On 22 October, the Laser Institute of America (LIA) awarded Professor Reinhart Poprawe, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT), the 2014 Arthur L Schawlow Award for his contribution to research in laser technology. According to the judges, Poprawe's services have advanced the application of lasers in the industry, medicine and daily life.
The award ceremony took place at the 33rd International Congress on Applications of Lasers and Electro-Optics (ICALEO) on 22 October in San Diego, California, and was presented by president of LIA, Yongfeng Lu, and its executive director, Peter Baker.
The award is named after Professor Arthur L Schawlow, a founding member of the LIA, and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1981. It recognises individuals who have made distinguished contributions to advancing the laser as well as to transferring this knowledge in science, industry or education.
Professor Poprawe has been in charge of the Fraunhofer ILT since 1996, where his team are worldwide leaders in the field of selective laser melting (SLM); a technique which makes it possible to manufacture complex components cost-effectively in small numbers. The SLM technique was patented by the ILT in 1996 in Europe, and Poprawe is the co-holder of a patent family relating to a technique for the manufacture of moulds.
In 1987, he co-founded the ACLAS, a laser and mechanical engineering company based in Aachen, Germany, and he holds a chair at Aachen’s RWTH technical university. He is a board member of the Working Group eV Laser Technology, a fellow at the LIA, and from 2007 to 2009 was president of the Scientific Society Laser Technology.
During the award ceremony at ICALEO in October, Poprawe also gave a presentation on ‘Digital Photonic Production – The Future of Tailored Light’, where he explained how laser technology, in particular by linking it with the virtual world, will change the future of industrial production.