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Winners of the 2016 SPIE Startup Challenge

Founding Partner Jenoptik once again supported the pitch competition at Photonics West, hosted by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

Jenoptik supports the SPIE Startup Challenge

Taking first place at this year’s pitch competition for young entrepreneurs was Double Helix with a new 3D imaging system. Leslie Kimerling presented a system that can image at single-molecule level inside individual cells. It provides unprecedented imaging detail at the nanoscale level to speed the drug development process. The Double Helix system has the potential to reduce the time involved in bringing targeted therapies to market because it provides early verification and validation of the efficacy of drug therapy mechanisms.

The second place was awarded to Diagnostics anSERS. Co-founder Sean Virgile presented a marijuana breathalyzer based on surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). Disease Diagnostic Group, founded by John Lewandowski, came in third place with a diagnostic tool made from refrigerator magnets and a laser pointer that can be used to improve malaria diagnosis, for example.

At this year’s Photonics West from February 16-18, a total of 25 entrepreneurs presented their photonics-based products to an expert team including Jenoptik business development manager and SPIE Fellow Marc Himel. Six finalists were selected to pitch their business ideas in three minutes each.

Founding Partner Jenoptik once again supported this annual competition hosted by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, with cash prizes and expertise. Jay Kumler, SPIE Fellow and as President responsible for the US activities of the Jenoptik Optical Systems division, handed over the 10,000 USD cash award for first place on February 17. Jenoptik also funded the 5,000 USD cash award for second place and 2,500 USD for third place.

At the trade fair in in San Francisco, Jenoptik exhibited various products and solutions for semiconductor, life science and industrial applications. The Optical Systems division presented, amongst others, innovative freeform optics for infrared applications. The Healthcare & Industry division focused on highly efficient semiconductor material, diode lasers and powerful femtosecond lasers.


Point of contact Cornelia Ehrler - Communications and Marketing

Cornelia Ehrler

Communications and Marketing

+49 3641 65-4455

+49 3641 65-2484