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Fraunhofer ILT announces new director

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Dr Constantin Häfner, a renowned laser physicist and the current programme director for advanced photon technologies at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, will become the director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in November.

He will be taking over the role from Professor Dr Reinhart Poprawe, who has held the position for 23 years and will be retiring this Autumn.

Throughout his role as programme director, Häfner has conducted research into pioneering laser technology and has headed up the development some of the world’s most powerful laser systems. He moved to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2006, following a two-year period as the chief laser scientist at the University of Nevada’s Terawatt Facility. Häfner holds a degree in physics from the University of Konstanz and a PhD in laser physics from the University of Heidelberg.

The Fraunhofer ILT is one of the world’s leading centres for contract research in laser development and applications, with more than 540 employees and facilities covering a floor space of more than 19,500m². The institute specialises in the development of advanced laser beam sources and their applications in manufacturing, medicine and environmental science, and the development of laser test and measurement systems.

The Fraunhofer ILT employees 540 people and has facilities covering a floor space of more than 19,500m².

‘By drawing together top-class research and industrial applications, and cultivating a direct and open dialogue with its customers, Fraunhofer ILT brings innovative and competitive solutions faster to the market,’ commented Häfner. ‘These excellent results are a product of the expertise and passion of the institute’s employees. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to perpetuate and build on this culture.’

For Häfner, research and technology transfer is a question of culture, not merely a process: ‘Fraunhofer ILT sets international standards in training of future laser scientists and engineers for both industry and the research community. It is important to me that we integrate and promote people of different genders, origins and cultures with their many different points of view. Diversity is a source of new ideas and approaches and enhances our competitiveness significantly.’

In addition to his role as institute director, Dr Häfner will also hold the associated Chair for Laser Technology LLT at RWTH Aachen University. He’ll therefore be involved in the many-faceted R&D activities at the university, including interdisciplinary research projects being conducted by 16 different RWTH institutes as part of the Research Center for Digital Photonic Production RCDPP, and joint research with industry in the Research Campus for Digital Photonic Production DPP.

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