Follow-up to ICALEO 2017

The Laser Institute of America's ICALEO conference was held in Atlanta last week and, as usual, drew very diverse international attendance.

Ron Head Shot Lia 2018 Best

The Laser Institute of America's ICALEO conference was held in Atlanta last week and, as usual, drew very diverse international attendance.

This conference is primarily one revolving around technical papers that are presented in sessions organized into categories such as Aluminum Welding, Microprocessing of Transparent Materials, and Li-ion Batteries. The one unfortunate thing is that there are frequently 3-4 sessions being held at one time, so it is not possible to attend every talk. I tend to go to the plenary sessions, the business session, and the microprocessing sessions. Industrial Laser Solutions editor-in-chief David Belforte will be commenting on these sessions also.

It is apparent from the schedule that ultrashort-pulse (USP) lasers are playing a major role in materials processing. A large number of papers were on processing of glass using USP lasers, especially femtosecond lasers. In fact, one of the talks in the opening plenary session (OP102) by Dr. Henry Kapteyn from KMLabs was dedicated to developing the technology, using femtosecond lasers, to implement tabletop x-ray sources. A sub-plenary talk by Stefan Nolte, Ultra Short Laser Processing of Glass – from Cutting to Welding" (M103), was given in the afternoon and set the stage for a number of papers dedicated to femtosecond laser processing, but particularly to femtosecond processing of glass. I am giving a webcast on Wednesday, November 1st, in which I will be talking about a lot more details related to the many excellent papers I attended and also to some applications not presented at ICALEO. There is still time to register for this Industrial Laser Solutions-sponsored event here:

I would like to mention a couple of things on the personal side. First, the search for an Executive Director for LIA is complete. Dr. Nathan Quick is the new Director as of last Monday, announced the first day of the conference. I, for one, am very pleased by this appointment, as Dr. Quick is well known to the LIA—having served on the Board and on the Executive Committee—and he is also local to the Orlando area. He is known in the industry, and highly regarded and respected. Congratulations to the LIA and to Dr. Quick, and I look forward to a long relationship.

Next, my Beer's Law band colleague, Dr. Henrikki Pantsar, is the incoming Secretary of the LIA—a great scientist, a great guy, and a great bass player! The second Peter M. Baker Leadership Award was presented to Professor Reinhart Poprawe, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT), for extraordinary commitment to the international laser industry. Professor Poprawe's activities are known and celebrated in Europe, Asia, the U.S., and I am sure all over the rest of the world!

Finally, David Belforte celebrated his 85th birthday last week in Orlando with his wife and long-time editorial assistant, Virginia. Dave is known as the "Father of Sheet Metal Cutting" in China, as well as being a past LIA President, Schawlow award winner, heck of a nice guy, original Beer's Law drummer, and—we think—the oldest active LIA member! Finally, congratulations to the LIA staff for pulling this together in spite of Hurricane damage in FL and in spite of not having a new Executive Director on Board. The food was especially good (and plentiful!) this year!

Next year, the event will be held in the backyard of the LIA—Orlando, FL—and we will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of LIA, so there should be lots of good surprises.

I am always interested in hearing your thoughts concerning laser micromachining, the laser industry, comments on entrepreneurial endeavors, etc. AND … we are always looking for fresh, publishable material. Please feel free to contact me at

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