News Items

Photonics21 Student Innovation Award 2017

For the eights time the ETP Photonics21 announces the Photonics21 Student Innovation Award. The prize will be handed over in the frame of the Photonics21 Annual Meeting on the 28th and 29th of March 2017.

The Research, Education and Training work group of the Photonics21 Technology Platform has established a prize for students in the field of photonics in order to promote research in photonics especially related to R&D with industrial impact.
Any person under 35 and active in the field of optics and photonics may apply for the Photonics21 Student Innovation Award. The award consists of a certificate, a trophy as well as a cash prize of € 5,000.
Applicants must submit the following documents:

  • The completed application form,
  • One letter of support (by a supervisor or mentor),
  • A short (2 page) biography/CV
  • A list of peer reviewed publications
  • A description of the innovative R&D work (not exceeding 4 pages of A4, 12 point text), making clear the nature of innovation potential impact to industry

The application deadline for participating in the Photonics21 Student Innovation Award 2017 is the 20th of January 2017.
Applications can be sent via e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you would like to sponsor either the Photonics21 Annual Meeting or the Student Innovation Award, please download the presentation for more information or contact the Photonics21 Secretariat at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Camera that sees invisible danger to make land, sea and air safer

A group of European scientists are developing a surveillance camera harnessing new photonics technology that will dramatically reduce coastal rescue times in low visibility conditions, target pollution and keep us safer on the Underground.

The camera, measuring the size of a shoebox, uses Multi Spectral Imaging, a process that captures the same image at different frequencies from the electromagnetic spectrum. Certain combinations of multispectral images can reveal information that humans cannot see, such as invisible or poisonous gasses, or fire sources through dense fog, providing an unrivalled level of surveillance.

Current MSI cameras are unsuitable for moving objects or real-time observation because they are not ‘snapshot’ devices and use a filter wheel that needs to be rotated. They contain sensors which use technology that needs to be cooled to work, meaning the equipment is bulky. Weighing less than 2kg, the breakthrough device deploys the latest photonic sensing technology, featuring a multi-aperture, multi sensor camera capable of capturing several wavelengths simultaneously in one place. With the World Health Organisation estimating in 2014 that nearly 600,000 deaths are a result of air pollution in Europe, and with monitoring of civil infrastructures being an important area for video surveillance equipment and services in the future, this device looks set to play a key role in high-tech safety and security.

Coordinated in Spain, the SEERS, or ‘Snapshot spectral imager for IR surveillance’, project has received a grant of €3,750,535 from Horizon 2020 via the Photonics Public Private Partnership. Project coordinator, Anton Garcia-Diaz explains: “The SEERS device is equipped with integrated computational imaging. It has no need for cooling and can process the images in real-time, meaning key parts of processing are embedded within the device.” This is not just good news for coastal and traffic surveillance but also the implications for the future of safety in tunnels and the Underground tube train network are exciting.

"Accidents in tunnels, while rare, are extremely serious when they do happen. Responding quickly and in a targeted manner is vital. We expect rescue and response times will be cut significantly with the SEERS camera", Garcia-Diaz said.

Based on CMOS compatible FPA manufacturing technology means it is much cheaper than alternative IR technology. A commercial monochromatic camera working in the mid infrared range of 3-5 µm wavelengths is a bulky, cooled device that costs anything over €70,000.

“Few imaging systems exist with the capability to identify gases, but even they can cost over €100,000. The SEERS project aims to deliver MSI technology in an extended infrared domain at under €40,000 with improved persistence and gas identification capabilities”, said Garcia-Diaz.

RespiceSME - 1st Newsletter

Launched by an international consortium of 10 partners from Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, the European funded project RespiceSME started on January, 1st, 2016.

RespiceSME reinforces the innovative capacity of Europe’s photonics SMEs, clusters and national platforms by stimulating increased collaborations in and beyond photonics. RespiceSME proposes a 3-dimensional approach to enhance the innovation capacity of photonics SMEs, analyse value chains to support a more effective penetration by European photonics SMEs in global non-photonics sectors and harness the full innovative capacity of the European photonics infrastructure.

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