World’s Laser Industry Meets for the Premier Conference in Atlanta
The 34th International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics (ICALEO®) took place Oct. 18–22 at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel in Georgia. This year the conference had over 400 attendees from 22 different countries and 200 presentations and posters highlighting the latest breakthroughs in laser research and development. ICALEO provided those that attended the opportunity to learn about advances in laser material processes and networking opportunities with scientists, engineers and researchers from across the globe. It is no surprise that ICALEO is the most important laser materials processing conference in the world.
Silke Pflueger, general manager of DirectPhotonics, Inc., and the current serving ICALEO Congress General Chair, led both the opening and closing plenaries of ICALEO. In the opening plenary, Pflueger pointed out that for the first time in ICALEO’s history an all-women panel of presenters were present to introduce the newest addition to the ICALEO program — biomedical applications of lasers. The new informative session on this laser technology focused on what lasers are currently doing to better our health and the potential benefits that can be associated with their use in the future. Keynote Speaker Dr. Ellen Townes-Anderson, one of four daughters of laser pioneer and Nobel Prize Winner Professor Charles Townes, led the way with her research involving the use of laser tweezers. “The Plenary Session consisted of talks new to attendees, technically challenging, interesting, and thought-provoking” said Industrial Laser Solutions Chief Editor and LIA Past President David Belforte.
The ICALEO Laser Microprocessing Conference (LMF) presentations emphasized important topics such as applications in microelectronics and photovoltaic material processing, as well as areas of surface engineering and laser processing of substrate and cover materials such as glass and sapphire. Some of the notable presentations that took place during this conference were: The Magic of Nonlinear Laser Processing: Shaping Multi-Functional Lab-in-Fiber by Peter Herman; Use of Diffractive Optic for High Power Laser Cutting by Paul Hilton; and High Average Power, High Energy Fiber Delivery and Temporal Compression of Ultrafast Pulses by Eric Mottay.
ICALEO’s Laser Materials Processing (LMP) Conference highlighted powerful presentations on developing technologies that expand the boundaries of laser processing with stronger lasers, innovative hybrid processes, and remarkable laser applications. A large portion of this conference focused on welding and surface modification including cladding and coating. Laser assisted machining, or 3D printing, was also represented at the conference. Contributors to the LMP conference traveled from 22 countries and 4 continents to attend.
Some of the LMP Conference presentations highpoints were: The Research Status and Development of Laser Shock Peening by Wenwu Zhang; Inline Monitoring of Laser Processing – New Industrial Results with the Low Coherence Interferometry Sensor Approach by Markus Kogel-Hollacher; and Experimental Investigation of Direct Diamond Laser Cladding in Combination with High Speed Camera Based Process Monitoring by Christian Scheitler.
The Nanomanufacturing Conference of ICALEO presented ideas and 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.
Some of the notable presentations at the ICALEO Nanomanufacturing Conference were: Laser Processing for Production of Lithium-Ion Batteries by Wilhelm Pfleging;Ultrafast Laser Hybrid Fabricating of Macro-Micro-Nano-Nanowire Multi-Scale Structures for Near Perfect Infrared Antireflection by Minlin Zhong; and Controlled Growth of Mono- and Few-Layer 2D Metal Calcogenides from Laser Synthesized Nanoparticles by Masoud Mahjouri-Samani.
The 34th ICALEO annual conference was just as fun as it was informative for attendees. Numerous networking events took place throughout the four-day conference where attendees caught up with old colleagues and established meaningful new business connections. According to University of Chester’s Dr. David Waugh, “ICALEO is an excellent, enriched environment that provides attendees with the opportunity to network with overseas academics and industrialists, enabling them to meet face-to-face. This is of significant importance as, on many occasions, collaborators meet at ICALEO for the first time following research collaboration, during which they used only teleconferencing and email. As a direct result of this, ICALEO vitally enables attendees to put a face to a name.”
