13th African Laser Centre 2023 Conference
This year, from 13 to 15 February 2023, the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study hosted 38 scholars, project leaders, associated researchers and institutional partners who supported and facilitated the robust exchange of ideas and knowledge on laser science and technology.
The conference is limited to ALC-associated researchers and students and aims to encourage interaction between grant holders and students.
Lighting up the future – postgraduate students showcase their research at 13th African Laser Centre 2023 Conference
As the regional hub for laser science and technology, once a year, the African Laser Centre (ALC) hosts its student conference for students from South African universities who are involved in and doing research on various ALC-sponsored projects. This year, from 13 to 15 February 2023, the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study hosted 38 scholars, project leaders, associated researchers and institutional partners who supported and facilitated the robust exchange of ideas and knowledge on laser science and technology.
The conference is limited to ALC-associated researchers and students and aims to encourage interaction between grant holders and students. The CSIR’s Hardus Greyling, who manages the ALC on behalf of the CSIR Photonics Research Centre’s, provided a brief historical overview of its programmes, including its progress in building capacity for postgraduate students in laser science through its investment as part of the ALC Scholarship Programme. Greyling shares, “Approximately 18 postgraduate scholarships are being supported through the ALC’s Scholarship Programme. This year, we received the largest number of project submissions to date, with several excellent applications involving more than 100 postgraduate students and outnumbering the 60 applications in 2022.”
During the conference, project leaders introduced the various ALC projects, and this was accompanied by presentations from the students, followed by engagement with attendees. The programme also featured 29 talks and a variety of poster presentations. Three keynote addresses and tutorial lectures on lasers and optics were also shared.
The highlight of the conference was the certificates and awards ceremony to recognise the students’ contributions through their projects and presentations. All 38 participating students were awarded with certificates, while five students were awarded with merit prizes for exceptional presentations and received sponsored gifts. These are:
- Leerin Perumal – Wirsam Prize
- Leonato Tambua Nchinda – Wirsam Prize
- Daniella Da Silva – Wirsam Prize
- Chane Moodley – Synertronic Prize
- Emeka H Onah – LRI prize
Professor Erich Rowher, who is a physics professor at Stellenbosch University and a member of the local organising committee for this year’s event acknowledged the effort and dedication of all the collaborators and participants.
Projects at the 13th African Laser Centre 2023 Conference covered an array of topics in the application areas of photonics, including healthcare, technology, communication, environmental sensing, energy applications and manufacturing technology – all of which emphasised the countless benefits that laser science and technology offers to society.
Laser science and technology can play a key role in addressing opportunities for human capital development and assist in the training of the next generation of African scientists and engineers in photonics. The ALC that is based at the CSIR has provided immense support to the development of young researchers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and innovation. With limited space available to enroll as a successful candidate with the ALC, “Making the final selection of postgraduate students can prove to be a tough call,” says Greyling. However, the 13th African Laser Centre 2023 Conference serves as a positive indicator that the ALC Scholarship Programme is attractive and beneficial for youth on the African continent.
More about the ALC
The African Laser Centre is a virtual research and development centre dedicated to advancing the field of photonics, specifically laser technology and its applications in Africa. Established in partnership with leading partners across Africa, the ALC’s mission is to promote innovation, collaboration and education in photonics science and technology to support the economic and social development of Africa. The ALC aims to enable research and development across Africa in the field of photonics and photonics applications by supporting collaborative research and development projects and initiatives.