Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Reinhart Poprawe

Short Biography

Prof. Dr. Reinhart Poprawe holds a M. A. in Physics degree from the California State University in Fresno which he received in 1977. After completion of his diploma and PhD in physics (Darmstadt 1984) he joined the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology in Aachen where he began working as head of the department „Laser oriented process development“ in 1985. From 1989 to January 1996 he has been managing director of Thyssen Laser-Technik GmbH in Aachen.

Since February 1996 he is managing director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology and holds the University Chair for Laser Technology at the RWTH Aachen. Currently he is a member of the board in the AKL Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik e. V. Aachen. Prof. Poprawe has been elected to the grade of Fellow in the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in USA (SME) since 1998. In 2006 he became Fellow of the Laser Institute of America LIA and in 2012 Fellow of SPIE. Since 2001 he is a member of the board of the Laser Institute of America (LIA) and serves in many national and international boards as advisor, referee or consultant, for instance at the National Laser Centre of South Africa NLC. During the period of September 2005 until September 2008 he was Vice-Rector for Structure, Research and Junior Academic Staff. He still is chairing the RWTH-International Board, is the Rectors delegate for China, received an Honorary Professorship at Tsinghua University and the Schawlow Award of the Laser Institute of America in 2014. In 2017 he was also awarded the Peter M. Baker Leadership Award of the Laser Institute of America LIA. 

© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany / A. Steindl.

Curriculum Vitae

Family status Married to Anette Poprawe, four children
Birthdate 23. January 1954 in Offenbach/Main
October 1973 – July 1975 Physics at University of Mainz (Vordiplom 21st of April 1975)
November 1975 – February 1976 Student at Carl Zeiss Oberkochen
February 1976 – July 1976 Physics at University of Mainz
September 1976 – September 1977   Physics at California State University/ Fresno
(Master of Arts 12th of August 1977)
March 1978 – May 1980 Physics at Technical Univ. Darmstadt  (Diploma 05th of May 1980)
June 1980 – March 1985 Assistant at Technical University Darmstadt  (PhD 27th of July 1984)
April 1985 – May 1989 Department Head at
Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, Aachen
June 1989 – January 1996 Managing Director of Thyssen Laser-Technik GmbH
since February 1996 Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, Aachen and director of the Chair for Laser Technology LLT, RWTH Aachen University
July 2005 – September 2008 Vice-president for Research, Structure and scientific youth at RWTH Aachen University
January 2004 – January 2008 President of Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft Lasertechnik WLT e.V.
since January 2010 Chair of RWTH International Bord and Rector‘s Delegate for China
January 2012 – December 2012 President of the Laser Institute of America LIA
July 2013 Managing Director of RWTH Aachen CAMPUS Photonics Cluster
December 2015 – December 2018 Member of Fraunhofer Präsidium and
Chair of Fraunhofer Group “Light and Surfaces”


Laser Applications:

Drilling, cutting, joining (welding, soldering), Surface treatment, Laser Additive Manufacturing (Selective Laser Melting, Laser Metal Deposition), Rapid Manufacturing, Polishing, Micro Technology, System Technology, Process Control, Photonics in Life Science, Direct Photonic Production.

Laser Development:

Diode pumped Solid State Lasers, Diode Lasers, Pump Modules and Amplifiers for multi sectorial  applications (Information- und Communication Technology, Display, EUV-Lithography, ps-, fs-Laser), coherent coupling, incoherent Superposition, Beam shaping in space and time, Ultrafast Lasers, Production processes for Diode Lasers.

Plasma Technology:

Process Analysis, Sensors for Laser Processes, laser induced Plasmas, EUV-Sources for Lithography and Microscopy, XUV-Sources, laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS).

Prizes and Honors

  • Fraunhofer Prize (1987)
  • Fellow Society of Manufacturing Engineers (1998)
  • Fellow Laser Institute of America (LIA) (2006)
  • Innovation Award of North Rhine-Westphalia (Additive Laser Manufacturing, 2011)
  • Fellow of SPIE (2012)
  • Teaching Prize of Aachen University Engineering (2013, 2014 , 2015, 2016, 2017)
  • Honorary Professor of Tsinghua University, Beijing (2014)
  • Schawlow Award, Laser Institute of America LIA (2014)
  • Fellow of IAPLE (2015)
  • Peter M. Baker Leadership Award of the Laser Institute of America LIA (2017)
  • Fellow of the Max Planck School of Photonics (February 2019 – February 2021)

Boards and Memberships

  • Member of the Board National Laser Centre of South Africa (2001–2010, since 2017)
  • Member of the Review Board “Production Technology” of the DFG (2004–2011)
  • Member of the Board EdgeWave GmbH (Chair)
  • Member of the Board Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik AKL e. V. (dep. Chair)
  • Member of the Board Laser Institute of America (LIA) (President 2012)
  • Member of the European Technology Platform Board of Stakeholders PHOTONICS21
  • Member of the RWTH-Aachen CAMPUS Board (Chair)
  • Member of Investitionskomitee High-Tech Gründerfonds (2008–2017)
  • Member of Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft Lasertechnik e. V. WLT (President 2004–2008)
  • Member of the North Rhine-Westfalian Academy of Science
  • Chair of BMBF-Forschungscampus „Digital Photonic Production“ (2014–2029)
  • Chairman of „Sonderforschungsbereich 1120: Precision Melt Engineering“ (since 2014)
  • Initiator and Director of Digital Photonic Production Industrial Center (2013)

Publications, Teaching

  • More than 600 publications since 1984
  • More than 200 scientific and Industrial mostly keynote Presentations
  • Approx. 40 patents
  • More than 10 books (author and editor), e.g. “Tailored Light” I+II (Laser course text books), Landoldt Börnstein “Laser Physics and Applications”
  • Editor in Chief of “Journal of Laser Applications JLA”
  • Teaching of Laser Course since 1996
  • Establishment of “Flipped Classroom” in 2016
  • More than 200 PhD-students