This Applied Optics feature issue is dedicated to the 12th topical meeting on Optical Interference Coatings held on 16–21 June 2013 in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. The conference, taking place in a three-year rotation with conferences in Europe and Asia, is a focal point for global technical interchange in the field of optical interference coatings and provides premier opportunities for people in the field to present their new advances in research and development. Papers presented at the conference cover a broad range of topics, from thin film deposition processes, designs and modeling, materials, and metrologies to a wide array of thin film applications.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

The 2013 OIC conference was on June 16–21 2013, in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. The conference was organized by the Optical Society of America in cooperation with SPIE, the European Optical Society, and the Society of Vacuum Coaters. Generous financial contributions were provided by American Elements, Evaporated Coatings, Inc., Evatec, Fisba Optik, Iridian Spectral Technologies, JDSU, Laser Zentrum Hannover, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Leybold Optics, Materion, Optics Balzers, Schallenberg Optics, Shincron Co., Ltd., and Carl Zeiss, Inc.

The General Chair of the conference was Markus Tilsch and the Program Chair Detlev Ristau. They were supported by the Program and Advisory committees. The Program Committee consisted of James Barrie, Mireille Commandré, Svetlana Dligatch, Angela Duparré, Ludovic Escoubas, Michael Fulton, Robert Hallock, Karen Hendrix, Flavio Horowitz, Chang Kwon Hwangbo, Michael Jacobson, Cheng-Chung Lee, Bincheng Li, Li Li, Xu Liu, Roland Loercher, Roberto Machorro, Ludvik Martinu, Carmen Menoni, Ekishu Nagae, James Oliver, Angela Piegari, Robert Sargent, Robert Schaffer, Ulrike Schulz, Noriaki Toyoda, Michael Trubetskov, Zhanshan Wang, and Alfons Zoeller. The Advisory Committee included George Dobrowolski, Norbert Kaiser, Angus Macleod, Ric Shimshock, Douglas Smith, Christopher Stolz, Brian Sullivan, and Alexander Tikhonravov.

The first Optical Interference Coatings conference took place in February 1976 in Asolimar, California, and had 45 attendees and 31 contributed papers. Since the humble beginning, the conference has grown sixfold to a current attendance exceeding 270 participants with 185 invited and contributed papers, as illustrated in Fig. 1. The proceedings of this conference are restricted to three-page summaries. The OIC feature issues of Applied Optics cover more mature work with expanded details. Additionally, relevant papers that were not presented at the conference have also been included in this series of feature issues.

 figure: Fig. 1.

Fig. 1. Historical trends of the OIC conference.

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The conference included short courses, technical exhibitions, three contests, and five days of technical sessions. The conference started on Sunday with six short courses covering “plastics optics—coatings and antireflective structures,” “manufacture of precision evaporative coatings,” “design, preproduction analysis, computational manufacturing and reverse engineering of optical coatings,” “space optics,” “process concepts of magnetron sputtering for optical coatings,” and “thickness monitoring and enhanced production strategies for optical coatings.”

Technical sessions were held Monday through Friday. OIC 2013 followed the unique proven format of prior OIC conferences. Despite the large number of papers, the conference did not feature any parallel sessions. Each of the 18 sessions was kicked off by an invited talk. The authors of all contributed papers introduced their topic in a 5 min presentation and then ample time was allowed at the poster session for each paper. This format allows attendees to get a broad overview and in-depth discussions with the authors. OIC is a truly international conference with strong representation from North America, Europe, and Asia plus a few contributions from South America and Australia, as Fig. 2 shows. Equally diverse are the sectors that were represented, including academia, private companies, and government laboratories.

 figure: Fig. 2.

Fig. 2. Contributed paper submissions by continent.

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Two memorial talks honored the recent passing of George Dobrowolski and Hans Pulker, both longtime contributors to the field whose presence will be sorely missed.

On Monday night, Pete Vukusic gave an evening lecture on “All Things Bright and Beautiful: Light and Colour in Biological Systems,” connecting the field of optical interference with nature. The talk was sponsored by the OSA Fabrication, Design and Instrumentation Division.

A long-standing tradition at the OIC conferences is the three competitions (design, manufacturing, and measurement), which are documented in this feature issue. These challenges represented an opportunity for scientists and engineers from all over the globe to solve a problem, collectively generating new insights in these three critical technical areas.

A reception on Wednesday evening provided an opportunity to socialize, network, and make new friends. It was held at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, which is dedicated to the history and culture of local First Nations. Figure 3 shows a picture of the attendees.

 figure: Fig. 3.

Fig. 3. OIC 2013 attendee picture.

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Corporate exhibits displayed the latest in thin film design software, metrology tools, and deposition tools.

Major advances in the understanding and application of optical thin films have taken place in the last decade. Energetic processes are now prevalent in many areas. Coating equipment is more automated and operates more predictably and reliably. But the field constantly faces new challenges where the envelope of the possible is being pushed. At the conference, paths to higher laser damage thresholds were being discussed. UV coatings are becoming more stable with better performance. Advanced monitoring systems allow for more complex spectral behavior, especially for ultrashort pulse applications. Manufacturing methods to tailor mechanical or electrical properties of the films are researched. Computer simulations aid in finding better and more manufacturable solutions, in some cases including uniformity aspects of the coatings. Nanostructures are used in applications, while some are still at the level of basic research. Complex simulations get us closer to understanding the basic physics behind film growth phenomena. New or advanced on metrology and characterization techniques assist in these efforts.

We are confident the information shared at the conference and presented in this feature issue will spark new ideas, advance our understanding of optical interference coatings and improve our capability to make complex optical coatings for a growing number of applications. We look forward to the next OIC conference to be held on June 19–24, 2016, at the Loews Ventana Canyon, Tucson, Arizona, USA.

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Figures (3)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1. Historical trends of the OIC conference.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2. Contributed paper submissions by continent.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3. OIC 2013 attendee picture.