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ICO Newsletter

October 2017 Number 113


ICO-24 attracts more than 1000 participants

The opening ceremony was attended by the Emperor and Empress of Japan

 Prof. Yasuhiko Arakawa, ICO president and chair of ICO-24 delivering his speech.

The first Congress of the ICO (ICO-1) was held in Delft, the Netherlands, in July 1948 with the aim of providing a forum to discuss progress in optics and photonics. Since then, the ICO Congress has been held every three years, and gained participation from all over the world including developing countries. The 24th Congress of the International Commission for Optics (ICO-24) took place at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan from 21–25 August 2017. ICO-24 is the second to be held in Japan, 34 years since ICO-13 was held in Sapporo. It is a great honour for the ICO territorial committee of Japan to have hosted the ICO Congress in its country again.

Tokyo Metropolitan is the capital of Japan with a population of 13 million. Shinjuku is one of the busiest areas, having a big terminal station with the most passengers and many department stores. The Keio Plaza Hotel is located close to the Shinjuku railway station. Tokyo is soon to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

ICO-24 was jointly sponsored by the ICO and the Science Council of Japan (SCJ) and co-sponsored by the Japan Society of Applied Physics (JSAP) and the Optical Society of Japan (OSJ). ICO-24 was also technically co-sponsored by many scientific societies including the Chi- nese Optical Society (COS), the Chinese Society for Optical Engineering (CSOE), the European Optical Society (EOS), the Foundation for Promotion of Electrical, Electronic and Information Engineering, the IEEE Photonics Society, the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers (IEICE), the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), the Laser Society of Japan (LSJ), the Optical Society (OSA), the Optical Society of Korea (OSK), the Physical Society of Japan (JPS), and the Taiwan Photonics Society (TPS).

 ICO Bureau Members and officers and staff members of SPIE and OSA. To the right of ICO past-president Maria L Calvo stands IUPAP's President Bruce McKellar 

The main theme of ICO-24 was “Light for Society”, emphasizing the role of optics and photonics in the further development and innovation of optical networks and optical information technologies for advanced information technology and artificial intelligence, as well as their great potential to contribute to solving issues on global energy and the environment and to provide advanced tools for medicine.

The total number of participants in ICO-24 was 1003, from more than 40 countries. The Congress programme of ICO-24 consisted of the opening ceremony, plenary sessions, technical sessions, the conference reception, the Congress banquet, and the closing session. The most important event for the ICO, its triennial General Assembly also took place during ICO-24.

Opening ceremony

The most commemorative highlight of ICO-24 was the opening ceremony that was held immediately after the first Plenary Session in the afternoon of 21 August. It is our great honour that the opening ceremony was attended by their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan. I believe that ICO-24 has been the only ICO congress ever attended by a royal family. The Japanese Emperor and Empress attend only one international scientific conference a year. ICO-24 was greatly honoured when selected as the international conference in 2017 to be honored with their presence. A deep understanding of the fact that optics and photonics will play an important role in a wide range of scientific and engineering fields enabled the presence of the Emperor and Empress.

With the presence of the Emperor and Empress, I, as the ICO president, delivered the opening speech, which was followed by the speeches of Prof. Takashi Ohnishi, the SCJ president, and Dr Kennedy Reed, the IUPAP president-designate. The ceremony was also attended by special guests, Masashi Matsuyama, the Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy, Yuriko Koike, the Governor of Tokyo Metropolitan, and Makoto Gonokami, president of The University of Tokyo. The message from Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister was introduced by Prof. Yukari Matsuo, the ceremony chair. Everything was prepared under strict security for the opening ceremony, which gave extremely fascinating and significant impact to all the participants to the ICO-24. For organizing and steering the opening ceremony, the full cooperation and support by the Keio Plaza Hotel was indispensable.

The news of the opening ceremony was immediately broadcasted by Japan’s major TV channels. As a result, I think that the name of ICO was well recognized throughout Japan. This moving is of great significance for the future progress in light science and technology promoted by the ICO.

Technical presentation

 Prof. Yasuhiko Arakawa and Prof. Martin Booth at the ICO award ceremony.

Two plenary sessions were held, in the afternoon of Monday 21 August and in the morning of Wednesday 23 August. At the first plenary session, a Nobel laureate, Prof. Hiroshi Amano, Nagoya University, Prof. Anne L’Huillier, Lund University, and another Nobel laureate, Prof. Takaaki Kajita, The University of Tokyo delivered plenary speeches on “New era of LEDs”, “From extreme nonlinear optics to ultrafast atomic physics”, and “30 years of neutrino researches in Kamioka”, respectively. At the second plenary session, Prof. Christopher Dainty, University College London, and Prof. James G Fujimoto, Massachusetts Institute of Technology talked about “Fundamental limits of mobile phone cameras” and “Optical coherence tomography and biomedical imaging”.

683 papers, including 18 keynote papers and about 100 invited papers, were presented at oral or poster sessions. At ICO-24, 18 research areas were categorized and the contribution of technical papers was solicited in these areas. More than 650 papers were submitted, and those papers were carefully reviewed and selected by the programme sub-committees of the 18 areas. As a result, 13 countries presented more than 10 papers. The 13 countries are Japan, China, Taiwan, Mexico, USA, Germany, Korea, Spain, Russia, UK, France and India. About 10 parallel sessions were always running. Every session room was crowded with a large number of audiences with active presentations and debates.

