Dr Paul Motalane, ALC manager.
A programme aimed at stimulating laser research and development in Africa has been awarded funding through the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The African Laser Centre (ALC) is a virtual centre of excellence focusing on laser research and applications in Africa. It was established in 2002 to provide a platform through which Africa can pool its resources to become globally competitive.
The ALC seeks to catapult Africa into the forefront of science and technology using lasers as a tool for research, training and innovation. “The objective is to enable African nations to collaborate with each other and play a major role internationally in utilising light to advance science and technology, thereby contributing to the strengthening of their economies, education and the welfare of their people,” says Dr Paul Motalane, ALC manager.
“A significant number of students have graduated with Master’s and doctoral degrees using ALC-awarded scholarships and their photonics research expertise has been honed through the ALC-supported research programme. These individuals are now perfectly placed to make an impact on the socio-economic conditions in their countries using laser technology,” says Dr Motalane.
Research areas supported by the ALC are photonics-based, and are linked to various research fields such as photo biology; electronics; semi-conductor physics; fibre devices; photo sensors; opto-electronics; solid state physics; material science; femtosecond laser spectroscopy; non-linear optics; lasers and laser technology; and lidar and atmospheric remote sensing.
“More leveraged funding is required to secure the ALC’s goal – building and growing Africa’s economic development through laser technology,” he notes. Dr Motalane thanked the DST for the funding and says that it will assure continued South African participation in the NEPAD-recognised flagship programmes.
“The ALC contributes scarce science, engineering and technology skills that are much-needed for the socio-economic development of particularly this continent.
“Because of the availability of cutting-edge photonics infrastructure and the technical expertise at key ALC member nodes, we constantly attract researchers from the broader international community, thereby enhancing our pool of expertise and contributing to the body of knowledge in laser science,” says Motalane.
For more information on the ALC, visit www.africanlasercentre.org or contact Dr Paul Motalane at +2712 841 3131.