Orlando, FL - With a new general chairman and the first female recipient of the Arthur L. Schawlow award, the 32nd International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics (ICALEO) on Oct. 6 to 10 in Miami, FL, promises to have a strong and valuable program.
Stefan Kaierle, who for the past two years has served as chair of the Laser Materials Processing Conference, takes the helm of the ICALEO from the Laser Institute of America (LIA) this year.
"My main concern was, as always, to put together a strong program of high interest for many participants," said Kaierle, head of the materials and processes department for Laser Zentrum Hannover. "We needed to have presentations and papers on the latest results and emerging applications. A good mixture from macro via micro to nano is important for ICALEO as we want to cover the whole range of laser manufacturing applications."
On Oct. 7, the first plenary talks focus on Photonic Applications in All Dimensions and get under way at 9 am. Ramesh Raskar of the MIT Media Lab will address Femto-Photography: Trillion Frames per Second Imaging to See Around Corners, while Boris Chichkov of Laser Zentrum Hannover will speak to Laser-Based Nanotechnologies for Photonics and Biomedicine and Huaming Wang of the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics details Laser Additive Manufacturing for High Performance Large and Complex Metallic Structural Components: Challenges and Progresses.
"All our three (opening) plenary speakers have a high reputation in their domains," Kaierle noted. "The diversity of the talks owes to the fact that we want to address issues of interest for all attendees. While we are listening to different areas, we may have the opportunity to learn new things we even didn't think about and could be possible to transfer into our own research and development work. It is always fruitful to hear about different domains in the laser field a for example, about short-pulsed lasers, which are still rather hard to find in industrial applications but might become a tool for large-scale applications in the near future."
ICALEO 2013 will conclude on Oct. 10 with a six-speaker plenary session, the theme of which is Digital Photonic Production Across All Scales. Beginning at 1:30 pm, the slate of invited experts will update attendees on topics like laser nano component buildup, additive manufacturing in micro scale, and AM in aerospace and other applications.
"Laser-based additive manufacturing represents one of the biggest potentials of all laser applications," Kaierle asserted. "We can see that, for example, in the repair of turbine blades for aero engines or in the repair and manufacture of individual (metallic) parts in many industries, like dentistry or automotive. The progress of these applications is amazing. That makes me proud and happy to be part of this community."
Between the opening and closing plenary sessions are the traditional Laser Materials Processing, Laser Microprocessing, and Nanomanufacturing Conferences. Silke Pflueger of DirectPhotonics takes a new role, switching from leading the Laser Solutions Short Courses to overseeing the materials processing sessions. Kerstin Kowalick of Ruhr University Bochum takes over the short courses.
Yongfeng Lu of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Xianfan Xu of Purdue once again spearhead the nanomanufacturing program.
Henrikki Pantsar of Cencorp retains leadership of the microprocessing track. Pantsar will be attending his 13th consecutive ICALEO. He has chaired microprocessing sessions since 2007 and is in his third year heading up the full microfabrication program.
"I am looking forward to the micro and nano joint plenary session with two invited presentations on additive manufacturing," Pantsar said. "Novel optics and laser sources always give a good indication on what are the hot topics in future equipment development and surface engineering has been a popular topic for many years."
That joint session is slated for Oct. 7 at 1:30 pm and features presentations by Konrad Wisenbach of Fraunhofer ILT (Micro Scale Laser Based Additive Manufacturing for Metals) and Philippe Delaporte of Aix-Marseille Universite (Laser Printing for Micro and Nanomanufacturing).
In chairing the short courses session for the first time, Kowalick had a tall order. Her "main motivation was to cover a broad spectrum of today's laser topics from more traditional applications such as macro welding, which has not lost any of its relevance, to leading-edge technologies," she said. "The selection of topics was driven by the idea to provide insight not only into laser and process technology but also system technology, in particular motion systems and laser beam shaping."
The short courses, held all day Sunday before the welcome reception, last about 50 minutes each.
Business tips from experts
This year's Business Forum and Panel Discussion, to be chaired on Tuesday by LIA President Klaus Loeffler of Trumpf, will instruct attendees on How to Turn Your Laser Idea into a Sustainable Business. He has chosen five businesses: Begneaud Manufacturing, Joining Technologies, Innovative Laser Technology, Ad Value Photonics, and BOS Photonics to share real-world challenges and successes. The panel's experience runs from running a laser-based sheet metal job shop to application R&D, systems for manufacturing medical devices, developing lasers and components like 2 micron laser resonators, and business dealings in China.
"The main application with lasers is in 2D flat sheet cutting," Loeffler said. "This market is close to being saturated. The fabrication companies need to move into 3D laser work like tube or formed parts and need to move into laser welding of sheet metal structures. Dollar-wise, this will be one of the largest and steady growth areas for lasers. Due to our life expectancy increasing, the global need for medical implants and others will grow a and with it laser demand. The real new kid on the block, ultrashort pulse lasers in different wavelengths, will mean the biggest change to engineering, products and our lives."
A Schawlow first
Prof. Dr. Ursula Keller, this year's recipient of the Arthur L. Schawlow Award, is the first woman to win the honor. Keller, a pioneer in ultrafast laser research, will be presented with the award during Wednesday's Awards luncheon.
"My fundamental mission is to explore and push the frontiers in ultrafast science and technology, using interdisciplinary understanding of the physics of lasers, semiconductors and measurement technologies," Keller said of her work. "One of my current focuses is on high average power ultrafast lasers, where we push the performance frontier with SESAM mode-locked thin-disk lasers into the multi-100 W average output power regime."
For the 32nd year, LIA's industry-leading conference will bring together top minds from many areas of laser research, bridging the gap between traditional and cutting-edge practices. That's certainly clear in Pflueger's Materials Processing Conference, during which about 40 percent of the presentations will focus on welding, 40 percent on additive manufacturing and 20 percent on other realms.