ICALEO 2015: How Lasers are Revolutionizing Our World


By Geoff Giordano

A new focus on biomedical laser applications and continued opportunities for presenters to have their papers peer-reviewed will be among the highlights of the Laser Institute of America’s 34th International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics (ICALEO®), to be held Oct. 18-22 at the Sheraton® Atlanta Hotel in Atlanta, GA.

“With over 200 presentations and posters on the latest in laser research, strengthened by the peer-review process introduced last year, ICALEO will provide another outstanding opportunity to learn about advances in laser material processing,” noted ICALEO 2015 Congress General Chair Silke Pflueger of DirectPhotoincs.

Biomedical applications, “the newest addition to the ICALEO family,” will kick off the scientific proceedings in the opening plenary, as well as being featured in the Microprocessing Conference. “We are hoping to inspire you beyond your daily work, to show you what lasers are already doing for our health, and what they will be able to do for us in the future,” Pflueger explained. “Some of the laser material interaction will look familiar, and the lasers will look familiar. But be prepared to be surprised.”

Likewise, the always-inspiring closing plenaries will diverge from the traditional, Pflueger says: “Two of the talks will touch on lasers that may impact your work in years to come — one at a wavelength that we have not had as an industrial laser, one a new type of diode laser that may revolutionize our world just like broad-area diode lasers did in the past 20 years. We will then hear about lasers that aren’t built to cut or weld or microstructure, but that are built for other applications — applications that help us see the world differently.”

Joining Pflueger as conference chairs are:

  • Laser Materials Processing Conference: Christoph Leyens, Fraunhofer IWS
  • Laser Microprocessing Conference: Michelle Stock, mlstock consulting
  • Nanomanufacturing Conference: Yongfeng Lu, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Business Forum & Panel Discussion: Klaus Loeffler, TRUMPF Laser and Systems Gmbh, and Bo Gu, BOS Photonics

The LMP will feature “presentations that expand the boundaries of laser processing with more powerful lasers, innovative hybrid processes, and laser applications that push the boundaries of what has been done and what can be done.,” Leyens said. “Welding takes up a large share of the conference, followed by surface modification including cladding and coating.” Processes discussed will range from traditional cutting and drilling to laser-assisted machining and 3D printing.

Meanwhile, the Microprocessing Conference “continues to be the place to learn about the latest trends and applications” for precision uses of lasers in material processing, Stock explained. “Highlight topics this year include applications in microelectronics and photovoltaic material processing, along with the growing application areas of surface engineering and laser processing of substrate and cover materials such as sapphire and glass. Of note for 2015, we had many submissions related to metals and polymers, and have created a new session on microprocessing of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer materials.”

Focusing on an even smaller scale, the Nanoprocessing Conference “will highlight research in emerging nanomanufacturing technologies in 3D micro/nanofabrication, laser spectroscopy and metrology, laser synthesis and diagnostics of carbon nanomaterial, epitaxial growth of graphene for optoelectronics, nanolithography, nanoscale thermal imaging, biophotonics, nanostructured surface coating, laser sintering and laser surface texturing,” said Lu. “These studies encompass a variety of applications, including optoelectronics, biology, surface conditioning, sensors and solar cells.”

The business forum, which traditionally provides entrepreneurial insights into the laser industry in general and job shops in particular, will feature five experts addressing some key themes:

  • Status and Development of the Laser Market: Mark Douglass, Longbow Research
  • Successful Start up with Licensed IP: Michelle L. Stock, mlstock consulting
  • Successful Business in Services for Lasers: Neil Ball, Directed Light
  • Successes of Laser Welding in a Job Shop: Gordon McIntosh, Special Welding Services-Trimac Inc.
  • Successful Business Model in Laser Additive Manufacturing/Job Shop: Dan Hayden, Hayden Laser Services

When not immersed in cutting-edge research, attendees at the 34th ICALEO will have the usual networking opportunities at the Sunday night welcome reception, the Monday evening president’s reception, the Tuesday morning running club, the Tuesday evening vendor reception and Wednesday’s awards luncheon featuring the recipient of the Arthur L. Schawlow Award. The vendor reception provides an opportunity to speak with key laser companies, like platinum sponsor IPG Photonics, gold sponsors TRUMPF and SPI Lasers, silver sponsors Laserline, JDSU and Altos Photonics, and bronze sponsors including Spectra-Physics and Fraunhofer ILT.

ICALEO is “critical in the dissemination of information about where lasers are at and what’s the future of lasers,” said LIA Treasurer and past President Stephen Capp, CEO of contract manufacturer Laserage in Waukegan, IL. “I found early on that ICALEO was looking out ahead. You (can) really see what the universities are doing and be able to understand that and say, ‘OK, these are the things I’m going to have to be watching from an industrial standpoint as far as where the laser is going to make sure that my company is on the edge of where we need to be.”

To register for ICALEO 2015, visit www.lia.org/conferences/icaleo/attend