SPIE Photonics West

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01 February 2020 to 06 February 2020
San Francisco, USA

The photonics community will gather once again for SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco from 1 to 6 February 2020. Photonics West will see 1,350 companies exhibiting products during the trade fair from 4 to 6 February, with 220 exhibitors present at the accompanying Bios expo on the 1 and 2 February. Imaging technology will be among the equipment on display, while the accompanying conference sessions will include scientific papers presented on various topics, but especially in the area of life sciences.

The photonics in healthcare session, from 10am to 12pm on 2 February, will have presentations on: multispectral and fluorescence image-guided surgery from Richelle Hovelling at Quest Medical Imaging; image sensors for medical applications from Stefan Beyer at Berliner Glas; why low light imaging capabilities enable advances in research and medicine from Stephanie Fullerton at Hamamatsu; and hyperspectral sensing for wearables for health diagnostics from Ward van der Tempel at Spectricity. There will be a session on artificial intelligence in medical imaging from 1.30pm to 4pm on 2 February.

Belgian research institute Imec will be running a technology forum from 12pm to 5.30pm on 3 February, which includes a talk on hyperspectral imaging and computational imaging.

Elsewhere, various entrepreneur sessions have been scheduled, including a panel discussion on investing in photonics on 4 February from 2.45pm to 3.45pm.

On 5 February, from 11.30am until 12.30pm, SPIE’s Jennifer Douris O'Bryan will run a meeting on export control for cameras, while, later that day from 3pm to 5pm, there will be a workshop on legal issues facing the optics and tech industry, which includes international trade considerations.

SPIE will host a job fair at Photonics West on the 4 and 5 February, and also run a career summit from 2 to 4 February – the career summit includes sessions on designing a career path, communication, strategies for a successful job search, and salary negotiation.

A number of workshops on equity, diversity and inclusion have been organised. One of these events, on 2 February from 5pm to 7pm, will be a Wikipedia edit-a-thon, where visitors can bring a laptop and edit Wikipedia pages about inspiring women, ethnic, or racial minority scientists that don’t get the recognition they deserve. Networking and professional development events will also run throughout the week.



Among the exhibitors at Photonics West, Basler (booth 152) will be showing its Ace2 camera series, which includes the Ace2 Basic and Ace2 Pro lines. Both feature CMOS sensors with excellent image quality, optimised hardware design, and are available with GigE and USB 3.0 interfaces.

The Ace2 Basic line is designed for the standard tasks of a vision system, while the Ace2 Pro provides support for more demanding requirements thanks to powerful in-camera features such as Pixel Beyond and Compression Beyond.

Basler will also exhibit its Blaze industrial 3D camera that operates on the pulsed time-of-flight principle. Its laser diodes (VCSEL) work in the NIR range (940nm), generating 2D and 3D data in one shot with a multipart image, incorporating range, intensity and confidence maps. The Blaze camera offers VGA resolution via Sony’s DepthSense sensor technology. It is robust to outdoor lighting and offers powerful features at an attractive price.


Canon Medical, Video Sensing Division

The new SV-1000 from Canon Medical, Video Sensing Division (VSD) will be on display. The SV-1000 is a chip-on-tip video borescope camera that delivers an excellent solution for a variety of inspection applications.

The 1.6mm diameter camera includes the ultra-small CMOS sensor with 400 x 400-pixel resolution, 120-degree FOV lens and integrated LED light for illumination within a 1.9m flexible shaft. The small diameter sensor assembly includes a mountable handle and connects to a separate camera/LED controller.

The system features dual, simultaneous-image outputs, HDMI and USB 3.0, allowing the flexibility for viewing from a connected display, as well as through a PC for image capture and documentation. The front-end borescope is rated to IPx7 and can be completely submerged for cleaning or submerged during operation. The separate camera control unit is water resistant to IPx4.


Critical Link

Evaluation kits for two of Canon’s latest CMOS image sensors – the 120MXS, a 120-megapixel CMOS sensor; and the 3U5MGXSBA, a 5-megapixel global shutter sensor – will be on display on the Critical Link booth (235).

The kits allow developers to test sensor features and performance to ensure a fit with their application. System designers gain access to assets that accelerate development time, including complete sensor board design files. For applications that require on-board image processing, the evaluation kits feature an open architecture design, with the option to embed processing and software with the on-board CPU and FPGA fabric.

The kits consist of a camera with a pre-installed Canon CMOS sensor, and include: an accessory package for out-of-the-box operation (quick start guide, power supply, compact tripod, cables); embedded software to set up the sensor, acquire image data and communicate over USB 3.1 interface; a PC-based user interface application to communicate with the camera; sensor board design files and source code; and VHDL code for the FPGA.

