Dr Quick and former LIA executive director, Peter Baker observe a presentation at ICALEO 2010. Quick was LIA president at the time


participate in ICALEO, which can provide an opportunity for them to present and promote their ideas to an international audience. Not only can this lead to the receiving of valuable feedback that helps members develop their ideas, but it can also ease the challenge of networking by providing topics for conversation.

With LIA recently changing its full name from ‘The Laser Institute of America’ to ‘The Laser Institute’, does the organisation look to increase its presence with the international laser community? LIA currently has an extended international base; still, we noticed last year that there was some confusion over the geographical interests of LIA. Several visitors from Asia interpreted our banner, ‘Laser Institute of America’, to indicate that North America was our only focus. The debate to make the change has been ongoing for quite some time. Given the continued expansion in laser materials processing and manufacturing worldwide, we finally made the change. We have retained all trademarks, and will continue to go by ‘LIA’; however, moving forward, we are ‘The Laser Institute’.

Laser safety training and education is an important part of LIA’s services. Is the organisation satisfied with the amount of educational/training resources available elsewhere for laser users? There are definitely not enough educational/training resources focused on laser processing of materials and laser safety. Efforts have been underway to involve two-year colleges as a starting point, such as with the work of The Center for Laser and Fiber Optics Education (LASER-TEC) here in southeastern United States. An important thing is to bridge the gap between education and industry to define a curriculum supported by industry needs and where the industry is heading. Developing future laser processing


Dr Quick, second from the right, with Charles H Townes, Peter Baker and LIA’s board of directors at ICALEO 2010

professionals requires exposing students to the profession. Videos, site visits and activity with STEM programmes provide a good path for student exposure to laser processing applications, laser equipment and required skills so they better understand employment opportunities in the industry. Our ICALEO 2019 conference has

been redesigned to better bridge the communication gap between academia and industry. This year we are introducing industry-specific foci, and are organising technical presentations from five tracks (laser additive manufacturing, macro laser processing, micro laser processing, nano laser processing and battery systems/

“We can do more to promote an interest in laser technology. Scientists and industry professionals can volunteer at local schools to teach children about the possible professions they can aspire to”

energy conversion) that provide technical content directed to these industries. Four industrial sectors; aerospace, biotech, microelectronics and automotive will be highlighted this year, and each will have a dedicated trade show. The intent is to be more user-focused. We are also introducing new business features, such as market driver solutions forums and panel discussions that encourage dialogue between industrial end-users and academia to address and solve core problems that require collaboration between industry and research. These interactions expose students and academia to the needs of industry and expose industry to the capabilities of academic research institutions.

What challenges are hindering the adoption/development of laser materials processing worldwide? The general materials processing community is still not aware of the potential of laser materials processing and the new applications that are emerging. As awareness of laser applications increases, the technology will be implemented. In today’s world, people are starting to recognise that laser technology integrates well with Industry 4.0 digitalisation objectives. The laser market is anticipated to grow as

cutting-edge applications grow. We must therefore target and align with the media outlets that service specific industries. Focused workshops tailored to specific industries are also a good tool for the transfer of the technology. We can do more to promote an interest in

laser technology, starting with young minds. Scientists and industry professionals can help promote laser materials processing by volunteering at local schools to teach children about the possible professions they can aspire to, ideally using multi- media.

When I was young, the push for STEM

was focused on the space programme, and I’d see Wernher von Braun on Disney talking about Nasa. We recently began an initiative with

Dr Larry Dosser, senior technical fellow of Universal Technology Corporation, to develop informational videos that can be shared in high schools to help foster an interest in laser technology. When these videos are complete, they will be available to LIA members as a tool for engaging students during presentations or teach-ins. Using multi-media and hands-on learning to help young students understand abstract concepts will make this information more accessible to the next generation. l

A full version of this interview is online at




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