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Advanced Solid-State Photonics 2005

Final Activity Report Summary - ASSP (Advanced Solid-State Photonics 2005)

The 2005 Advanced Solid-State Photonics (ASSP 2005) topical meeting was held between February 6th and February 9Th in Vienna, Austria, the second time outside North America. This way one of the main objectives of ASSP 2005 in Vienna was achieved, reflecting the growing role of international participants in general and of European photonics community in particular.

The conference marked its 20th Anniversary and gathered 373 registrants and 39 exhibitors (projected: up to 350 registrants) from 31 countries worldwide. Having set the record in attendance, number of exhibiting companies and overall number of papers, the conference has become the largest in its history. This success was a clear demonstration of an acknowledgement of viability and the remarkable progress in the European Photonics.

Another important objective was also achieved, providing a chance for the young European researchers, who otherwise have no possibility to take part in the large Photonics related conferences overseas, to present themselves and learn from the leading experts in the field. The careful selection process allowed the Committee to support 73 young investigators (12 female). There were 21 oral presentations from young scientists (out of overall 57), and 29 scientists presented two and more papers. The best paper award went to a young female scientist.

At the same time the young researchers could benefit from the exceptionally high scientific level of this conference. They were exposed to 257 presentations of the highest calibre. A culminating point was a plenary speech hold by a Nobel Prize winner in Physics, 2005, Theodor W. Hansch, on Laser Frequency Combs and Ultraprecise Spectroscopy. According to one of the pioneers in solid-state lasers, Peter Moulton from Qpeak, USA, who has published in June in the Laser Focus World magazine an interesting review of the ASSP 2005, the overall quality of the papers was very high, and many papers of the poster session, which usually are limited-interest presentations, would have been well suited for oral presentation at other meetings. European representation was high in papers and attendees, and the meeting showed that European R&D in the field is very active and, in some areas, dominant over the rest of the world.

Following the spirit and objectives of the project, the young researchers were given opportunity of free participation in short courses, industrial symposium, plenary and round table sessions. Several short courses were running full day on Sunday and half-day on Tuesday. Leading scientists were invited to instruct on subjects including Solid-State Laser Materials, Adaptive Optics, and Optical Coherence Tomography. Following the initial planning, additional workshops were organised, aimed at increasing the complementary skills of young scientists. Two half-day workshops in Research Management and Presentation Skills, as well as two half-day workshops in Scientific Proposal Writing and Intellectual Property Rights were organised, having contributed to the high level of the training activities.

The Industrial Symposium Photonics Meets Industry allowed the young people to meet several leading scientists from a number of Photonics Companies in Europe and USA. Finally, there was organised (and because of the success repeated two times) a laboratory visit to the high-tech spin-off company Femtolasers GmbH and to the Photonics Institute.

Another very important event was the 20th Anniversary Round Table. This Round Table Discussion, devoted to the 20th Anniversary of the conference and the 50th Anniversary of Lasers, became one of the unforgettable highlights of the conference. The most prominent personalities from the field, including five former Directors of the Optical Society of America took part in this exciting event with participation of the Austrian press. The Round Table provided a historical excurse, and marked the current trends and future directions in Solid-State Photonics for the 21st century.