LASER WORLD OF PHOTONICS PREVIEW: A global trade fair and technical congress: LASER World of Photonics

The place to be in May is Munich, where the industry’s vendors, institutes, and visitors gather to network, see new products and solutions, and learn about the latest trends in photonics technologies and applications.

LASER World of Photonics, held biennially, ranks as one of the biggest and most important shows in the global photonics industry. This year the trade fair, organized by Messe München International, will celebrate its 40th anniversary in Munich at the fairgrounds from May 13–16. The World of Photonics Congress, the largest European technical and scientific conference on photonics, is held concurrently from May 12–16.

The Messe Munich fairground forms the setting for LASER World of Photonics 2013
The Messe Munich fairground forms the setting for LASER World of Photonics 2013.

Started in 1973 as the world’s first trade fair for the laser, it has grown to an event that now includes optical technologies and the entire range of photonics. (Note: For a fascinating interview on the history of LASER with the first chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board, Wilhelm Waidelich, visit http://bit.ly/10FPEFt.)

In 2013, exhibition director Katja Stolle says she expects about 28,000 visitors and 1100 exhibitors, with more than 50% of those international. The exhibition area is 42,000 m2 in four large exhibition halls (see Fig. 1). The exhibits will focus on lasers and laser systems for manufacturing, lighting and energy, imaging, optical measurement, and biophotonics and medical technology. The organizers feel strongly that the key to the success of the show is presenting solutions for meeting the challenges that face modern society in sectors such as energy, healthcare, and manufacturing.

 Four large exhibition halls hold the seven focus sectors of the LASER World of Photonics exhibit. The ICM is home to the World of Photonics Congress
FIGURE 1. Four large exhibition halls hold the seven focus sectors of the LASER World of Photonics exhibit. The ICM is home to the World of Photonics Congress.

The technical and scientific Congress is expected to attract about 5000 participants, and comprises five meetings (see Fig. 2):

CLEO/Europe-EQEC, organized by the European Physical Society and sponsored by its Quantum Electronics and Optics Division, OSA, and IEEE Photonics Society.

Optofluidics, Manufacturing of Optical Components, and Advanced Optomechanical Engineering, organized by the European Optical Society.

LiM—Lasers in Manufacturing (LiM), organized by the Scientific Laser Society (WLT).

European Conference on Biomedical Optics (ECBO), organized by the OSA and SPIE. In conjunction with ECBO, the annual conference of the Head and Neck Optical Diagnostics Society (HNODS) will also be held.

Optical Metrology, organized by SPIE Europe.

Additional information on the Congress can be found at www.photonics-congress.com.

World of Photonics Congress comprises five international conferences
FIGURE 2. World of Photonics Congress comprises five international conferences.

An application focus
In addition to the Congress, forums on the exhibition floor will be the scene of numerous Application Panels. The panels examine critical trends such as energy storage, resource-friendly manufacturing, and electromobility, and are divided into three general topic areas: Biophotonics and Medical Engineering, Lasers and Laser Systems for Production Engineering, and Optical Technologies. The full list of Application Panels may be accessed at http://bit.ly/17p2hZf.

Of the 16 Application Panels, six pertain to illumination and energy, with topics ranging from photovoltaics to a report about modern solid-state light sources and energy-efficient lighting systems.

The Application Panel on Photovoltaics and Lasers deals with the significance of laser technology for more efficient and less expensive processes for manufacturing solar cells. In another panel, organic and printed electronics will be introduced that make it possible to make new, thin, slightly flexible, and robust electronics that could pave the way for a number of new applications. Among other things, they would make it possible to manufacture flexible solar cells, printed batteries, and luminous wallpaper.

A panel titled Photons in Production—Building Blocks for E-Mobility will introduce solution approaches that use laser radiation for efficient manufacturing processes in battery production. In the Application Panels on micro-engineering laser applications and solid-state light sources, experts will discuss the importance of efficient LED and OLED concepts.

“The products on the market for manufacturing—at least those in the picosecond-laser range—are now suitable for industrial use and are being used in three-shift manufacturing,” explains Christof Siebert, senior manager for microprocessing applications at Trumpf Laser und Systemtechnik. He is chairing a panel called Latest Applications for Shortpulse Laser Systems. Ultrafast lasers are also an important aspect of the exhibit for in the Lasers and Laser Systems for Production Engineering section (Halls C1 and C2) and a topic of discussion at the Lasers in Manufacturing 2013 (LIM) conference within the World of Photonics Congress.

Regarding lasers for additive or generative manufacturing, Wilhelm Meiners from the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) says, “Generative manufacturing makes it possible to produce geometries of almost unlimited complexity, including those with internal structures. This makes it possible to design and optimize components for specific functions without having to worry about the restrictions associated with conventional manufacturing techniques.” He and Maximilian Meixlsperger from the BMW Group are chairing an Application Panel on this topic.

There will also be a demonstration that shows the capabilities that the latest LED and OLED modules have for energy-saving and resource-efficient lighting. And the Application Panel on high-performance laser diodes and VCSELs will explore the cost-effective application potential of high-performance laser diodes.

Finally, there are four panel sessions looking at biophotonics: Laser Applications and Optical Diagnostics in Ophthalmology, Unmet Needs in Biophotonics Technology, Lasers for Analysis and Imaging in Biophotonics, and Visions for Future Diagnostics—Endoscopy. The Lasers in Analysis and Imaging will be led by Matthias Schulze, marketing director at Coherent, who will discuss new developments in ophthalmology, including ultrafast lasers used in cataract treatment. According to Schulze, ultrafast lasers make it possible to better prepare the eye for the use of a premium intraocular lens because targeted cuts can be used to correct astigmatism.

“Combined with the Application Panels in the exhibition forums, the World of Photonics Congress is one of the largest and most significant forums in the world for the scientific and technical exchange in the field of photonics,” according to Peter Loosen, chairman of the Steering Committee for the World of Photonics Congress and deputy director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology. “Participants present and discuss topics that pertain to fundamental physics and approaches to implementation in engineering science, which ultimately can be seen at the fair in the form of realized products and techniques.”

Wilhelm Kaenders, chairman of the Technical Advisory Board for LASER World of Photonics and CEO of Toptica Photonics, adds, “Photonics has justifiably—and in the meantime even politically—been identified as one of the key technologies for the current century. On all continents, optical tools contribute considerably to helping us deal with the great challenges of our time. Photonics provides solutions in a wide variety of sectors such as power engineering, mobility, information and communication, safety technology, and healthcare. As a leading international gathering for the photonics community, together with the World of Photonics Congress, LASER World of Photonics provides important momentum for the ongoing global growth of this industry.”

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