A third evaluation kit is in development for Canon’s 35MMFHDXS_A sensor, a 19μm, 2.76-megapixel sensor with low-light sensitivity. Availability is projected for early 2020.



Emberion (Finnish Pavilion, booth 5279) will introduce its visible-SWIR camera core incorporating its nanotechnology-based VGA array. The key performance differentiator of the product is the wide spectral range from 400 to 2,000nm using one focal plane array. It also offers competitive sensitivity and speed.

The camera core has industry standard interfaces and will enable fast adoption of the sensor into customer products. It is relevant for various applications within machine vision and night vision, as well as hyperspectral imaging.

Emberion designs and produces high-performance infrared imagers based on nanomaterials and in-house designed CMOS integrated circuits. The firm’s primary products are infrared sensors and camera cores for visible-SWIR and MWIR.



A terahertz sensor operating in a frequency range between 500GHz and 2,500GHz will be shown by the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut (booth 4545). The sensor offers sensitivity of NEP 50pW/Hz0.5 along with a fast response time. It is suited for imaging systems used for quality control in industrial applications, and can also be integrated into medical equipment, for example for diabetes diagnostics and spectroscopy. The terahertz camera sensor is based on the institute’s in-house GaN-HEMT MMIC process.

On the same booth, the Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz-Institut will demonstrate its continuous-wave terahertz system, T-Sweeper. The system provides a measurement rate of up to 60 points per second, which makes the T-Sweeper a cost-efficient alternative to pulsed terahertz systems.


Imec will be displaying its short-wave infrared (SWIR) image sensors based on thin-film photodiode (TFPD) pixel stacks.

By using organic and quantum dot materials, Imec envisions pixel arrays that are sensitive to wavelengths from the visible to infrared (up to 2 µm) spectrum. Imec’s activity spans from material screening and stack development, to pixel and readout design, full fabrication flow including wafer-level processing in the CMOS fab, and camera assembly and characterisation.

Imec’s TFPD image sensors have a compact form factor with a pixel pitch of single micrometres. Different pixel stacks for the infrared range have been demonstrated, with focus on the 940nm, 1,450nm and 1,550nm wavelengths. The institute’s readout IC has a dedicated pixel engine for new types of thin-film photodiodes and a fab-compatible interface designed for thin-film integration. The pixel stack is optimised for each wavelength and can be patterned with photolithography on pixel level.

Imec will also show its video-rate snapshot mosaic SWIR hyperspectral camera, and the mobile version of its Snapscan VNIR hyperspectral camera.


Laser Components

Laser Components (booth 449) will be displaying the Albalux FM white light laser module. The fibre-guided illumination source provides a continuous-wave luminous flux of more than 150 lumens. The light is suitable for endoscopy, surgical headlamps, and 3D image processing.

In addition to brightness, the module gives precise beam guidance, sharp beam edges, and has low power consumption. The compact housing contains specially developed electronics for safe control of the light source.

Albalux FM is based on laser light technology from SLD Laser. Two semi-polar blue GaN laser diodes (450nm) illuminate a phosphorus chip, producing a brilliant, incoherent white light that is ten times brighter than white LEDs. The Albalux FM with fibre output is only the first model in a range of products.

Lucid Vision Labs

Lucid Vision Labs (booth 3164) will showcase its Triton 2k line scan camera featuring the 2K AMS Dragster DR-2k-7 monochrome line scan sensor. The sensor has a 7μm pixel size, a resolution of 2,048 x 1, and a line rate of 60kHz. Additional features include: IP67 protection, a robust M12 Ethernet GPIO connector, power over Ethernet, and an operating temperature range from 0°C to 55°C.

Another demo highlight will be the high-speed 10 GigE PoE Atlas camera, featuring the fourth generation Sony Pregius S IMX530 image sensor with a resolution of 25 megapixels. In addition, Lucid will show a Helios time-of-flight camera demonstration – Helios is based on Sony’s DepthSense IMX556PLR back-illuminated ToF image sensor. Up to five modulation frequency channels allow for multiple Helios cameras to operate simultaneously in the same space without interference.

Pleora Technologies

Pleora Technologies will demonstrate its embedded AI Gateway at SPIE Photonics West, booth 4263.

The AI Gateway platform offers plug-in machine learning skills for classification, sorting, and defect detection, combined with the flexibility to train and deploy open source or custom algorithms.

End-users and integrators can deploy AI skills without any additional programming knowledge. Through a simple web-based interface, images and data are uploaded to training software on a host PC, which generates a neural network that is deployed onto the AI Gateway.

