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G. Mourou: Lithuanians Deserve the Nobel Prize in Physics

20 March, 2019
Vilnius (BNS)

Gérard Mourou during Nobel press conference in Stockholm, December 2018. CC BY 2.0

The French scientist Gerard Mourou, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018, says that the main reason of success of the Lithuanian laser industry is the researchers. In his opinion, the pioneer of laser physics in Lithuania, Algis Piskarskas, is worth the Nobel Prize.

This week, G. Mourou visited companies ‘Light Conversion’ and ‘Ekspla’ based in Vilnius that have already built a global reputation. Furthermore, on Tuesday, he was declared as the foreign member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.

G. Mourou gave interview to the BNS.

– What was the purpose of your visit to Lithuania?

– The main reason of me being here is my inauguration as the foreign member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. It is a great honour for me.

– Why, in your opinion, is Lithuania so successful in the field of laser industry?

– One of the reasons is that you have very goods scientists, good people. Professor Piskarskas is one of them. He is an excellent teacher – with his cooperation many of his students managed to develop these companies. which are now the best in the world. I also think that you have a very good combination – a company (‘Light Conversion’ - BNS) and the Laser Research Centre of the Vilnius University nearby, which I haven’t seen yet, but I already know about. It is very convenient. Here you have a good infrastructure.

– What made the biggest impression when visiting companies ‘Light Conversion’ and ‘Ekspla’?

– I was impressed by the variety – there are scientific lasers, but you also have lasers designed for the industry. I saw a lot of lasers and it is excellent in creating business and jobs - high value-adding jobs. In my opinion, it is particularly important. They (employees - BNS) are not making burgers, they are doing high-level jobs.

– You received the Nobel Prize for the invention of chirped pulse amplification technology. How could you explain the core of this technology?

– We tried to develop an ultra-high maximum power. Not necessarily very high average power. Power is a work divided by time – if you want to obtain an ultra-high maximum power, you need to have ultra-short light impulses. When we say short impulses, we mean millionths, billionths of a second. With impulses to short even the lowest amount of energy allows us to generate a petawatt of power. The petawatt peak power is so enormous that we can compare it with the total power generated by all the nuclear power plants around the world.

– Is that an ultra-powerful laser?

– Yes, it is a powerful laser, but it cannot be of a length of one or two metres, because a meter needs more energy. We use a very moderate amount of energy, however, the maximum power is enormous.

– What are the areas of application of this technology in practice?

– It is mostly applied in the fields of science, but can also have many applications for the needs of the society, for example, in laser vision correction surgeries. We basically have an ideal scalpel – with impulses so short we can cut the eye tissue with extreme precision. We can also accelerate the particles, accelerate the electrons. It is mostly applied in physics, but can also be applied in medicine, for example, in treating cancer.

– The winners of Nobel Prizes, especially in physics, usually come from large countries. Are there any chances for the scientists of small countries, such as Lithuania, to win the Nobel Prize in physics?

– In think you have a chance. The problem is that it is difficult to forecast. Considerable efforts are put in the process of selection of the winner. For example, I can tell you that Professor Piskarskas is certainly worth the Nobel Prize. People like him are worth it.

– However, it seems like there is more amiability to the bigger countries when selecting the winners of the Nobel Prize, isn’t it?

– No, I don’t think so. Of course, more winners of the Nobel Prize come from the United States, but that is because they have many universities with many faculties. It is the main reason why many winners of the Nobel Prize are from the big countries, but I don’t think that there is a certain amiability.

– Thank you for the interview.

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G. Mourou received the Nobel Prize for the invented chirped pulse amplification (CPA) technology last year together with the Canadian researcher Donna Strickland.

The researcher has been cooperating with the Laser Research Centre of the Vilnius University and professor A. Piskarskas since 1992. The CPA modification – optic parametric chirped-pulse amplification (OPCPA) technology – was invented in Lithuania in 1992.

CPA technology is applied in lasers produced by ‘Light Conversion’ which are used by the largest global biochemistry, physics, chemistry and industry centres in Germany, Japan, the USA, China and the Great Britain.

Attention of Professor Gérard Mourou, the Nobel Prize Winner, to Lithuanian Students, Scientists and Laser Companies

19 March, 2019

Gérard Mourou at LIGHT CONVERSION facility

Lithuania received a visit of the Nobel Prize winner, the French scientist professor Gérard Mourou. On 19 March 2019, he was officially inaugurated as a foreign member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.

