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  • Laser Munich Brings Science and Industry Together

EuroPhotonics
May 2011
Laura Marshall, Managing Editor, laura.marshall@photonics.com

There is a lot of variety in photonics, and the Laser World of Photonics trade fair and World of Photonics Congress, to be held concurrently from May 23 to 26 at New Munich Trade Fair Centre, will cover the full spectrum of technologies. Industry and science experts will present the latest advances and applications, demonstrating key enabling technologies from all sectors.

Laser Munich has been held every other year since 1973; the 2009 show attracted 1034 exhibitors and 25,365 visitors. Its sister event, Laser World of Photonics China, takes place in Shanghai each March.

“Due to the close connection between industry and research at an international level, and the fact that Laser World of Photonics covers the entire spectrum of optical technologies from components and systems through to application areas, we offer unique advantages,” said Claudia Sixl, project group leader for Laser World of Photonics at Messe München. “These advantages have become indispensable in a tough competitive environment, with which our customers are now faced.”


Laser World of Photonics will be held this month at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre. Photonics Media photo by Melinda Rose.


Traditionally, the focus of Laser Munich has been lasers and laser systems for manufacturing, attracting visitors from industries ranging from automobile manufacturing to mechanical engineering, from microproduction to toolmaking, from the aerospace industry to the photovoltaics industry, and from the electronics industry and beyond.

Lasers for manufacturing will still be a large part of the trade fair and will be joined by focus areas in green photonics, biophotonics and the life sciences, and security and defense.

Manufacturing

Conventional lasers will be on display this year as will new ultrashort picosecond and femtosecond pulsed lasers. The performance and the robust design of these lasers are broadening industry applications, from cutting wafers and composite fiber materials to microstructuring of surfaces and precise drilling. Picosecond lasers also are used in the printing industry to produce print cylinders, in toolmaking and in glass processing to produce touch displays.

“Ultrashort-pulsed lasers have the potential to replace traditional production processes for cutting, drilling and material removing in many areas,” said Dr. Sascha Weiler, micromachining product manager at Trumpf Laser- und Systemtechnik GmbH of Ditzengen, Germany. “However, they also permit entirely new applications which have not been conceivable to date. Ultrashort-pulsed lasers are very efficient because the energy has an effect in exactly the place where it should, without heat or any other influences on the surrounding area. The process is therefore especially suitable for fine machining operations and sensitive materials.”

Next-generation ultrashort femtosecond pulsed lasers are now reaching market maturity. Beam output power up to 10 W is making possible applications such as exact microstructuring and nanostructuring of thin-film solar cells. The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF) of Jena, Germany, will demonstrate a femtosecond laser with an average output of 830 W and discuss its application to materials processing, and many other companies and institutions will offer insights into their picosecond and femtosecond lasers.

A special show called “Photons in Production,” presented jointly by Bayerisches Laserzentrum GmbH of Erlangen and by the Institute for Machine Tools and Industrial Management of the Technical University of Munich, will showcase practical applications of photonics in manufacturing; Green Solutions will be another part of this show and will feature manufacturing processes for modern power sources and energy-storage devices. Other topics will include the newest laser applications in automobile manufacturing and microtechnical applications in electronics.

A live demonstration will show how a pulsed beam source can be used in laser welding of dissimilar materials; for example, in interconnecting battery cells to make modern battery packs for electric vehicles. Another live demonstration will show laser-assisted milling, in which a laser beam heats the workpiece at the milling point, making material removal easier, reducing milling tool wear and tear, and prolonging service life.

The Lasers in Manufacturing Conference, part of the World of Photonics Congress technical program, will examine nano-, micro- and macro-process engineering, process optimization and system technology. Practical talks called “Production Optimization” will build bridges across the fields of industry, research and science, presenting the latest techniques for lightweight construction and describing new metal and plastic processing methods.



W
ith its focus on applications, the trade fair aims to bring industry and science together. Courtesy of Messe München GmbH.

