Materials processing is one good reason that ultra-short pulse lasers (aka, ultrafast lasers) are winning awards such as the German Future Prize. They are being integrated into many industrial manufacturing processes and will find many more applications in the future.
For the basics on ultrafast lasers, LFW contributing editor Jeff Hecht has a gift for clarity:
To learn about the different ultrafast lasers that are available and how the manufacturing world is using them, read this informative article by Ron Schaeffer at Photomachining:
For an in-depth explanation of how ultrafast lasers are used to improve fuel efficiency in automobile fuel injectors, here's an article by Michael Mielke at Raydiance:
The work by winners of the German Future Prize is described in this article, which also includes a great video from Robert Bosch on ultra-short pulse lasers used on automobile fuel injectors:
And this year's prestigious Schawlow Award was given for—you guessed it—work on ultrafast lasers: