In Gwenn Pallier’s opinion, ‘there is only one big thing coming for all of us, and that is climate change’. The whole industry has huge challenges related to climate change: reducing its carbon footprint by 80% by 2050; reindustrialising western countries, which is the only way to produce cleaner products; and being extremely innovative as so many areas rely on the industry to invent new solutions to reduce their carbon footprint.
The most interesting topic Pallier asserts is e-mobility. With no more combustion-engine cars being sold in Europe by 2035, the challenge is at the same time huge and stimulating. Lasers are everywhere when we look at e-mobility, and there are great challenges to address, from the high-quality battery manufacturing to the stator and the lightweight components welding.
The biggest challenges that Pallier suggests for Cailabs are very similar to other companies: on one side they have to handle the complex geopolitical situation and all its consequences, and on the other side they have to handle the post-COVID-19 constraints, related especially to the zero-COVID-19 policy from China and associated supply chain issues. Cailabs are also facing a recruitment challenge because while they are experiencing strong growth, hiring highly skilled R&D candidates is difficult.
Cailabs are delivering their first ground station and making their first copper and aluminium welds for e-mobility. On a personal note, Pallier has been working under high pressure on the manufacturing of large mirrors for a defence satellite for the French government. She detailed how it was very challenging to make the right decision related to the manufacturing of what is at the end only one component of a much more complex system, and all that with somehow the government checking on a regular basis on how we were making progress. Further to that, Pallier said that ‘a more personal challenge was probably the COVID-19 period’. She was pregnant with her second child, and had relatives that were unwell.
To anyone embarking on a career in photonics research, Pallier says that a career in photonics ‘is the chance to work in an innovative environment and the chance to work on the main issues of tomorrow’. Pallier advises to start by getting into technics. Lastly, Pallier suggests taking time to listen to more experienced people: ‘one can save a lot of time by being humble and just listening’.
For Pallier, her sailing instructor, Anne, gave her the confidence that she could succeed in a career in physics. Also her first project manager, Thierry, taught her how to handle a project from beginning to end. Finally, her current manager, Pu, is a strong support to Pallier in the development of applications.
In the industry, Pallier believes that Cailabs is an up-and-coming ‘rock star’ on multiple applications, such as new space, as well as e-mobility or surface functionalisation. The company has already demonstrated that tuning the light properly can be a game-changer for hot topics, and that they can accelerate when needed to tackle a challenge. Within the organisation, Pallier highly commends Ivan Gusachenko for thinking outside of the box to solve issues, and for having a deep understanding of science globally.
Amplitude were also highlighted by Pallier for their femtosecond lasers and their ability to master various ways of making a femtosecond. ‘There is a lot more coming from their R&D department to solve main industrial issues in the future’.
The best way to connect with Pallier online is through LinkedIn. She will be at the PLI conference (Procédé Laser pour l’Industrie), and you can sign up for the CLP newsletter (Club Laser et Procédés) to know more about the event. In addition, Pallier will be at Photonics West, Laser World of Photonics and ICALEO.
Role: Product Line Manager for Industrial Applications
Based in: Rennes, France
Education: MSc in Optical Engineering from Institut d’Optique, MSc in Fusion Science from Ecole Polytechnique, MSc in Fundamental Physics from Université Paris 11
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