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The Photonics100: Simonette Pierrot Q&A

Simonette Pierrot

Simonette Pierrot, Principal Laser Engineer at Lumentum Switzerland

Laser Systems Europe speaks to previous honoree of The Photonics100, Simonette Pierrot, Principal Laser Engineer at Lumentum Switzerland.

What is the next big thing in your area of photonics research?

A lot of outstanding results have been demonstrated in terms of energy and power scaling of ultrafast lasers in the past 20 years, and the technology has now reached a certain level of maturity. In my opinion, the focus in the pulsed laser field will now be less on opening the way to new performance such as shorter pulse or higher energy, and more on stabilising it and making it manufacturable in high volumes.

What do you think the biggest challenges in your area will be over the next year?

Moving to mass production is a challenge in any industry – the industrial laser field is no exception. Laser system architectures have to be simplified while maintaining their cutting-edge performance, to ensure cost-effectiveness, robustness, and manufacturability.
Introducing automation and artificial intelligence in the production line is an interesting way forward to help achieve the highest standards of reproducibility and quality.

What is the biggest personal challenge you have overcome?

Developing collective work in a global organisation, inspiring others to follow a vision, convincing them and working together toward a common goal is an interesting challenge –  powerful when successful –  and one that helps achieve ambitious objectives.

What advice would you give to someone embarking on a career in photonics research?

Follow your passion, do what you’re good at, reflect on the challenges you experience and grow from them, keep learning, and take care of your aspirations and motivation. This is advice that would apply in any field.

Who has been the biggest help to you in your career?

I had the chance to meet several talented people who have been inspirational to me, and from who I learned a lot throughout my career. Some of them whom I was and am lucky to call work colleagues had a big positive impact on me and my career.

Who, in your opinion, are the up-and-coming R&D ‘rock stars’ in your area or organisation?

I might not be aware of all rising stars in photonics, but I can certainly see many of them at Lumentum. We are privileged to have great talents with unique skill sets, expertise, and potential to bring disruptive technology to the market. It is an honour to be part of the Lumentum team!

You can make your nomination for The Photonics100 2024 here.

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