Jarno Kaakkunen: Visiting Göttingen (Germany) 31.1.2009-2.2.2010
I visited one year at Laser-Laboratorium Göttingen e.V. (LLG) in Germany (Fig1.). My visit was part of the international research exchange related to TEKES-project of ours, so I did not need to get any extra founding to cover my visits financial side. Before my visit me and my supervisor K. Päiväsaari with the head of the department Peter Simon (in German side) planed carefully what I will be doing in Göttingen and sketch little bit about the schedule. Peter politely also arranged me a flat just next to the LLG for whole year.
Figure 1. Laser-Laboratorium Göttingen.
German as a country is very optimal for exchange, thanks to their excellent food, culture, people, nature, architecture and naturally high technology which undisputable evidence is the World’s best cars they make. Added to cars, scientifically German is leading country in many fields and laser technology in all its aspects is one of them. This is one of the reasons why I choose to go in Germany. For Finn it was easy to go native because Germans are many ways quite similar than Finns. First of all it was easy to adopt German food culture, because it does not differ much from Finnish one, although I did not became big fan of sauerkraut. Secondly work in any means did not differ much from what I have used to in Finland. Also the German climate is quite similar to Finnish one. Of course the winters are not as cold and summers are warmer than in Finland.
Göttingen is little about 120 000 peoples city at State of Lower Saxony and it is famous at its University (Georg-August University of Göttingen) and several Max-Plank Institutes. Many Nobel prized persons has made their careers or studies in this University and still today it is one of the bests in Germany. Size of the Göttingen is quite small in criterion of Germany, but of course for Finn it was all ready quite big. Göttingen is quite typical middle Europe city with its Old architecture and complicated bureaucracy (Fig2.). Geographically Göttingen is quite middle in northern part of the Germany so it is close to all big cities in North (e.g. Hamburg), East (e.g. Berlin) and West (e.g. Köln) part of the German. Added to these, thanks to fast highways, the South parts of the German are only few hours car ride away from the Göttingen.
Figure 2. A typical street view from Göttingen.
As mentioned above the place I visited was not University, but research laboratory LLG, which is famous at theirs acknowledge in field of UV-technology. Added to various applications of the UV-laser they are also experts on manufacturing and modifying the lasers itself. They also sell their modified lasers, although it is not their main area. They only sell average few lasers per year to have some extra founding and for example during my stay they delivered one. LLG has 5 different departments and I was part of Dr. Peter Simons group “Ultrashort Pulse Photonics”. This group is focused into short pulse laser development, ultrashort pulses and periodic nanostructures. During my stay, this group had four permanent members and few different level students (bachelor, master etc.). Added to Peter, Dr. Jozsef Bekesi was my supervisor in LLG. Both of them help me a lot, not only in problems related to work, but also personal staff e.g. all bureaucratic staff. They made my arrival (and also departure) very easy by helping me in all practical staff. Added to these, they also helped me scientifically, so that I learned quickly to houses mores. We also made lot of co-operation with other groups inside the LLG (e.g. group of Jürgen Ihlemann) so other groups personal became familiar.
Figure 3: A view from Herkules Monument to the Centrum of Kassel(on the right).
It was nice to see that practically research in different place does not differ from our studies in Finland. Scientifically my visit was success. I learned a lot about UV wavelength laser and material processing with them. We made together two international presentations in two different conferences in field of laser machining. First one was in Laser Advanced Materials Processing (LAMP), Kobe Japan and second one in Conference on Laser Ablation (COLA), Singapore. Added to these conference presentations, we made two referee papers in our fields top journal Applied Physics A: Materials Science & Processing.
Figure 4. Neuschwanstein castle near Munich.
Personally my trip was also mind opening. First of all it was great to get familiar with nice people and experience their different culture. For example I had change to experience unique doctoral parties in Göttingen style. They have individual habits which include kissing the statue in centre of Göttingen and cart ride to party place. I had also change to travel around the German and Middle-Europe to see many interesting and historical places e.g. Alps, Eagle’s Nest in Bavarian, Herkules Monument in Kassel (Fig3.), Neuschwanstein castle in Munich (Fig4.) etc.. I could continue this list for a long time and I can warmly recommend visiting all of these places. Added to nice memories and experiences, I had change to have duty free car when I came back to Finland so I also had some concrete staff to bring home. So summa summarum, I can recommend everyone to experience research exchange and I can warmly recommend German to be the place.