2008 Innovationspreis winners receive awards

Oct. 3, 2008
October 3, 2008--Winners of the 2008 Berthold Leibinger Foundation Innovation Prize received their awards last month during a standing-room-only ceremony at Trumpf headquarters in Ditzingen, Germany. For 2008, the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung presented a total of four awards and a "special prize."

October 3, 2008--Winners of the 2008 Berthold Leibinger Foundation Innovation Prize received their awards last month during a standing-room-only ceremony at Trumpf headquarters in Ditzingen, Germany. For 2008, the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung presented a total of four awards and a "special prize."

First prize went to a group of Bosch researchers for ultrashort lasers; second prize went to Richard Sandstrom and Bill Partlo from Cymer for advanced microlithography; and two applications tied for third place: Cary Gunn from Luxtera for his work on silicon photonics and the other to researchers from the Technical University Dresden for a laser Doppler distance sensor. An additional "special prize" was awarded to professor Sunney Xie from Harvard University for optical imaging techniques.

Top prize
The top prize emerged from a field of 33 entries submitted by universities, institutions, and industry and was awarded to the Bosch Rexroth AG research team by professor Ursula Keller of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, a recognized expert in the field of ultrashort pulse laser technology. "Ultrashort pulse technology will revolutionize industrial micromachining, she said. "This has opened the door to high-precision manufacturing of even the very smallest components."

The Bosch researchers included Jens Koenig, Thorsten Bauer, Markus Willert, and Ulrich Graf from Robert Bosch GmbH and its subsidiary Bosch Rexroth AG. Franz Fehrenbach, chairman of the Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH, said, "We are proud of the honor that has been granted to our group of researchers and are delighted we can provide our researchers and development engineers with the creative and challenging environment needed to promote such outstanding work."

Rick Sandstrom, co-founder and chief technical advisor at Cymer (San Diego, CA) together with Bill Partlo, Cymer's senior VP and CTO, were recognized for their groundbreaking work developing and advancing the company's deep ultraviolet excimer lasers, which are used for advanced microlithography. The award was presented to them for their development of the excimer laser as a production tool for use in mass production of high-performance semiconductors.

"The Berthold Leibinger Innovationspreis is internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious honors within the laser community; this year's recipients from Cymer--a pioneer in the industry renown for its laser light source development--are a perfect choice and represent excellence in innovation," said Sven Ederer, awards program manager at the Berthold Leibinger Foundation.

Third prize was shared between two groups: Cary Gunn of Luxtera (Carlsbad, CA) and researchers from the Technical University Dresden (Dresden, Germany). Gunn was recognized for his pioneering work in silicon CMOS photonics that enables direct fiber-to-the-chip connectivity.

"Cary Gunn has made outstanding contributions involving the development of Silicon CMOS Photonics. He and Luxtera have done a tremendous job leading the market," said professor Helmut Hügel, laser expert at the Universität Stuttgart and member of the jury. Notes Ederer, the foundation's Innovation Prize looks to recognize those who are ahead of the curve. "Cary's achievement in laser light technology is a strong representation of the type of innovation found within the laser community," he said.

Juergen Czarske, Lars Buettner, and Thorsten Pfister of the Technical University Dresden shared third prize for the development of a laser Doppler distance sensor.

Nobel Laureate professor Theodor Haensch awarded the "special prize" to Xiaoliang Sunney Xie for his valuable contributions to high-resolution optical imaging techniques. Xie is one of the founding fathers of single-molecule biophysical chemistry--specifically single-molecule enzymology. A recent success of the Xie group at Harvard's Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology is a real-time molecule-by-molecule movie of protein production in live cells.

The Innovationspreis of the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung has been awarded every two years since the year 2000 to honor and promote the work of scientists and developers who are making groundbreaking advancements in the use of laser light. It is endowed with one of the largest prize funds of any international innovation award for laser technology. The four prizes awarded this year had a total value of more than $57,700 (40,000 euros).

The panel of judges comprises high-profile figures and experts from science and industry who nominate the best candidates from all the entries and ideas received. The judges include Ursula Keller, Hubertus Christ, Nobel Prize winner Theodor Haensch, Helmut Huegel, Hans-Juergen Quadbeck-Seeger, Hans-Juergen Warnecke, Stephen Anderson, Hans-Peter Berlien, John Stuart Nelson, and Orazio Svelto.

For more information, visit www.leibinger-stiftung.de/2.innovationspreis.html.

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