Print PageEmail Page

SPIE Laser Damage 2015 event news


The premier conference for high-power, high-energy lasers, materials, and thin films

SPIE Laser Damage 2015 attendees
More than 120 attendees from around the world were in Boulder for Laser Damage 2015.
See more photos from the event below.


The annual conference on Laser-Induced Damage in Optical Materials took place 27-30 September in Boulder, Colorado. The 47th annual version of this event was held at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where it began in 1969.

Back then, the event was called Boulder Damage, and the hosting agency was known as the National Bureau of Standards.

After publishing the proceedings for several years, SPIE got involved in organizing and cosponsoring the meeting with NIST. Originally a U.S.-centric meeting, Laser Damage has expanded over its nearly five decades to encompass high-power laser systems around the world. Now, with advances in such laser systems for industrial and medical applications, industry has increased its involvement.

More than 120 participated in this year's event, and 83 papers were presented in sessions on topics such as surfaces, mirrors, contamination, thin films, and applications and measurement of new technologies.

Chair Laurent Gallais at the Sunday tutorial at SPIE Laser Damage 2015
The event begins with a tutorial on Sunday
evening. This year, Laurent Gallais of
Institut Fresnel chaired a well-attended
discussion on Defect-Induced Damage in
Nano- and Femtosecond Regime. The
focus was on fundamental effects and
basic physics of laser-defect interactions.

"The industry interest in this meeting has to do with selling equipment and selling laser damage, and also learning about the new techniques that are available for characterizing materials," said Greg Exarhos of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, one of five conference chairs. "It gives [the industry] ideas about how they can enter the game, and perform this characterization and deposition and optical machining. So it gives the industry people a first glimpse at where the technology is headed, and where they should be going."

Long-time participants agreed that collaboration and sharing of information is a hallmark of this annual event. "We don't often talk outside of this conference," said Christopher Stolz of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), a former conference chair. "So it's an excellent opportunity to collaborate and share ideas."

Chair Joseph Menapace of LLNL said that the continuing evolution of topics covered at the meeting is critical to the advancement of high-power lasers.

Organizers of SPIE Laser Damage 2015 at NIST Boulder
Laser Damage chairs and organizers at the
NIST lab in Boulder: from left are Joseph
Menapace, Vitaly Gruzdev, Gregory Exarhos,
SPIE Event Manager Diane Cline,
Detlev Ristau, and SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs.

"The better we can make the components, the further we are going to be able to go," he said. "We are fundamentally limited in terms of laser systems by the mechanical things that hold them together, and optics is a very critical component to that."

Chair Detlev Ristau of Laser Zentrum Hannover said that despite the event's long history, there are plenty of challenges remaining.

"The fundamental base is still not complete," he said. We have a lot of deficiencies in modeling of laser damage on one hand, and on the other there are emerging technology areas -- [such as] ultrafast optics. Still there are some items in the DUV/EUV spectral range to be solved. We also see some problems in the mid-infrared spectral region."

The semiconductor field is a very important technology field, said Ristau, "and there we still have a deficiency in lifetime, especially if we switch to the EUV range, the next-generation of lithography."

Leonid Glebov, another former chair of the meeting, first attended as a Soviet scientist in the early 1980s at the invitation of meeting founder Arthur Guenther. Glebov, who became a successful entrepreneur in the United States, said Laser Damage remains a unique event, where everyone who attends is interested in different aspects of the same topic, with no distractions.

"This coincidence of both fundamental and practical aspects is very important for this conference."

Vitaly Gruzdev (University of Missouri, Columbia) and M.J. Soileau (University of Central Florida Office of Research and Commercialization) are also conference chairs.

SPIE Laser Damage 2014 Best Oral Presentation to Ella Field SPIE Laser Damage 2014 Best Poster Presentation to Olga Razskazovskaya

Chair Joseph Menapace presented SPIE Laser Damage 2014 paper awards. At left, Ella Field of Sandia National Labs receives the award for Best Oral Presentation; at right, Olga Razskazovskaya of the Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik receives the award for Best Poster Presentation.

Field's paper was "Repair of a mirror coating on a large optic for high laser damage applications using ion milling and over-coating methods" (9237-51).

Razskazovskaya's paper was "Ultrafast optical breakdown of multilayer thin-films at kHz and MHz repetition rates: a direct comparison" (9237-16).

The plenary talk at SPIE Laser Damage was given by Luke A. Emmert of University of New Mexico. Emmert discussed the challenges and opportunities of optical coatings excited by high-intensity femtosecond laser pulses near the damage threshold.

Keynote talks were given by:

  • Glebov, founder of Optigrate in the United States, "Volume holographic elements for high-power laser applications"
  • Andrius Melninkaitis, Vilnius University in Lithuania, "What time-resolved measurements tell us about femtosecond laser damage
  • Mansoor Sheik-Bahae of University of New Mexico, "Characterization of extremely high-purity optical materials for solid-state laser cooling
  • Vladimir Pervak of Ludwig-Maximillians University in Germany, "Dispersive dielectric mirror for ultrashort-pulse laser at high intensities

SPIE Laser Damage 2015 poster session SPIE Laser Damage 2015 poster session

Poster sessions provided a chance to discuss work one-on-one with the authors. Monday's session (at left) featured papers on Thin Films and Materials and Measurement, and Tuesday's (at right) featured papers on Fundamental Mechanisms and Surfaces, Mirrors, and Contamination.


SPIE Laser Damage cheese and wine tasting
Above, attendees enjoy a cheese and wine tasting event hosted by NCAR,
supported by food and drink sponsor Arrow Thin Films.


SPIE Laser Damage reception
Among social events was a reception on Tuesday evening (above and below).
SPIE Laser Damage 2015 reception SPIE Laser Damage 2015 reception


All photos © SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, except where noted.

SPIE Laser Damage 2015

27-30 September 2015
Boulder, Colorado, USA


Download your free Conferences app (iPhone and Android)
Carry the program
on your phone!
Download the free
SPIE Conferences
app for iPhone
or Android.


International Year of Light 2015


SPIE is a Founding Partner