optical instruments

Optical Society of America

The Optical Society of America (OSA) is a scientific society dedicated to advancing the study of lightoptics and photonics—in theory and application, by means of worldwide research, scientific publishing, conferences and exhibitions, partnership with industry, and the education of new generations of scientists. The organization's members reside in over 100 nations and span many disciplines: physicists, biologists, medical researchers, electrical engineers, display component engineers, communications specialists, vision scientists, astronomers, meteorologists, materials scientists, technical specialists in imaging, and others.

Commonly known as OSA, the society exemplifies the self-governing, mutual-assistance professional associations that fostered development of science and technology through the 20th century to the present. Founded in 1916 by 30 optical scientists and instrument makers based in Rochester, New York, OSA soon began publication of its first journal of research results and established an annual meeting.

By 2006, OSA reported nearly 14,000 individuals members. During the year, the society published 33,000 pages of research in its journals and hosted 22,000 attendees at conferences and meetings.


The mission of the Optical Society of America is to promote the generation, application and archiving of knowledge in optics and photonics and to disseminate this knowledge worldwide. The purposes of the Society are scientific, technical and educational.

Founded by Perley G. Nutting in 1916, OSA brings together optics and photonics scientists, engineers, educators, technicians and business leaders. OSA is dedicated to providing its members and the scientific community with educational resources that support technical and professional development. OSA publications, events and services help to advance the science of light by addressing the ongoing need for shared knowledge and innovation. The Society's commitment to excellence and long-term learning is the driving force behind all its initiatives.

Scientific publishing

Scientific publishing, also known as scholarly or academic publishing, is a core activity of the Optical Society of America. Guided by this structured discipline, optics and photonics scientists and engineers submit their research results to OSA for peer review and publication in one of the society's journals. A majority of articles published in OSA journals are written by authors residing outside the United States.

OSA's Member Guide states that "Manuscripts are evaluated on the basis of scientific content, novelty, presentation, and appropriateness. Submissions must be previously unpublished and not be under consideration for publication elsewhere." Submission and review are conducted through an Internet-based system. Authors are asked to select keywords for their papers from the Optics Classification and Indexing System (OCIS) to aid readers in the search process.

Access to OSA journals. All primary journals are published in online format and four in printed format (AO, JOSA A, JOSA B, OL). Many university and research libraries with optics and photonics interests maintain institutional subscriptions for their constituents. Readers should contact their organization's library to determine what journal holdings are available and how they may be accessed. Individual subscriptions are available through membership in the society.

Access to individual journal articles. Optics InfoBase is the OSA online portal to past and current articles published in primary journals, co-published journals, and many conference digests. Optics InfoBase is structured as a search engine which uses the criteria of author, title keyword, abstract keyword, journal selection, and date range. Abstracts are freely viewable; full text is offered under various fee arrangements.

Open access journal. The full text of all articles in Optics Express is freely available.

Primary journals

  • Applied Optics (AO), 1962-present (print ISSN 0003-6935, online ISSN 1539-4522). Research on optical technology (fiber optics; optical testing and instrumentation; lens design; x-ray optics; radiometry and detectors; thin films), information processing (Fourier optics; holography; pattern recognition; machine vision; optical neural networks; statistical optics; speckle and optical signal processing), laser, photonics, and environmental optics (laser systems, materials, design and instrumentation; optoelectronics; atmospheric optics and propagation, LIDAR and remote sensing; meteorological and ocean optics), and biomedical optics (optical metrology; laser-based diagnostics and treatment; optical imagery; tissues spectroscopy, diagnostics, and bioinstrumentation; ultrasound-aided and coherence-based optical imagery).
  • Journal of Optical Networking (JON), 2002-present (ISSN 1539-5379, online only). Rapid publication of research on theory and application of fiber optics and optical communication networks, links and subsystems.
  • Journal of the Optical Society of America A (JOSA A), 1984-present (print ISSN 1084-7529, online ISSN 1520-8532). Research on optics, image science and vision (specifically atmospheric optics, image processing, scattering and coherence theory, machine vision, physiological optics, statistical optics, gratings, polarization, thin films, color vision, design, and diffraction).
  • Journal of the Optical Society of America B (JOSA B), 1984-present (print ISSN 0740-3224, online ISSN 1520-8540). Research on optical physics (specifically ultrafast phenomena; optical coherent transients; multiphoton processes; effects of laser radiation; ultraviolet and x-ray physics; atomic, molecular and laser spectroscopy; nonlinear optical materials, science, and technology).
  • Optics Express (OpEx), 1997-present (ISSN 1094-4087, online only). Open access, rapid publication of short, peer-reviewed papers in all fields of optical science and technology. Multimedia content available.
  • Optics Letters (OL), 1977-present (print ISSN 0146-9592, online ISSN 1539-4794). Concise, rapid publication on all areas of optics including measurements, components and devices, processing, storage, holography, optoelectronics, lasers, ultrafast phenomena, nonlinear optics, fiber optics, integrated optics, quantum optics and spectroscopy, and optics in biology and medicine.
  • Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics (VJBO), 2006-present (ISSN 1931-1532). Compilation of all biomedical articles published in OSA's peer-reviewed journals.