In 2018, the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to three scientists – the French scientist prof. Gérard Mourou, the Canadian scientist prof. Donna Strickland, and the American scientist prof. Arthur Ashkin. Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland received the Nobel Prize for the CPA (Chirped Pulse Amplification) technology. This technology has enabled the development of ultra-high-power short pulse lasers. The research group of prof. Algis Piskarskas from the Laser Research Centre of Vilnius University has also significantly contributed to the victory of G. Mourou and D. Strickland. The work of the Lithuanian scientists was also quoted in the scientific background document of the 2018 Nobel Prize.

Prof. Gérard Mourou has been cooperating with the Laser Research Centre of Vilnius University and prof. Algis Piskarskas since 1992: the CPA modification – OPCPA technology (Optical Parametric Chirped-pulse Amplification) – was invented in Vilnius in the same year. The difference between the technologies invented by the Lithuanian scientists and by the winners of the Nobel Prize is that the technology developed by G. Mourou and D. Strickland cannot operate at a high frequency of repetition (the number of flashes per second).

The OPCPA technology of the Lithuanian scientists, however, can operate at a tremendous frequency as well in the broad range of the various waves lengths. The CPA technology is applied in lasers produced in Lithuania, for example, in PHAROS and CARBIDE lasers manufactured by LIGHT CONVERSION. These lasers are used by the largest research and industry centres around the world – in Germany, Japan, the USA, China and the Great Britain. The lasers operate in the research laboratories of biochemists, physicists and chemists. They are also applied in the industrial machines for drilling, cutting, surface structuring and also for grinding. Lasers are the core of various industrial machines produced by Swiss, German and Japanese manufacturers. Almost all mobile phones contain parts made by PHAROS laser of the Lithuanian origin. The cardiovascular surgeons from all over the world use the components made by PHAROS lasers at their work. There are thousands of vehicles in the world with engine parts processed by using PHAROS laser.

Long-term Cooperation

Prof. Gérard Mourou made substantial efforts for Lithuania to be invited to participate in the initial stage of the Extreme Light Infrastructure in 1998. An introductory project aimed at full membership of Lithuania in the ELI is currently in progress. Laser system made in Lithuania and based on CPA and OPCPA technologies is already operating in the ELI facility in Hungary. Another powerful laser system is currently produced in Lithuania for the Czech ELI facility and it should be one of the most powerful laser facilities in the world.

Cooperation between prof. Gérard Mourou and the Lithuanian researchers and scientists resulted in remarkable benefits to Lithuania. He constantly invites Lithuanian laser specialists to various conferences to deliver key-note reports, consults Lithuanian researchers and doctoral candidates.

The laser technology development industry in Lithuania is a prospective field of industry that has achieved strong positions in the world. It is one of the underlying fields of the Lithuanian economy that closely links the three main chains of the creation of added value – science, innovations, and production. The achievements of the Lithuanian researchers in the field of lasers are particularly appreciated, whereas the production developed by the national laser specialists is demanded across the world.

‘The fact that professor Gérard Mourou responded to the invitation of students and scientists means that he highly appreciates the achievements in the field of laser science and innovations in Lithuania,’ says the colleague of the guest, prof. Algis Piskarskas. The winner of the Nobel Prize read a plenary lecture at the International Conference for Students and Young Researchers of Physics and Natural Sciences ‘Open Readings’, which was also an inauguration lecture of the foreign member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.

Change in management at LIGHT CONVERSION

01 March, 2019

Dr. Algirdas Juozapavičius and dr. Martynas Barkauskas

There have been some changes at LIGHT CONVERSION, a manufacturer of lasers and laser systems. After 25 years of running the company, Dr Algirdas Juozapavičius is assigning the helm to Dr Martynas Barkauskas. Dr Algirdas Juozapavičius will continue as adviser to the company’s management. ‘After the intensive work that lasted a quarter of a century, time has come to devote more attention to the family and activities that I haven’t had the time for,’ said Dr Algirdas Juozapavičius.

