News Release

F. Ömer Ilday comes to Ruhr University

Alexander von Humboldt Professorship

Grant and Award Announcement

Ruhr-University Bochum

F. Ömer Ilday is a leading laser development expert. Amongst others, his research has led to breakthroughs in the development of ultrafast lasers which are, for example, used in precision machining and laser operations. In the last five years, F. Ömer Ilday has very successfully re-aligned his research field towards materials science to better understand the fundamentals of laser-matter interaction. Numerous new applications for lasers, especially for beam sources with ultrashort pulse durations, are emerging from the findings. Those lasers can also be used as a tool for nanostructuring, for measuring and characterising extremely fast processes, or in fast data transmission. In addition to materials processing, F. Ömer Ilday wants to devote more of his energies in Bochum to developing laser sources and the self-organisation of lasers.

Involved in two faculties

F. Ömer Ilday uses a highly interdisciplinary approach and combines theory with practical applications. He is the founding director of the Ultrafast Optics & Lasers Laboratory (UFOLAB) at Bilkent University in Ankara that develops and produces technologies for research institutes around the world; he also established the first Turkish laser company. As a Humboldt Professor at Ruhr University, Ilday is to establish a new centre for Complex Laser-Matter Interactions and act as a link for inter- and transdisciplinary collaborations. In the long term, this is to become an internationally renowned center from which start-ups will also emerge. The plan is for F. Ömer Ilday to be integrated in both the Faculties of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology as well as Physics and Astronomy. His stream of creative ideas is supposed to build bridges between photonics, plasma research, materials research and manufacturing technology.

About F. Ömer Ilday

The physicist F. Ömer Ilday completed his doctorate at Cornell University, Ithaca, United States, in 2003. He immediately became a postdoc and, from 2005, a research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States. In 2006, he was appointed to a professorship in physics at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. Since 2014, he has been a professor for Physics, Electrical Engineering and Electronics and heads the Ultrafast Optics & Lasers Laboratory UFOLAB. F. Ömer Ilday has received numerous awards, including the Turkish Academy of Sciences’ Outstanding Young Scientist Award and a European Commission Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant in 2006. He is the holder of Turkey’s first ever ERC Consolidator Grant (2014) as well as an ERC Advanced Grant, awarded in 2022. He is an elected member of the Academia Europaea and the Turkish Academy of Sciences as well as other specialist academies such as the Turkish and the American Physical Societies.

Alexander von Humboldt Professorship

With up to 5 million euros, the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is Germany's most highly endowed research award and brings top international researchers to German universities. The award sum is used to finance a professorship for the first five years. In addition to the scientific quality of the nominees, the decisive criterion for awarding a prize is the persuasiveness of the concept regarding the strategic goals of the nominating institution.The program is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

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