The 18 areas categorized were the following – 1: optical design, optical materials, and photo lithography; 2: vision, colour, display and lighting; 3: optical metrology; 4: optical imaging and optical information processing; 5: advanced microscopy and spectroscopy; 6: biomedical optics/photonics; 7: nonlinear optics; 8: ultrafast phenomena and ultrafast optics; 9: high-power lasers and applications; 10: X-ray and high-energy optics; 11: microwave/millimeterwave/THz photonics; 12: near-field optics, plasmonics, and metamaterials; 13: photonic crystal, nano structures and functions; 14: opto- electronics and photonic devices; 15: optical MEMS and micro-optics; 16: quantum optics and atom optics; 17: fibre optics; and 18: optical communications and photonic network.

Award presentations and support to participation

The ICO-24 planned to support travelling and accommodation expenses to the presenters or Bureau members from developing countries. 12 participants received the support from ICO-24 with the registration fee waived. In addition, OSA provided support for travel expenses for 3 people.

 OSA/SPIE student awardees at ICO-24

 General Assembly, presided by Yasuhiko Arakawa

The OSA/SPIE student awards were given to 18 students who presented excellent papers at the ICO-24 technical sessions. The recipients were selected from each category by the ICO technical programme committee members. The awards were sponsored by OSA, SPIE, as well as by the ICO. The winners, who received certificates at each technical session, were also invited to the banquet.

At the awards ceremony, which took place on 23 August, just before the Congress banquet, the ICO Prize 2014 was presented to Prof. Martin Booth, UK, and the ICO Galileo Galilei Award 2015 was presented to Prof. Aram Papoyan, Armenia. Both gave technical presentations on their achievements on the awards. 

General Assembly

The General Assembly was organized in two sessions during ICO-24. Session 1 was held on Tuesday 22 August, 2.00–5.00 p.m., and Session 2 was on Thursday 24 August, 5.00–7.00 p.m. About 65 delegates from about 29 countries and 7 international societies participated in the General Assembly.

At the first session, the ICO president for 2014–2017 presented his report, including the ICO application to become an ICSU Union and the ICO Strategic Plan 2017–2023. The General Assembly debated and approved the ICO Strategic Plan. The preliminary list of nominees for the ICO bureau election was presented by the ICO past-president and chair of the ICO Nomination Committee, Prof. Duncan Moore, who also explained the process of late nominations.

At the second session, the main agenda of the meeting was the election of ICO Bureau Members for the term 2017–2020. Prof. Juergen Czarske, Dresden Technical University Dresden, Dresden, Germany, presented Germany’s bid to host ICO-25, which was very well received and unanimously approved by the General Assembly.

Congress Banquet

 Eight Japanese Geisha performed during the Congress banquet.

 Prof. Maria L Calvo delivers a celebration speech as former ICO president at the ICO-24 banquet.

The Congress banquet was held at Keio Plaza on the evening of 24 August. Participants entered the banquet room with the welcome of eight Japanese Geisha, who danced and sang for 15 minutes. After the cultural performance, I gave a welcome speech as the ICO-24 Organizing Committee Chair, and Prof. Maria L Calvo delivered a celebration speech as former ICO president. The meal was started with a toast by Prof. Junpei Tsujiuchi, former ICO president. Meanwhile, eight winners of the OSA/SPIE student awards were invited to the stage and introduced. I am convinced that such an introduction became a very honourable memory for the young award winners. After this introduction, the Geisha played a traditional Japanese game together with the participants, who thoroughly enjoyed it.Closing remarks were given by Prof. Juergen Czarske, on behalf of the organizers, announcing that ICO-25 will be held in Dresden, Germany, encouraging all the attendees to participate in ICO-25.


We are pleased to have successfully held ICO-24 in Tokyo, thanks to the strong support by the ICO Bureau members and each territorial committee, as well as international societies. I believe that ICO-24 has become one of the most commemorative ICO Congress in the whole history of the ICO. Finally, I would like to express my thanks to all Japanese colleagues and committee members who contributed to organization, preparation, and execution of ICO-24 in Tokyo. 

Professor Yasuhiko Arakawa, ICO president and chair of ICO-24.


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International Commission for Optics

Bureau members (2014-2017):

President: Y. Arakawa;

Past-President: D. T. MooreTreasurer: J A Harrington;

Secretary: A M Guzmán, CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida, PO Box 162700, 4000 Central Florida Blvd,Orlando, FL 32816-2700, USA; e-mail

Associate Secretary: G von Bally

Vice-Presidents, elected: J. Harvey, F. Höller, H. Michinel, J. Niemela, R. Ramponi, S-H Park, J. Zakrzewski, M. Zghal

Vice-Presidents, appointed: K. Choquette, J. C. Howell, S. Morgan, E. Rosas, P. Urbach, A Wagué, M. J. Yzuel

IUPAP Council Representative: C Cisneros

Editor in chief: A M Guzmán

Editorial committee:
K Baldwin, Australian National University, Australia;
J Dudley, Université de Franche-Comté, France;
William T Rhodes, Florida Atlantic University, USA.