A wet and somewhat chilly start to the conference took place in a simply massive facility… I think it can hold a huge number of people. The tube station is 2minutes walk to the centre and very conveniently located for visitors.
So what did I start with:
Well as my blessed hotel doesn’t have wi-fi (for over 100€ a night I think that is a crime!) I started by checking my emails since something urgent needed to be dealt with.
Having done that I could now concentrate on the talks!
The talk I found most interesting was by Prof. Lihong Wang of Washington University in session CL-1, a tutorial on Photoacoustic Tomography and part of the ECBO meeting. He made the points that both the optical diffraction limit (which limits the resolution we can get in image to 2x wavelength being used) and the diffusion limits have been overcome to some extent by Photoacoustic Tomography and Microscopy. The principle behind photoacoustic effects is that light when shone on tissue heats it up and due to the thermoelastic effect there is emission of phonons or acoustic waves. These can then be detected. When the non-linear response in emission of the acoustic waves is exploited the diffraction limit can be overcome. He went on to briefly differentiate between tomography (in which mathematical triangulation is used to resolve/focus the signal) and microscopy (where the detection process focuses the beam). He showed several fascinating images of imaged tissue/organisms from these techniques. I wish though that he had spent a little more time on the physics of the technique.
Then I enjoyed a contributed paper on optical activity in twisted PCF (session CK4, 1st talk). The authors have used a quantum formulation to understand the modes and birefringence in twisted PCF. Those of you who know my interest in spiral PCF would immediately see why this talk appealed to me! I sat through this entire session.
But was gutted to have missed the sessions on Theory, Algorithms and Modeling which are part of the ECBO. These sessions included talks on modeling methods and their role/latest in biophotonics…Blah! But then its impossible to be everywhere at the same time.
Two posters that gave me something to look up on:
- Poster CC-P7, the idea that coupling to metal wires form propagating modes for THz improves significantly if they are radially polarized. In fact attenuation and dispersion properties are supposed to improve markedly… (they cited Optics Express, Vol. 20, pp. 21896, 2012).
- Poster CA-P.19 which discussed merits of end and side pumping of Nd: YAG lasers by solar light!! I didn’t know that solar light could be redirected, collected and concentrated and then used to pump solid state lasers. So this is a fantastic thing I am going to explore. A reference they cited: Laser Physics, Vol. 23, pp. 065801, 2013.
But before I end, I must moan about two things:
I managed to crash Thomas Krauss’s short course on Photonic Crystals, and he had to ask if I was registered for it and I had to leave (as I wasn’t!). Embarrassing! How could I mix up the sessions so badly?!
Second is a genuine gripe: there long queues for food in the cafes in the centre, so many people ventured to the McDonald’s and the few open eateries to get food (braving the rain!). There were several other places to eat there but all closed on account of it being Sunday. Now, why start the conference on Sunday when the infrastructure is not wholly functional? Also, it means a weekend gone for most folks attending. Just start on Monday!
Well more soon tomorrow!