ICALEO kicked off with a ‘Welcome Celebration’ at the Sheraton that brought together old and new attendees for a festive night of food, drinks and entertainment. Music was provided by the Beer’s Law band, and featured Ron Schaeffer and Henrikki Pantsar. The evening included a raffle with desirable door prizes.
LIA President Robert Thomas hosted the 34th annual ICALEO President’s Reception, a memorable night of mingling and socializing with colleagues and industry professionals in a relaxed setting with food and drinks. Members of the LIA Executive Committee, Board of Directors and ICALEO Congress joined in on the evening. Congress General Chair Silke Pflueger enjoyed chatting with the new and returning attendees, as well as Conference Chairs Christoph Leyens, Michelle Stock, Yongfeng Lu and Business Panel Co-Chairs Bo Gu and Klaus Löffler.
A number of sponsors and vendors participated in the Laser Industry Vendor Reception & Tabletop Display. After a long day of technical sessions, conference attendees enjoyed delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks while discussing ideas, equipment and applications in the laid back atmosphere. Directed Light President Neil Ball was among those in attendance. “…for me to be in the [laser] industry and continue to evolve our company, meeting at ICALEO is essential to that. You’re meeting the people who are making the decisions in the industry…” noted Ball.
A list of honorable sponsors that took part in the Laser Industry Vendor Reception & Tabletop Display include: Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, Innovative Optics, Inc., IPG Photonics Corporation, Laserline Inc., Light Conversion Ltd., Lumentum, Spectra-Physics, SPI Lasers and TRUMPF Inc.
The Business Forum consisted of speakers that gave interesting perspectives into the founding, working, operating and the selling of a small business. “For a conference that is primarily ‘academic,’ this Business Forum is a very nice complement, as there are many small business owners/entrepreneurs and future small business owners/entrepreneurs in attendance” said Ron Schaeffer, CEO of PhotoMachining.
The LIA Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon featured the prestigious Arthur L. Schawlow Award presentation which recognizes an individual’s career-long record of laser industry innovation. The Schawlow Award is presented annually to someone who has contributed to basic and applied research in laser science and engineering that lead to a fundamental understanding of laser materials interaction and/or transfer of laser technology for increased application in industry, medicine and everyday life.
This year, LIA awarded the 2015 Schawlow Award to EdgeWave founder Dr. Keming Du. He has over 70 patents or patent applications, and more than 100 publications over his three decade career. Du was responsible for the development of diode and solid-state lasers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology from 1985 to 2001. Soon after that, Du created EdgeWave to offer innovative solutions in compact diode-pumped solid-state lasers for a variety of applications.
Among Du’s chief achievements are advances in: Ultra-high power CO2 lasers with powers beyond 30 kW and diffraction limited beam quality; Beam shaping and fiber coupling of high-power diode lasers like step mirrors and optical stacking; Micro glass processing via forward ablation; InnoSlablasers and InnoSlab amplification; Industrialization of unique short-pulse and ultra-short pulse lasers based on InnoSlab technology.
“The beam shaping technology and fiber coupling technology is adapted in most laser sources based on high-power diode lasers,” Du explained. “The micro glass processing is used in the glass industry and display industry. Short-pulse and ultra-short pulse lasers are highly reliable, compact and resource efficient. All those will continuously benefit to our society.”
Du received his award at the ICALEO annual Awards Luncheon on Oct. 21 and followed it with a fascinating presentation on Micro Processing of Macro Parts (MP2) With Ultra-Short Pulse Lasers.
In 1982, LIA presented the first award to Schawlow, who won the Nobel Prize in physics a year earlier. He was a co-recipient of the maser patent in 1960 with inventor of the laser, Charles Townes.
Pflueger closed out the conference with an enlightening closing plenary session discussing two types of revolutionary lasers — one at a wavelength that has not yet been made available as an industrial laser, and the other, a game-changing diode laser. The closing plenary also discussed lasers that are built for applications other than cutting, welding and microstructure. These lasers are equally as important and impact the way we view the world.