MIRTHE at SPIE Defense, Security & Sensing '13
MIRTHE conducts another successful Commercialization Workshop at SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing Conference

By Bernadeta Wysocka, MIRTHE Industrial Liaison

MIRTHE for a second time was invited by the SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, to organize a workshop on speeding commercialization of mid-infrared (mid-IR) technologies for defense and security applications at the Defense, Security, and Sensing (DSS) conference, the most important scientific conferences on optics, imaging, and sensing for defense, security, and industry, held in Baltimore, MD from April 29-May 3. Panelists from U.S. government, venture capital community, and
MIRTHE Executive Director Joe Montemarano (right) moderates a panel discussion.
industry discussed ways to speed the commercialization and deployment of early-stage Defense and Homeland Security applications focused on mid-infrared technologies.

Joseph Montemarano, MIRTHE Executive Director, welcomed the attendees and presented an overview of the MIRTHE Center, where he described its effort in the homeland security research areas. Then he introduced the speakers to present their perspective on commercialization of mid-IR technologies for defense and security applications. The presentations were followed by a panel discussion. Panelist included Thomas A. Cellucci, who served as the US Government’s first-ever Chief Commercialization Officer, working for both President Bush and President Obama, now the Executive Vice- President of ICS Nett, Inc., David Pustai, Lockheed Martin, Ralph E. Taylor-Smith, General Partner, Battelle Ventures, and Kevin Lascola, Maxion Technologies/Thorlabs, who made clear that the defense and security sectors hold significant opportunities for the development of mid-IR
  technologies. They also added that transition to commercial markets faces a number of challenges like complexity of collaborative networks, a desire to keep cutting-edge defense technologies proprietary for a competitive advantage over potential adversaries, and an investment climate affected by the slow moving economy. Responses to these challenges included, from the perspective of government, industry and investors, making a commitment to collaborative development and funding involving both public and private sectors, using formal programs and partnerships as appropriate. Companies were advised to explore
Thomas Cellucci, ICS Nett, Inc. presents his perspective on commercialization of mid-IR technologies for defense and security applications.
thoroughly both public and private funding options. For those pursuing the venture capital route, a convincing business plan, describing a worthwhile return for investors, is critical to securing this type of funding.

The workshop concluded with a showcase of select technologies, where two MIRTHE affiliated small companies, Sentinel Photonics and Redshift Systems demonstrated how mid-IR technologies have been transitioning from R&D to market readiness.

The series of MIRTHE at SPIE DSS workshops continues MIRTHE’s efforts to speed commercialization of mid-IR technologies, that was generated in 2010 through establishment of a Mid-IR Investment Focus Group (IFG), which links investment community with researchers, practitioners, and industry to discuss emerging technologies related to fields of mid-IR technologies, and to help identify promising commercial applications. The DSS workshops address defense and security, one of the key areas, actively being pursued by MIRTHE Center and its collaborators. Due to the success of past and this year’s workshops, we look forward to the next event in 2014. We hope you will join us to listen and interact with the leaders in the IR community, and to come to share your ideas in  
Sentinel Photonics showcases its product.
the homeland security areas.

The presentation from the 2013 workshop can be found by clicking the following link.