Dr Algirdas Juozapavičius has been the head of the company that makes lasers for research, industry, and medicine, since its inception in 1994. The business was born out of research work developing innovative light technology. The physicist and a few other likeminded peers founded a company that has been putting Lithuania’s name and the achievements of the researchers working at it on the map for twenty-five years already with its work. Under Dr Juozapavičius, LIGHT CONVERSION has been awarded various business trophies.

In 2018 alone the company earned two innovation awards: a national one from the Lithuanian Innovation Centre, and an international prize from the Baltic Assembly and the Baltic Assembly and the Baltic Association of Science/Technology Parks and Innovation Centres.

The company has been acclaimed for its ample investments into research and experimental development, for the development and production of high-value products, and for its enormous potential to grow on international markets. The company has been repeatedly awarded the export, Product of the Year trophies and various international innovation prizes. In 2007, LIGHT CONVERSION was granted the National Progress Award for mustering the Lithuanian laser science and industry for a breakthrough into the global markets.

Dr Algirdas Juozapavičius has been commended for his personal achievements as well. In 2018, for merit to Lithuania and promotion of the country’s name around the world he was given the Knight’s Cross of the Order for Merit to Lithuania and received a CEO of the Year nomination; in 2019, he was awarded a St Christopher statue by the city of Vilnius for merit to science and business.

The company’s new CEO, Dr Martynas Barkauskas, began his career in LIGHT CONVERSION back in 2009, when he worked as an engineer constructor at the Laser Department; later, he became head of the Laser Department’s service team, and in 2014 became the head of the Sales Department. In 2009, he defended a thesis in the field of physical science titled ‘Kinetic Spectroscopy of Nonlinear Crystals and Photochromic Switches’ and was awarded a doctoral degree of science.

The year 2019 is a time of change at LIGHT CONVERSION. On February 28, the company marked its 25th anniversary. In February 2019, UAB MGF Šviesos Konversija had its name officially changed to LIGHT CONVERSION, UAB. There have been some changes in the company’s management as well: the company’s board was appointed with Professor Emeritus Habil. Dr Algis Petras Piskarskas and Dr Romualdas Danielius, Mykolas Juozapavičius, Marc Watremez, Dominykas Vizbaras as its members.

About LIGHT CONVERSION

The products of LIGHT CONVERSION, UAB, a manufacturer of laser systems, are exported to more than 40 countries worldwide. Its main clients are industrial companies and scientific institutions, its key products, femtosecond lasers and their systems, most of them exported to major global scientific and industrial centres in Germany, Japan, the US, China, Great Britain. Currently, the company has dealers and partners in European, North American, and Asian countries, as well as branches in the US, China, and South Korea.

Over the past few years, the company has been growing and expanding rapidly. In 2013, it moved into a new 4,050 sq. m building, which now houses laser and nonlinear optic device manufacturing and research departments, a cleanroom unit, and the administration. The summer of 2018 marked the inauguration of a new 2,500 block where manufacture is being developed, research done, and new cutting-edge lasers designed. The total area of scientific and manufacturing facilities has grown to over 6,500 sq. m. New lasers and laser systems are developed in 20 scientific and manufacturing laboratories, with 9 more laboratories to be launched in the nearest future.

Notification regarding the change of the company name

08 February, 2019

Please be informed that as of 8 February 2019, the UAB MGF Šviesos Konversija has changed its name to Light Conversion, UAB.

Please use the new company name in all documents addressed to our company.

All other details of the company, e.g. address, phone and bank details remain the same:

Company: Light Conversion, UAB
Address: Keramiku 2B, LT-10233 Vilnius, Lithuania

Phone +370 5 2491830
E-mail: company@lightcon.com
Registration No: 222598890
VAT payer code No: LT225988917
AB SEB bankas, bank code: 70440, SWIFT: CBVI LT 2X
IBAN: LT 66 7044 0600 0109 2294

CEO Dr. Algirdas Juozapavičius was honored with Vilnius Municipality award

25 January, 2019

The St. Christopher awards were presented in Vilnius city hall.
Dr. Algirdas Juozapavičius second from right

We are delighted and proud to announce that, Light Conversion CEO Dr. Algirdas Juozapavičius was awarded St. Christopher’s statue for his business and science merits in Vilnius. Dr. Juozapavičius dedicated this award to the whole Vilnius laser scientist’s community.

The St. Christopher awards were presented in Vilnius city hall.

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