Co-published journals

  • Applied Spectroscopy (AS), 1951-present (ISSN 0003-7028). Jointly published by OSA and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy. Full-length articles, notes and spectroscopic techniques.
  • Chinese Optics Letters (COL), 2006-present (ISSN 1671-7694). Published by Science Press of China, distributed by OSA. Novel experimental and theoretical results from all fields of optics.
  • Journal of Display Technology (JDT), 2006-present (ISSN 1551-319X). Jointly published by OSA and IEEE. Studies on all aspects of display technologies, spanning many disciplines.
  • Journal of Lightwave Technology (JLT), 1998-present (ISSN 0733-8724). Jointly published by OSA and IEEE. Studies on fiber and cable technology, active and guided-wave components, integrated optics and optoelectronics, systems and subsystems, networks and switching.
  • Journal of Optical Technology (JOT), 1999-present (ISSN 1070-9762). English translation of Opticheskii Zhurnal (S. I. Vavilov State Optical Institute and D. S. Rozhdestvensky Optical Society, St. Petersburg, Russia). Design of optical instruments and computational optics.


Optics & Photonics News (OPN), 1989-present (ISSN 1047-6938, online ISSN 1541-3721). Distributed to all OSA members. Broad selection of research and industry trends on all topics, OSA news, book reviews, employment and commercial advertising. Articles solicited under guidance of an editorial advisory committee.

Conferences and exhibitions

Scientific conferences provide a forum for researchers to present their results in person and to learn about the work of colleagues. OSA sponsors small and large meetings consisting of a technical program and an industrial exhibition appropriate to the subject matter and number of attendees. Large conferences often include professional education courses and workshops addressing the state of emerging technology and industry.

OSA conferences are announced with a Call for Papers, the solicitation of scientists to submit papers related to the meeting topics. Submitted papers are reviewed by the program committee; accepted papers are then scheduled for oral presentation or group poster presentation. Invited papers by recognized experts and submitted papers are organized into highly specific symposia topics.

The collected presentations are distributed to meeting attendees in the form of a technical digest on CD-ROM. Afterward, OSA makes conference papers available through Optics InfoBase.

Contemporary OSA meetings include:

Professional community

Beyond publishing and conferences, OSA nurtures the professional community of optics and photonics scientists and engineers through the structures of technical groups, local sections, student chapters, corporate associate membership, and career networking. Members' voluntary involvement in the programs of the society create the energy of the community. Unique professional accomplishments are recognized by presentation of OSA awards and honors.

Membership is open to any professional or student working or interested in optics or a related field. To facilitate focused communication within the broad field of optics, new members select technical groups matching their individual interests.

OSA technical groups categorized by division are:

Technical Division Technical Groups
Optical Design and Instrumentation Optical Fabrication and Testing
Optical System Design
Optical Systems for Earth, Air, and Space
Polarization Engineering
Thin Films
X-Ray Optics
Optical Sciences Applied Spectroscopy and Environmental Sensing
Short Wavelength and High Field Physics
Photonic Metamaterials: From Random to Periodic
Optics in Biology and Medicine Biomedical Optical Spectroscopy
Diffuse Imaging and Optics
Microscopy and OCT
Therapeutic Laser Applications
Optics in Information Science Holography and Diffractive Optics
Imaging Sensing in Pattern Recognition
Optics for Multimedia and Immersive Environments
Optics in Digital Systems
Physical Systems for Information Processing
Photonics Fiber Optics Technology
Integrated Optics
Optical Amplifiers
Optical Communications
Optoelectronic Devices and Nanostructures
Quantum Electronics Laser Science and Engineering
Nonlinear Optics
Quantum Optics
Ultrafast Optical Phenomena
Vision and Color Applications of Visual Science
Clinical Vision

OSA local sections and student chapters are encouraged and supported by the umbrella organization but operate independently. Their activities may include guest speakers, educational outreach, and content from other scientific societies. In January 2007, 32 local sections were affiliated with OSA (23 in the U.S. and 9 non-U.S.); over 100 student chapters were affiliated with OSA (63 from non-U.S. universities and 40 within the U.S.).

OSA Foundation

The OSA Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting programs that:

  • Advance youth science education
  • Support optics and photonics education in developing nations
  • Provide education and resources to underserved populations
  • Support the OSA's Awards and Honors program

Since its establishment in 2002, the Foundation has provided support to more than 70 programs. Funded activities include: student travel grants, special resources for university students studying optics, and classroom and extracurricular youth science education programs.

See also


External links

OSA publications sites

OSA conferences and exhibitions sites

OSA education sites

  • Optics Education Directory – A searchable international directory of degree programs in optics. Cosponsored by OSA and SPIE.
  • Optics for Kids – Introduction to optics with games and experiments for children; includes a guide for parents and teachers. See link on homepage to Spanish version.
  • Optics for Teens – Introduction to optics with lab experiments, everyday optics, career ideas, and resources for teenagers; includes a guide for parents and teachers.
  • Hands on Optics
  • OSA Foundation – Associated charitable organization that promotes optics education.

OSA career services site

Affiliated Organizations

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