This feature issue of Applied Optics is dedicated to the fourteenth Topical Meeting on Optical Interference Coatings held 2–7 June 2019, in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, USA. The conference, taking place every three years, is a focal point for global technical interchange in the field of optical interference coatings and provides premier opportunities for people working in the field to present their new advances in research and development. Papers presented at the meeting covered a broad range of topics ranging from fundamental research on coating design theory, new materials, and deposition and characterization technologies, to the vast and growing number of applications in electronic displays, communication, optical instruments, consumer electronics, high power and ultra-fast lasers, solar cells, space missions, gravitational wave detection, and many others.

© 2020 Optical Society of America


The 2019 Optical Interference Coatings conference was the fourteenth of an ongoing series of conferences that began in 1976. In that year, Philip Baumeister founded the conference to bring together people working in thin film research and the optical coating industry and provide them with a forum to share their most important findings. The conference series began with a repetition rate of every four years, which was later changed to every three years in response to the accelerating pace of developments in the field.

That first OIC conference was held in Pacific Grove, California, and featured 45 attendees and 31 contributed papers. Since that time OIC has grown into an important international venue that attracts about 300 attendees and more than 150 papers to each conference. OIC draws scientists, researchers, engineers, and students from around the world, echoing the growing demands for optical coatings and their successful applications in numerous fields and industries. OIC has provided the premier platform for people to present, to learn, and to exchange ideas on the latest advancement of optical interference coatings. Topics range from fundamental research on coating design theory, new materials, deposition, and characterization technologies, to the vast and growing number of applications in electronic displays, communication, optical instruments, consumer electronics, high power and ultra-fast lasers, solar cells, space missions, gravitational wave detection, and many others. To ensure that the advances in optical coatings highlighted during the OIC conference were widely disseminated, a feature issue of Applied Optics was dedicated to the OIC conference.

The OIC conference is one of the longest running topical meeting series of OSA. Over the years, many pioneers and leading experts in optical coatings from countries around the world have contributed to the conference by submitting papers, serving on the Program or Advisory committees, and helping to organize the conference as General or Program chairs. Table 1 provides a list of the thirteen prior OIC conferences including the General and Program chairs as well as the conference dates and locations.

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Table 1. Past Topical Meetings on Optical Interference Coatings


The OIC 2019 conference was held June 2–7 in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, USA. A total of 347 people from 22 countries attended, and 150 technical papers were presented. Fig. 1 is a chart showing the distribution of conference participants by country, while Fig. 2 shows historical OIC conference trends in terms of attendees and number of contributed papers. Fig. 3 shows the distribution of OIC 2019 papers by continent of the contributing institutions. While the number of contributed papers was down slightly as compared to recent years, OIC 2019 narrowly edged out OIC 2001 to set a new attendance record for the conference.


Fig. 1. Distribution of 2019 OIC participants by country.

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Fig. 2. Historic trend of attendance and technical papers at OIC conferences from 1976 to present.

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Fig. 3. Distribution of 2019 OIC contributed papers by continent.

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A. Conference Chairs, Program and Advisory Committees

Li Li was the General chair of the 2019 OIC conference and Robert Sargent was the Program chair. They were supported by the Program and Advisory committees. The Program committee consisted of optical coating experts from around the world; the members were Claude Amra, James Barrie, Hsi-Chao Chen, Xinbin Cheng, Angela Duparré, Henrik Ehlers, Des Gibson, Harro Hagedorn, Karen Hendrix, Chang Kwon Hwangbo, Michael Jacobson, Yi-Jun Jen, Jennifer Kruschwitz, Michel Lequime, Bincheng Li, Roland Loercher, Ludvik Martinu, Carmen Menoni, Claude Montcalm, Hiroshi Murotani, Ekishu Nagae, James Oliver, Laurent Pinard, Robert Schaffer, Ulrike Schulz, Weidong Shen, Anna Sytchkova, Michael Trubetskov, and Jue Wang. The Advisory committee provides continuity and long-term oversight for the conference and is comprised mostly of General chairs of previous OIC conferences. The current members of the Advisory committee are Detlev Ristau, Norbert Kaiser, Angus Macleod, Ric Shimshock, Christopher Stolz, Brian Sullivan, Alexander Tikhonravov, and Markus Tilsch.

B. Sponsors, Corporate Contributors and Exhibitors

The OIC 2019 conference was organized by The Optical Society. It received generous financial contributions from a number of corporate sponsors at various levels. These sponsors included Evatec Process Systems, Shincron Co., Ltd., Kaufman and Robinson, Inc., Optorun Co., Ltd., Bühler, Evaporated Coatings, Inc., Iridian Spectral Technologies, Northrop Grumman Synoptics, Software Spectra, Inc., Table Mountain Optics, Tecport Optics, Viavi Solutions, and American Elements. In addition, 22 companies also exhibited at the conference. The financial contributions of the sponsors and exhibitors provided essential funding for the conference to support students, speakers, and many other activities held at the conference. We would like to thank all the sponsors and exhibitors for their support.

C. Program

The 2019 OIC conference featured five days of technical sessions, one day of short courses, a technical exhibit, three contests in design, manufacturing and measurement, and a special evening presentation.

The conference began on Sunday with short courses geared to the needs of different learning levels, beginner through advanced, and covering a range of important topics. The eight half-day courses were very successful, attracting a total of 120 attendees. The short course topics were “Understanding the Optical Properties of Optical Coating Materials,” “Plastics Optics—Coatings and Antireflective Structures,” “Manufacture of Precision Evaporative Coatings,” “Process Concepts of Magnetron Sputtering for Optical Coatings,” “Thickness Monitoring and Enhanced Production Strategies for Optical Coatings,” “Nano-Structured Materials: Fundamentals, Potential Applications and Practical Issues,” “Characterization Strategies and Techniques for Optical Interference Coating for Laser Applications,” and a new course for OIC 2019: “Phase Properties of Optical Coatings and Applications, with an Emphasis on Chirped Mirrors for Ultrafast Optics.”