For applications requiring unique AI capabilities, an operating system – built on Pleora's eBUS SDK – provides a framework to upload custom skills developed in Python to the gateway. The AI Gateway then automatically handles image acquisition from the camera source and sending out the processed data over GigE Vision.

The gateway operating system supports development around open source frameworks like TensorFlow and OpenCV, and uses the built-in Nvidia GPU for hardware acceleration.

The platform is designed to work with existing inspection hardware and software. The gateway interfaces with GigE Vision, USB3 Vision, Camera Link, and MIPI cameras from any vendor, allowing designers to retain existing infrastructure while adding AI skills to their process.

The Pleora gateway receives the camera feed, automatically performs the deployed plug-in or custom AI skill, and transmits the pre-processed data over a real-time GigE Vision connection to the existing inspection application.

The platform is built on an Nvidia GPU that is easily upgraded for applications requiring more powerful AI image processing. Multiple gateways can be networked to enable distributed image processing to make use of the multicast capabilities of GigE Vision.

Princeton Infrared Technologies

Princeton Infrared Technologies (booth 3180) will premiere its MVCam series shortwave infrared and visible camera, which has no ITAR restrictions. The megapixel indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) camera provides 1,280 x 1,024-pixel resolution SWIR imagery at up to 95fps, with higher frame rates for regions of interest.

At 12µm pixel pitch, the MVCam InGaAs image sensor yields low dark current and high quantum efficiency, providing sensitivity across the SWIR and visible wavelength bands from 0.4µm to 1.7µm. The standard camera configuration uses a single-stage thermoelectric cooler, with no moving parts, integrated in a sealed package to stabilise the image sensor at 20°C.

MVCam’s digital array (PIRT1280A1-12) generates 14-bit digital image data with no image lag and read noise less than 45e-. The camera uses medium configuration Camera Link to output the video imagery at the full data rate of 95fps. Base Camera Link can also be used at lower frame rates.

Raptor Photonics

Raptor Photonics (booth 2343) will exhibit its latest Ninox 640 visible-SWIR camera, which has 18 electrons readout noise combined a low dark current reading. The camera has intrascene dynamic range of 72dB in low gain, enabling simultaneous capture of bright and dark portions of a scene. Available with a 14-bit Camera Link output, the Ninox 640 will run from 10Hz to 120Hz; automated gain control and non-uniform correction algorithms produce high-quality images. The Ninox 640 is cooled to -15°C offering both TEC and water-cooling options, significantly reducing dark current for longer exposures.

Sill Optics

Sill Optics (booth 1266) will present telecentric lenses for machine vision. In 2019, Sill started producing lenses for the waveband 900nm to 1,700nm, including its first telecentric SWIR lens. The company has extended this product range with an additional telecentric and a standard SWIR lens for a sensor size up to 25.6mm and a pixel size down to 10µm.

Imaging technology now requires optics for larger sensors and smaller pixel sizes. Sill launched telecentric lenses for an image diagonal of up to 24mm and pixel sizes down to 3.45µm and 2.76µm, suitable for new Sony IMX sensors with 12- to 20-megapixel resolution, for example.

Furthermore, Sill Optics has reworked its bi-telecentric lens portfolio for line sensors and now offers lenses for line scan and area scan imaging with an extended image diagonal of up to 82mm and a pixel size of 5µm.


Vision Components

Vision Components (booth 2360) will present its extended range of camera modules with a MIPI CSI-2 interface.

The company has integrated non-native MIPI sensors in MIPI camera modules, using a specially developed adapter board. Examples for these are IMX250 and IMX252 sensors from the Sony Pregius series, which are characterised by high light sensitivity and low dark noise. These components enable compact, repeatable OEM designs and easy connection of image sensors to more than 20 single-board computers, including Nvidia Jetson, DragonBoard, all Raspberry Pi boards, and all 96Boards.

Vision Components now offers 10 different image sensors with resolutions up to 13 megapixels for its MIPI camera boards. Photonics West showcases include a demo application with a VC MIPI camera module connected to a Raspberry Pi.

The manufacturer’s Linux-based, freely programmable embedded vision systems will also be on display. These cameras and 3D line sensors integrate a Xilinx Zynq SoC. New quad-core embedded cameras provide a performance boost thanks to the onboard Snapdragon 410 processor: 1.2GHz clock rate, 1GB RAM, and 16GB flash memory. In addition to various built-in interfaces like GigE and 12 GPIOs, this board camera is available with optional extension boards that enable easy addition of an SD card slot and more interfaces: serial interface, I²C, RS232, DSI, RJ45 Ethernet adapter, and power interface.