Impressions from the Photonics Days 2019

#whatsnext: The traditional annual event of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF – the Photonics Days Jena – took place from September 17 to 19, 2019 and focused on the young scientists. Together with the photonics graduate school Max Planck School of Photonics, the participants were offered a varied program. In addition to the elevator pitches of the Center of Excellence in Photonics, highlights included the presentation of the Applied Photonics Award for young scientists and the lectures by ZEISS CEO Michael Kaschke and Nobel Prize winner Gérard Mourou.

They tinkered, pitched and networked for three days: This year’s Photonics Days Jena had it all. The annual event of the Fraunhofer IOF was organized in cooperation with the newly established Max Planck School of Photonics as an HR and career event for the first time and primarily addressed students and doctoral students.

Prof. Walter Rosenthal, President of the Friedrich Schiller University, officially welcomed the first class of students of the Max Planck School of Photonics as well as the guests of the Photonics Days 2019 at the Campus Ernst-Abbe-Platz in Jena. In his welcoming speech, he emphasized the importance of promoting young talent: "Attracting highly qualified specialists is a top priority not only in research and teaching, but also for the economic development of a location. By integrating the Max Planck School of Photonics into the Photonics Days 2019, the Fraunhofer IOF is making an important contribution to the topic of young researchers."

In addition to the makeathon of the Lichtwerkstatt Jena – the Photonics Makerspace of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena – the participants were offered extensive opportunities to clarify questions about their career choices: Which career paths can be taken in photonics? What is important when I apply for jobs in photonics companies? To gain perspectives, participants had ample opportunity to meet representatives of the optics and photonics industry (at a science and industry breakfast and industry speeddates), while they also could gain insights into future trends and requirements in the industry.



Free lecture program: Elevator Pitches and Physics Nobel Prize winner


On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a public lecture series was added to the program. Around 300 visitors streamed into the lecture hall of the Friedrich Schiller University to listen to the keynote speeches by ZEISS CEO Prof. Michael Kaschke and physics Nobel Prize winner Gérard Mourou. The “Elevator Pitches” of the Center of Excellence in Photonics, where young scientists had to convince the audience of their research ideas in 3-minute short lectures, also enjoyed great popularity.

René Lachmann and Benedict Diederich from the Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technologies (IPHT) received the most votes. They presented an approach for developing sophisticated microscope technology, which is otherwise only available in stationary form, as a mobile toolbox. In order for the concept to be imitable – e.g. for educational institutions or laboratory environments – the data of the project is publicly accessible. With their pitch they prevailed against a total of seven competitors and received prize money of 20,000 euros from the funds of the photonics service center.



Award of the junior prize "Applied Photonics Award"


During the festive "Dinner under the Stars", the junior prize of the Fraunhofer IOF - the Applied Photonics Award - was finally awarded at the ZEISS Planetarium Jena by the Thuringian Minister of Economics and Science Wolfgang Tiefensee and member of the jury Dr. Jan Werschnik (Jenoptik AG).   
The institute director of the Fraunhofer IOF, Prof. Andreas Tünnermann, congratulated the prize winners and also appealed to the present guests to always consider the promotion and recruitment of young scientists.

And these are this year's award winners:
Best Bachelor thesis: Patrick Taschner (Leibniz Universität Hannover) »Schnelle Strahlablenkung mittels akustooptischer Deflektion zur Lasermikrobearbeitung« (Fast beam deflection by acousto-optical deflection for laser micromachining)
Best Master thesis: Timo Eckstein (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg) »Measurement and simulation of ultrafast optical phase-controlled 2-coloured coherent electron interference in monolayer graphene«
Best Dissertation: Dr. Silvio Fuchs (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena) »Optische Kohärenztomographie mit extrem ultravioletter Strahlung« (Optical Coherence Tomography with Extremely Ultraviolet Radiation)

The Applied Photonics Award was presented with the kind support of the Association of German Engineers (VDI) and the companies Trumpf, Jenoptik and Active Fiber Systems.