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Ilse Jurriën : June 21th 2006 - 00:14 CET

Carl Zeiss Research Award for perfect lens materials

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ZeissCarl Zeiss Research Award for perfect lens materials : Today, Martin Wegener and Kurt Busch are being honored with the Carl Zeiss Research Award 2006. With their work, the two scientists from the University of Karlsruhe have added decisive momentum to the fields of three-dimensional photonic crystals and optical metamaterials. The Carl Zeiss Research Award is seen as one of the most renowned prizes in the field of optics and is worth 25,000 euros. It was presented for the ninth time this year. Kurt Busch’s contributions to the theory of light propagation in structured materials and Martin Wegener’s experimental approaches have considerably enhanced the possibilities for the production of the three-dimensional photonic crystals.
Carl Zeiss Research Award for perfect lens materialsCarl Zeiss Award - Optical materials
Such photonic crystals allow, for example, the efficient implementation of optical processors. Unlike common optical materials or “normal“ crystals, optical metamaterials display excep-tional properties such as, for instance, a negative refractive index. This offers extensive capabilities for the use of these materials. With their aid, “perfect“ lenses can be produced in which diffraction does not limit resolution. A conceivable possibility is new lithography techniques for the fabrication of computer chips.

Carl Zeiss Award ceremony - Optical technologies
During the award ceremony the Member of the Carl Zeiss AG Executive Board responsible for research, Michael Kaschke, emphasized the importance of basic research in the field of optics for continued economic growth in Germany: “Optical technologies are now an integral part of our everyday lives and they lay the foundation for future technologies. Today, more than 90 percent of data volumes in Germany are transported by light, and optical technologies also make a considerable contribution to innovations in medical technology and the life sciences. Without new knowledge in optical technologies, further increases in the performance of computer chips were inconceivable, commented Kaschke.

Martin Wegener - Karlsruhe Research Center
Martin Wegener (44) studied physics in Frankfurt/Main, where he also obtained his doctorate. After conducting research work at AT&T Laboratories in den USA (1988-1990), he held his first professorship in Dortmund. He has been working at the Institute of Applied Physics of the University of Karlsruhe since 1995. He became head of the workgroup for photonic crystals of the Karlsruhe Research Center in 2001. In 2000 Wegener received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Award of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation).

Kurt Busch - University of Karlsruhe
Kurt Busch (39) studied physics in Karlsruhe, where he also obtained his doctorate. In 2004/2005 he was Associate Professor at the University of Central Florida. He has been professor at the Institute of Theoretical Solid Body Physics at the University of Karlsruhe since April 2005.

Carl Zeiss Research Award
The Carl Zeiss Research Award has been presented every two years since 1990. The Ernst Abbe Fund primarily recognizes internationally active scientists for outstanding achievements in basic research and applied optics. The exclusive list contains the names of two subsequent Nobel Prize winners: Egyptian-born American Ahmed H. Zewail received the 1992 Carl Zeiss Research Award and the 1999 Nobel Prize in chemistry; American Eric A. Cornell won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2001, five years after being honored by Carl Zeiss. The winners of the Carl Zeiss Research Award in 2006: Kurt Busch and Martin Wegener.

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