On February 16, 2024, Dr. Jean Paul Allain, Associate Director of Science for Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) in the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science (SC), embarked on a visit to Fraunhofer ILT in Aachen, Germany as part of his European tour, which also included stops at ITER in France and the Juelich Research Center in Germany.
In his presentation titled "Building Bridges in Fusion Energy Sciences", delivered to an audience of over 150 scientists and engineers from Fraunhofer and FZ Juelich, Dr. Allain placed significant emphasis on the fundamental significance of foundational science and the crucial need for a thriving Fusion Science office. Of particular note was the remarkable collaboration between the United States and Germany in the field of Magnetic Fusion Energy (MFE). Dr. Allain further discussed the growing attention towards Inertial Fusion Energy (IFE), which had previously not received funding from FES but is now gaining recognition following successful ignition demonstrations by the National Ignition Facility (NIF). To expedite progress towards developing a fusion power plant, Dr. Allain stressed the need to position IFE as a key element within the strategic roadmap.
“I am very impressed with the Fraunhofer model and its engagement with industry. The public and private sector ecosystem incentivized by unique funding models supports the synergy needed for efforts in emerging fusion tech development”, said Dr. Allain. Illustrating his vision for the DOE FES program, Dr. Allain emphasized the significance of workforce development, bridging research gaps, nurturing transformative science, and leveraging international partnerships. He underscored the critical role of international collaborations in accelerating fusion research and development, with a specific focus on key infrastructure, innovation in fusion technology supply chains, and global workforce development. Dr. Allain particularly emphasized the importance of collaborating with German research institutions, including the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, renowned for its expertise in technology transfer to the industry.
Expressing his enthusiasm, Dr. Allain commended the collaboration taking place at the STARFIRE Hub, managed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, USA. This collaborative effort, which includes Fraunhofer ILT, aims to advance diode-pumped solid-state laser technologies, high-gain target designs, target manufacturing, and plant modeling for IFE. This joint endeavor marks a significant stride forward in the pursuit of laser inertial fusion energy research.
The ensuing open discussion with the audience was characterized by an atmosphere of energy and enthusiasm. It shed light on one of the greatest challenges in advancing fusion energy - finding the delicate balance between the supply and demand for enabling technologies. Dr. Allain and Prof. Haefner passionately emphasized the urgent need to drive fusion energy forward by embracing a fresh approach. They underlined the crucial importance of taking decisive action and fostering innovation to accelerate progress towards a sustainable future.
We extend our sincere gratitude to Dr. Allain for being our esteemed guest and for engaging in this inspiring exchange.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT invites the laser community to the 14th International Laser Technology Congress AKL in Aachen from April 17 to 19, 2024. Laser users and manufacturers as well as laser developer from different areas of the laser industry will have the opportunity to exchange information about the latest developments in the field of applied laser technology in production at AKL'24.
To better position themselves in times of a strong competitive environment, companies are constantly looking for new ideas and technologies. The necessary information edge in the field of applied laser technology is offered to its more than 500 participants by AKL'24. The main topics of the more than 80 lectures range from laser material processing in the macro and micro range, laser beam source development, additive manufacturing to process monitoring and digitalization. In addition, the optional technical forums "Digital Science & Photonic Production", "Quantum Technology & Photonics" and "Laser Surface Technology" provide more in-depth expert knowledge.
At the beginning of the Gerd Herziger Session on April 18, 2024, Dr. Peter Leibinger (Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Leibinger SE), Dr. Christopher Dorman (VP, Coherent) and Dr. Christoph Rüttimann (CTO, Bystronic Group) will address the question – from the perspective of technology suppliers – of how business models and value creation in laser technology are changing as a result of digitalization and AI. This panel discussion will be moderated by Prof. Constantin Haefner, Director of Fraunhofer ILT.
Between the lectures, the conference-accompanying exhibition with around 50 laser manufacturers and system or component suppliers offers the opportunity to establish contacts with proven experts in the laser industry. In addition, the application laboratories of the Fraunhofer ILT with the latest highlights of laser research can be visited during the event "Laser Technology Live" - networking at its best!
The presentations will be held in English or German with simultaneous translation into the other language. Take a look at the detailed conference program and register now for AKL'24 at www.lasercongress.org !
Secure your early bird discount until February 27, 2024!
Laser technology can solve demanding tasks in many different industries. Whether as a tool in automotive production, as measuring equipment in the environmental sector, as a diagnostic or therapeutic instrument in medical technology or as a communication medium in space technology, the laser provides multiple uses with high productivity and high efficiency. Thanks to its intensive research and application-specific developments, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT has been guiding its industrial partners in developing their innovations for more than 30 years – in the “branches” section you will find further information and a selection from our services.