The Deutsche Zukunftspreis (German Future Prize) is awarded for innovative projects that are based on scientific excellence and have great economic potential. The prize has been presented annually since 1997 and is endowed with EUR 250,000. The theme of the 2013 prize is light. The winning team was chosen from a shortlist of three teams. The award was presented to Dr. Jens König, Professor Stefan Nolte, and Dr. Dirk Sutter by German President Joachim Gauck at a special award ceremony in Berlin on December 4.
The team was honored for their project Ultrafast lasers for industrial mass production – manufacturing with light flashes, which involved the development of tools based on lasers that emit light in the form of ultra-short and energetic pulses. This research paves the way towards a fast, reliable, and very precise method to cut and drill various materials. The technology is already used for the production of many different high-tech products.
Stefan Nolte, University of Jena, Germany, studied the fundamental physical effects, thus providing the knowledge base for the use of ultra-short laser pulses in the precision drilling and cutting of materials. Dirk Sutter and his team, TRUMPF Laser GmbH & Co. KG, Schramberg, Germany, developed the first and, to date, the most powerful industrial ultra-short pulse laser. Jens König and his team, Bosch, Schwieberdingen, Germany, explored the exact requirements and specifications of the laser so that all aspects of material processing were satisfied. In addition, Bosch designed the technology for the reliable industrial production of many products, for example, injectors for engines with extremely fine spray holes.
Stefan Nolte obtained his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Hannover, Germany, in 1999. Currently he is a professor at the Institute of Applied Physics at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena and at the Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Optics and Precision Mechanics, Jena.
Dirk Sutter studied physics at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and the University of Massachusetts, USA, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics, Freiburg, Germany. He obtained his Ph.D. from ETH Zurich, Switzerland, for research on the production of the shortest laser pulses. From 2000 he worked in the advance development of Coherent, Santa Clara, CA, USA. In 2002, he returned to Germany, to take over the leadership of the Ultrashort Pulse Research at TRUMPF laser in Schramberg. He is a member of the German Physical Society (DPG).
Jens König is a group leader for laser material processing and joining technology in the Research and Preliminary Development division of Robert Bosch GmbH, Schwieberdingen, Germany.
- Ultrafast disk technology enables next generation micromachining laser sources,
Oliver H. Heckl, Sascha Weiler, Severin Luzius, Ivo Zawischa, Dirk H. Sutter,
Proc. SPIE, 2013, 8603.
- Time-resolved study of back side ablated molybdenum thin films by ultrashort laser pulses,
D. Bartl, A. Michalowski, M. Hafner, A. Letsch, S. Nolte, A. Tünnermann,
Appl. Phys. A: Mater. Sci. Process. 2013, 110, 227–233.
- Ultrashort high repetition rate exposure of dielectric materials: laser bonding of glasses analyzed by micro-Raman spectroscopy,
S. Richter, F. Zimmermann, S. Doering, A. Tünnermann, S. Nolte,
Appl. Phys. A: Mater. Sci. Process. 2013, 110 , 9–15.