The laser portion of the trade fair will be rounded out by an overview of the industrial laser technology markets in the 10th International Laser Marketplace. This one-day seminar will address the global laser marketplace and major regional markets and will feature the viewpoints of a range of international experts on markets, trends, new applications and emerging technologies. More than 300 visitors participated in the Lasers in Manufacturing conference in 2009.

Security and defense

Lasers, sensors, imaging, optics and optomechanics are so important to security products and developments – from terahertz technology to biometric techniques, from thermal imaging cameras to night-vision equipment and warning systems – and these will be on display at Laser Munich, along with the components and processes that enable them. This year, for the first time, security and defense applications will be presented at the trade fair as a separate focus topic, in recognition of the sector’s ongoing expansion.

“The ‘asymmetric’ threat, which has been noticeable for many years, is forcing security and defense firms to examine new scenarios,” said Johannes Dumanski of security and space travel photonics component manufacturer Qioptiq Photonics GmbH & Co. KG in Göttingen, Germany. “This is necessary both in preventive and reactive terms. In order to cope more easily with the tasks, greater use is being made of optical products and technologies both within the meaning of cross-sectional improvement of equipment standards and in regard to technical specialization.”

In the exhibition, manufacturers of civil and military security systems – plus raw materials suppliers, and systems and plant manufacturers – will show applications used for monitoring and recognizing objects and people, detecting hazardous substances or optimizing production processes. New products this year will include SWIR (short-wave infrared) cameras as well as the latest night-vision and thermal imaging devices.

“The new laser night sight brighteners in Laser Class 1 give our police officers much more security during operations at night,” said David Heckner of Laserluchs GmbH of Koblenz, Germany. “Based on the high wavelength of around 1000 nm, the laser beam is completely invisible to the normal observer. However, it illuminates a cone with a diameter of 26 meters for clear recognition at a distance of 1000 meters.”

Fiber optic sensor systems for optical and photoacoustic motion detectors – as well as the laser used in those systems – also will be highlighted. “The present and future extent of these security-related markets will produce additional growth potential for our industrial fiber laser products in the sensing sector,” said Jakob Skov, managing director of NKT Photonics A/S of Birkerød, Denmark.

Green photonics

Topics in the green sector will include photonics for energy and the environment, from photovoltaics to lighting, and from the use of renewable energy sources to increasing energy efficiency and environmental protection.

Innovative laser manufacturing methods for photovoltaics are on the agenda. Laser technology has been incorporated into processes such as materials removal, fusion, soldering, welding and drilling, and lasers have become indispensable tools for thin-film solar cell manufacturing.

As with security and lasers in manufacturing, green photonics will be a large focus of the exhibition; companies and research institutes will complement the exhibition by offering detailed information on production and machining methods and by presenting new findings from applied research.

Biophotonics

Another important focus topic will be biophotonics and life sciences. A large number of innovations in medicine and life sciences would be impossible without optical technologies. During the trade fair, research institutes and companies will present the new applications, methods and processes in biophotonics. The Biophotonics Forum and the European Conferences on Biomedical Optics (ECBO) also will show current achievements and future possibilities.

World of Photonics Congress

The World of Photonics Congress, organized with the cooperation of global photonics organizations, will begin May 22, a day ahead of the trade fair. The World of Photonics Congress conferences include CLEO/Europe-EQEC, organized by the European Physical Society (EPS); Optofluidics and Manufacturing of Optical Components, organized by the European Optical Society (EOS); Lasers in Manufacturing, organized by the Scientific Laser Society (WLT); European Conference on Biomedical Optics, organized by SPIE and the Optical Society of America; Optical Metrology, organized by SPIE Europe; and the Application Panels, forums on practical applications of lasers and photonics, organized by Messe München.

