The President of Germany, Horst Köhler, and his wife Eva Luise Köhler, accompanied by Minister of State Dr. Beate Merk, today visited the winners of the 2007 German Future Prize. Dr. Klaus Streubel, Dr. Stefan Illek (both of OSRAM) and Dr. Andreas Bräuer (of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering) gave a progress report on the award-winning project "Light from crystals - light emitting diodes shape our daily lives".
In December 2007 the team was presented with the President's Prize for Technology and Innovation for the development of thin-film chip technology and its use in the OSTAR family of LEDs. "We were honored to be able to give the President a detailed insight into the technical background and possible applications of this key technology", said Dr. Klaus Streubel on behalf of the winning team. The party visited the clean room facilities, looked around an exhibition and talked to trainees and the next generation of development engineers at OSRAM Opto Semiconductors.
The prize winners received the President together with Dr. Rüdiger Müller, CEO of OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, OSRAM president Martin Goetzeler and the CEO of Siemens Sector Industry, Dr. Heinrich Hiesinger at OSRAM's Regensburg site. President Horst Köhler and Bavarian Minister of State Dr. Beate Merk heard about the latest products based on opto semiconductor technology. OSRAM experts presented a wide variety of products including daytime running lights for automobile headlights, the first table light based on organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) and laser diodes for projectors as representatives of future applications. The President stressed the importance of a culture of continual innovation as the basis for the economic success of German companies against international competition. Dr. Rüdiger Müller commented: "Major scientific achievements are the result of good teamwork. We are proud of this exceptional achievement by our OSRAM development engineers and colleagues at the Fraunhofer Institute." Martin Goetzeler added: "We invest 13 percent of our sales in opto semiconductors in research and development activities in this sector.
Since 2001 we have also expanded our Regensburg site into the most advanced opto chip factory in the world on the back of a triple-digit million euro budget. Today more than 1500 people work here - around 500 more than seven years ago." At the end of his visit the President spoke to a group of young employees to find out what they thought about working in such an excellent atmosphere of innovation at the opto semiconductor manufacturer. Trainees, students and young development engineers talked about their research interests. For them, the award of the German Future Prize to their more experience colleagues is a great motivating force for their own work. The winning team have donated most of the prize money to building a children's daycare facility to be run by the company. "After all, you can never start too early in supporting the scientists of the future", said Dr. Klaus Streubel.
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