The technical sessions started on Monday morning and ended on Friday at noon. During the week a total of 150 papers were presented, including a keynote presentation, 18 invited talks by leading researchers, 123 regular contributed papers, and 8 post-deadline papers. Norbert Kaiser launched the conference with his keynote address “New Trends and Developments in the Field of Optical Interference Coatings,” an energetic and enthusiastic presentation which presaged many of the topics and developments that would be examined in greater detail over the course of the week.

A specific approach is employed at the OIC conference which enables a single linear session of papers rather than parallel sessions. Most of the sessions begin with an invited paper of 25 to 30 minutes duration. Contributed papers which follow the invited paper are introduced with a five-minute oral presentation. After the oral session, each contributed paper is assigned a dedicated poster time at a poster session aimed toward providing a more in-depth explanation. This gives the presenter and the audience plenty of opportunities and time for detailed discussions and arrangements of cooperative scientific activities. Through this format we have benefitted from an enormous spectrum of energizing and lively discussions and stimulating ideas for the future development of optical coatings and their applications. The format was again adopted for OIC 2019, avoiding the need for parallel sessions at the conference.

Many topics were explored over the course of the week; an idea of the diversity may be appreciated through a list of the conference names for the 18 sessions: Polarization Coatings, Coatings for Astronomy and Space, Energy Management and Infrared Coatings, Novel Coating Processes and Materials, Metamaterials and Metal-based Coatings, Nanostructured Materials, Design Problem and Design I, Sensing and Design II, Patterned and Variable Coatings, Process Control, Magnetron Sputtering, Manufacturing Problem and Stress in Coatings, Sputtered Coatings and Uniformity, Coatings for Lasers and Laser Damage, Nonlinear and Ultrafast Coatings, Characterization I & II, Coatings for Gravitational Wave Detection, X-Ray, EUV, and UV Coatings. Most of these topics are addressed in the papers of this feature issue.

A longstanding tradition of the conference is the organization of three challenging contest problems in the design, manufacturing, and measurement of complex optical coatings. Problems in each of the three topic areas are posted on the conference website about 9 months before the conference, and researchers must submit their results by a deadline which allows the organizers enough time to evaluate the submissions before the conference. The results of the OIC 2019 problems were presented in three invited talks: Design (Tuesday), Manufacturing (Wednesday) and Measurement (Thursday). The contests attracted participants from all over the world, and the results provided insights about the current capability for designing, fabricating, and measuring optical coatings. Extended papers providing detailed summaries of the three OIC 2019 problems appear in this issue.

Over the course of the conference several remembrances were held for researchers our community had lost over the years 2016–2019. A first memoriam was held for Dr. Stefan Guenster and Marcus Turowski, who both died tragically during a hiking excursion at the OIC 2016 conference. Dr. Guenster was a world-leading expert on laser coatings. Marcus Turowski was a young and very promising Ph.D. student who was close to finishing his thesis on the mechanisms of layer growth. A second memoriam was held for Professor Mireille Commandré. Professor Commandré was a respected expert in the areas of optical characterization and laser damage.

OIC conferences include an evening presentation that is open to attendees and their families. This year our evening speaker was Professor David R. Smith of Duke University, and he spoke on the topic of “Invisibility Cloaks and Other ‘Impossible’ Optics—Metamaterials: From Revolutionary Science to Disruptive Technology.” This important topic borders (or perhaps more correctly, intersects with) our field of optical interference coatings, and Professor Smith presented a fascinating and entertaining talk to introduce the field.

A relatively new addition to the OIC conference is a best student paper contest. This year the best student paper award was presented to Thomas Goossens for the paper TC.8: “Focused Light on Thin-Films Revisited: Analytical Results for Parallel and Tilted Apertures.” An expanded version of this paper appears in this feature issue (same authors, but with a different title).

As with previous OIC conferences, OIC 2019 provided many opportunities to network with peers at poster sessions, exhibitions, the conference welcome reception and banquet, evening presentations, and common breakfasts and lunches. These gatherings provided ample chances to network with fellow researchers, catch up with colleagues and old friends, and discuss new perspectives in research areas. Fig. 4 shows a group photo taken on one morning of the conference.


Fig. 4. 2019 OIC conference group photo, with the Sandia mountain range in background.

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A technical digest of all contributed papers was distributed electronically to all OIC 2019 conference attendees. The papers are in the form of short topical summaries, and differ from regular journal papers in that they are restricted to a length of 3 pages and produced to meet strict conference deadlines. These summaries are available at the OSA website (www.osapublishing.org). Conference contributors were encouraged to submit extended journal-length versions of their papers to this AO feature issue. The papers here represent new and in-depth information as compared to the conference presentations and papers. The collection of papers included in this feature issue advance our understanding of optical interference coatings and their many applications—we do hope you enjoy and benefit from them.

4. OIC 2022

The pace of development in the field of optical interference coatings only continues to accelerate, and the need for the OIC conference as a venue for researchers to gather and share information is only growing with time. Accordingly, a fifteenth OIC conference is being planned for the year 2022. Information regarding this conference will be posted on the OSA website as it becomes available. We look forward to seeing you at OIC 2022!

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Figures (4)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1. Distribution of 2019 OIC participants by country.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2. Historic trend of attendance and technical papers at OIC conferences from 1976 to present.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3. Distribution of 2019 OIC contributed papers by continent.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 4. 2019 OIC conference group photo, with the Sandia mountain range in background.

Tables (1)

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Table 1. Past Topical Meetings on Optical Interference Coatings