The Application Panels will consist of practice-oriented user presentations in the exhibition halls on the latest topics, challenges and solutions in laser manufacturing. In 2009, some 1290 participants attended the application-oriented lecture series. Sample topics this year include lasers for photovoltaics, rapid manufacturing, and use of high-brilliance beam sources.

Other associated events will be the Talking Trends photonics forums, featuring exhibitor presentations and application panels on biophotonics, optical technologies and lasers for production engineering; the CEO Roundtable, a panel discussion with company leaders; an exhibit offering an overview of new and innovative companies from Germany; and a career center, at which Messe München and the wirth + partner Consulting Group will provide free coaching sessions as well as information about concrete job, training and apprenticeship openings.



Application Panels


Lasers and Laser Systems for Production Engineering

• Panel: Energy & Lightweight Construction: Laser Enables Productivity & Quality - Chairmen: Dipl.-Ing. Rüdiger Daub, the Institute for Machine Tools and Industrial Management of the Technical University of Munich, and Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Florian Albert, Bayerisches Laserzentrum GmbH.

• Panel: Photovoltaics and Lasers - Chairmen: Dr. Ulrich Hefter, Rofin-Sinar Laser GmbH, and Dr.-Ing. Arnold Gillner, Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology.

• Panel: Latest Laser Applications in Automotive Industry - Chairmen: Dr. Rüdiger Brockmann, Trumpf Laser- und Systemtechnik GmbH, and Dipl.-Ing. Michael Ruther, Daimler AG.

• Panel: Laser Applications in Microelectronics - Chairmen: Dr. Dietmar Kracht, Laser Zentrum Hannover, and Dipl.-Ing. Rainer Pätzel, Coherent GmbH.

• Panel: Advanced Applications of High-Brightness and Ultra-Short Pulsed Laser Systems - Chairmen: Dr. Sascha Weiler and Christof Siebert, both of Trumpf Laser- und Systemtechnik GmbH.

Optical Technologies


• Panel: Beam Shaping and Delivery: Optical Systems Between Laser Source and Workpiece - Chairmen: Dr. Lutz Aschke, Limo Lissotschenko Mikrooptik GmbH, and Dr. Herbert Gross, Carl Zeiss AG.

• Panel: Solid State Lasers – Novel Developments - Chairmen: Prof. Dr. Andreas Tünnermann, Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF), and Dr. Friedrich Bachmann, Lumera Laser GmbH.

• Panel: Solid State Lighting - Chairmen: Dr. Andreas Bräuer, Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF), and Dr. Berit Wessler, Osram GmbH.

• Panel: Optical Aspects of Soldier Modernisation - Chairmen: David Marks and Dr. Mario Ledig, both of Qioptiq GmbH & Co. KG.

Biophotonics and Life Sciences

• Panel: Lasers for Analytical Bioinstrumentation and Bioimaging - Chairmen: Dr. Arnd Krueger, Newport Spectra-Physics, and Dr. Thomas Renner, Toptica Photonics AG.

• Panel: Biophotonic & Life Sciences, Diagnostic and Therapy in Medicine - Chairmen: Dr. Ronald Sroka, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Laboratoriumsmedizin (DGLM) & LFL, and Dr. med. Carsten M. Philipp, DGLM.

• Panel: Visions for Future Diagnostics: Oncology - Chairmen: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Popp, the Institute of Photonics Technology & Institute of Physical Chemistry, Jena University, and Prof. Dr. Katarina Svanberg, Department of Oncology, Lund University.

• Panel: Visions for Future Diagnostics: Infectious Diseases - Chairmen: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Popp, the Institute of Photonics Technology & Institute of Physical Chemistry, Jena University, and Prof. Dr. Michael Bauer, Clinic for Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena.


GLOSSARY
electronics
That branch of science involved in the study and utilization of the motion, emissions and behaviors of currents of electrical energy flowing through gases, vacuums, semiconductors and conductors, not to be confused with electrics, which deals primarily with the conduction of large currents of electricity through metals.
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