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'Optics Triangle' tours highlight SPIE leadership visit

SPIE President-Elect Stahl meets with industry leaders in Jena, Mainz

15 October 2013

SPIE President-Elect H. Philip Stahl attended SPIE Remote Sensing and SPIE Security + Defence in Dresden last month and also visited Schott Advanced Optics in Mainz, Germany, and several facilities in Jena, considered to be the "cradle" of the optics and photonics industry in Germany.

While at the collocated symposia in Dresden 23-26 September, where SPIE Immediate Past President Eustace Dereniak was a plenary speaker, Stahl presented Jόn Atli Benediktsson, Pro-Rector for Academic Affairs at University of Iceland, with his SPIE Fellow plaque.

Stahl, senior optical physicist NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, and Andrew Brown, SPIE senior director for Global Business Development, also visited SPIE Corporate member JENOPTIK, Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF, Carl Zeiss SMS, and the Jena Optics Museum, all in Jena, and they took the opportunity to visit the optical-glass and glass-ceramic manufacturer SCHOTT Advanced Optics.

At SCHOTT, Stahl and Brown were shown the giant SCHOTT telescope blanks made of the extremely low-expansion glass ceramic ZERODUR®. A four-meter blank made by SCHOTT is destined for the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) being built in the USA. (The University of Arizona's College of Optical Sciences was awarded the contract to polish the SCHOTT blank.) When placed into operation on Haleakala volcano on the Hawaiian island Maui, the ATST will form the world's largest solar telescope.

(Pictured below: Hartmann, Stahl, and Brown at SCHOTT with one of the 4-meter ZERODUR blanks)

image of SPIE leaders at SCHOTT

Stahl and Brown, meeting with SPIE Senior Member Peter Hartmann, a member of the SPIE Board of Directors and a director of market and customer relations in Advanced Optics at SCHOTT, and Thomas Westerhoff, strategic marketing manager for ZERODUR®, also got a glimpse of SCHOTT's giant ZERODUR® blanks. SCHOTT's 8.2-meter mirror blank was originally produced as a spare part to supplement the four mirrors of the European South Observatory's Very Large Telescope (ESO-VLT) observatory. It is available now for possible use on another telescope mission.

During their visit to Jena, an area often referred to as the Optics Triangle for the 167 optics companies in the area, Stahl and Brown received high-level briefings on optics research in the area and manufacturing facilities for lasers and other optical devices.

photo taken at Zeiss

Representatives from the Zeiss facility (above, with Stahl at left, and Brown at right), gave them an overview on Zeiss‘ semiconductor business and a tour of Zeiss' laboratory for photomask tools.

"Carl Zeiss and JENOPTIK have major manufacturing facilities in Jena," Stahl said. "It is possible that every integrated circuit made in the world relies on either (or both) mask tools manufactured by Carl Zeiss SMS and lithography tools manufactured by JENOPTIK."

photo from JENOPTIK

At JENOPTIK, Stahl and Brown toured facilities for laser- and material-processing devices and were warmly welcomed by JENOPTIK's CEO Michael Mertin (at right, above), other executives from the company's optics and micro-optics business units, and SPIE member Stefan Muller-Pfeiffer and SPIE Fellow Marc Himel.

photo at Fraunhofer IOFStahl and Brown's Fraunhofer IOF visit included a tour of a laser lab and an optical fabrication lab and meetings with research managers there.

A highlight of the visit was seeing a new building that houses the institute using 100% LED lighting. Built in 2012, the new building features computer-controlled lighting throughout the hallways and offices with LED lighting even under the stairwell hand rails.

Attendees at SPIE Remote Sensing and SPIE Security + Defence made a separate tour of the Fraunhofer IOF site the same week.

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