Alexander von Humboldt Professorship 2024

Fatih Ömer İlday

F. Ömer İlday has played a seminal role in developing ultrafast laser technology, transforming the field of non-linear laser-matter interactions in the last few years. He is now invited to join Ruhr University Bochum to explore new research fields in materials science and establish a world-class research centre.

  • Nominating University: Ruhr University Bochum
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Physics / materials science

F. Ömer İlday 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 medicine in micromachines and laser operations. In the last five years, Ilday has very successfully re-aligned his research field towards materials science, investigating laser-matter interactions. There is great application potential for lasers, as tools for measuring, cutting or transmitting information. Laser sources are thus used, for instance, for processing and modifying materials. In addition to materials processing, İlday wants to devote more of his energies in Bochum to developing laser sources and the self-organisation of lasers once again.

F. Ömer İlday uses a highly interdisciplinary approach and combines theory with practical applications. He is the founding director of the Ultrafast Optics & Lasers Laboratory UFOLAB 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 Bochum, F. Ömer İlday is invited to set up the new Center for Complex Laser-Matter Interactions and act as a lynchpin between large-scale collaborations. In the long term, a world-leading centre is set to emerge that will also spawn start-ups. The plan is for 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 plasma research, materials research and manufacturing technology.

Brief bio

The physicist F. Ömer İlday 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 and Electrical and Electronics Engineering and heads the Ultrafast Optics & Lasers Laboratory UFOLAB. İlday 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 Bilim Akademisi - Science Academy Türkiye as well as other specialist academies such as the Turkish and the American Physical Societies.

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