landmark Town Hall building towers over Brussels, where SPIE Photonics Europe will return in April 2014.

The landmark Town Hall building towers over Brussels, where SPIE Photonics Europe will return in April 2014.

Optical microscopy methods are fast becoming central to neurobiological research, leading to fascinating research discoveries and stimulating conceptual advances.

SPIE Photonics Europe will return to Brussels 14-17 April 2014, drawing nearly 2,000 leading optics and photonics researchers and innovators for 18 technical conferences on the latest research developments and industry news.

Photonics Europe is well established as a forum for reports on the latest R&D in micro/nanotechnologies, organic and biophotonics, photonic components, lasers, quantum optics, and industrial applications.

In 2014, neurophotonics ― an exciting technology area gaining wide global exposure ― will be introduced as a topic within the conference on Biophotonics: Photonic Solutions for Better Health Care.

Abstracts are being accepted for all Photonics Europe conferences through 4 November.

Conventional research and clinical practices rely on electrical methods for stimulating, modulating and recording neural activity. The past decade has seen the rise of optical methods in this domain, and direct stimulation of neural cells and tissues using laser light has seen tremendous interest in the past few years.

Application of light-based technologies for stimulating neural activity in the peripheral and central nervous system using different wavelengths from the UV through the infrared, is only the beginning of this field, and recent research suggests future applications of light as a tool to cure neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

“Optical microscopy methods are fast becoming central to neurobiological research, leading to fascinating research discoveries and stimulating conceptual advances, some of which will be presented at Photonics Europe,” said Prof. Dr. Jürgen Popp, Scientific Head of the Institute of Photonic Technology Jena e.V. and Chair of Physical Chemistry at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, and co-chair of the Biophotonics conference. “Biophotonic technology develops rapidly and thus the fields of application and the specified knowledge grow at a high pace as well.”

The importance of neurophotonics is evident not only from the considerable growth rates of the related industries, but also from the significant amount of publicly funded research efforts in this field.

Developers of optogenetics ― the use of light to control neurons in living tissue ― were recently announced as winners of Denmark's €1 million annual Brain Prize. The EC-sponsored Human Brain Project is preparing for its inaugural event in October, and the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is being scoped by a working group of the U.S. National Institutes of Health with an eye on securing funding in the fiscal 2014 budget.

In addition to conferences, Photonics Europe offers workshops, seminars and a product exhibition. The event seves as a platform for updates on Horizon 2020, the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation throughout 2014-2020.

Daily “hot topics” sessions with presentations by leading experts are among technical highlights. An Innovation Village provides exposure for new products developed by universities and research centres, and the European Village showcases projects of EC initiatives, Networks of Excellence and other consortia.

Accepted papers will be published in the SPIE Digital Library as soon as approved after the event, and in print volumes and digital collections.

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Society serves nearly 235,000 constituents from approximately 155 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional networking, and patent precedent. SPIE provided over $3.2 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2012.

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