ZEISS Virtual Event

Celebrating UNESCO International Day of Light

16 May 2021, 08:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (PDT)


.. Days .. Hours .. Minutes .. Seconds

International Day of Light at ZEISS

Exploring the intersection between the spectrum of light and ZEISS optical technologies

The International Day of Light will take place on Sunday, 16 May 2021. UNESCO instituted this annual, global initiative in 2018 to raise awareness of light-based technologies in science, technology, art and culture, and the critical role these play in people's daily lives. The date 16 May was selected to commemorate the anniversary of the first successful operation of a laser.

As a pioneer in the science of optics for 175 years, light-based technologies have been the cornerstone of ZEISS products and services as the company has continued to challenge the limits of imagination and develop innovative solutions for customers.

What You Can Expect

Light enables the offerings from ZEISS that are shaping technological progress, advancing the world of optics and touching the lives of people worldwide. To celebrate this year's International Day of Light, ZEISS will stream a series of talks with ZEISS experts aligned with the spectrum of light. These presentations will offer fascinating insights into the intersection of light and optical technologies from the ZEISS portfolio.

*A link to the livestream will be available here shortly before the event.

Sunday, 16 May

08:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PDT

08:00 – 08:15


ZEISS International Day of Light

Speaker: Dr. Zahra Nafar

Moderator: Dr. Nancy Hecker-Denschlag

Speaker biography Zahra Nafar
Zahra Nafar was born in Iran, Tehran, where she received her B.S. degree in bioelectrical engineering. After working for an ophthalmic instrument company, she decided to continue her graduate education and obtained her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering with a focus on biomedical optics, ophthalmic imaging and vision science. She is now the Senior Systems Engineer in a R&D group at ZEISS Medical Technology in the US, participating in the development of novel ophthalmic diagnostic imaging systems.

Speaker biography Nancy Hecker-Denschlag
Nancy Hecker-Denschlag is an American, who has been living and working in Europe for over 27 years. She received her B.S. in physics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University supported by an AT&T Bell Laboratories fellowship. As a postdoc on Lise-Meitner (Austria) and Alexander von Humboldt (Germany) fellowships, she was involved in extensive basic research up to the assistant professor level at the Universität Innsbruck and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.

After moving from the university setting to industry, she worked at Siemens in R&D on optical telecommunications and moved to development as the System Design Authority for SURPASS HiT7500. Although a physicist by training, she has extensive experience in sales as a Key Account Manager and in management of two high-tech companies as the Managing Director of a small optical measurement company in Ulm, Germany, and Managing Director of a startup in mass spectrometry in Innsbruck, Austria.
Today, she works at ZEISS Medical Technology as a member of the Advanced Technologies team in Oberkochen, Germany, developing surgical microscopes. In her free time, she wants to promote science and encourage young people to follow careers in STEM fields by founding a new museum: an Albert Einstein Discovery Center in Ulm, Germany ‒ Einstein’s birthplace.

Keynote: Microlithography
08:15 – 09:00

Microlithography: UV and EUV light as patterning tools with sub-nm precision

10nm-400nm, Keynote followed by Q&A

Speaker: Dr. Heiko Feldmann

Shortly after the invention of the integrated circuit, patterning by means of light was introduced to enable the mass fabrication of electronic devices. We will present the amazing success story of how structures became increasingly smaller and nowadays enable billions of transistors or memory cells on a single chip ‒ the basis for the electronic revolution with tremendous impact on society and everyday life.

We will start with a brief history of Moore’s Law, the exponential density increase in electronic devices that has been going on for more than 50 years. Moore’s Law is closely linked to corresponding improvements in optical resolution of the patterning machines. Several times, the technological limit of microlithography was anticipated. Thus far, however, a stream of inventions and developments is keeping the resolution shrinkage alive.

Today, leading-edge devices are patterned by EUV lithography using a 13.5nm wavelength. We will show concepts and key technologies to enable the fully reflective optics, which are used to illuminate the master reticle and to project the de-magnified image on the semiconductor wafer. Key requirements are image resolutions around 13nm and wavefront requirements in the Angstrom level, which need to be kept stable in spite of industrial production rates of hundreds of 300mm wafers per hour.

Finally, we will give an outlook to the next generation of EUV lithography, which is currently under development to enable the next step in Moore’s Law.

Speaker biography
Heiko Feldmann studied Physics at the Universities of Würzburg and Stony Brook, NY. After obtaining a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Würzburg in 2000, he joined ZEISS as an optical designer for lithography optics and participated in the race for optical designs of ever higher resolution, mainly working on 193nm dry and immersion systems. Later, he worked as a systems engineer with a focus on the technology and product roadmap. Today, he heads the roadmap team at ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology.

The ORION NanoFab
9:00 – 9:15

The ORION NanoFab – Extending your eyes and hands to the nanoscale!

0.001nm – 0.01nm (De Broglie wavelength)

Speaker: Dr. John Notte

Several factors such as aberrations, brightness and diffraction limit our ability to see and probe matter at the smallest scales with light (photons). The usage of electron beams in the SEM and TEM resolves many of these problems, but not all of them. However, in recent years the increasing availability of ion beams has offered researchers a new tool with the ability to see and even to manipulate matter at the nanometer scale. The ZEISS ORION NanoFab instrument offers three species of focused ion beams ‒ helium, neon, and gallium ‒ on a single platform, enabling researchers to extend their eyes and their hands to the nanometer scale.  

Because ions have de Broglie wavelengths in the sub pico-meter range, diffraction is not a limiting factor in determining the probe size. Thus, to the extent the other factors can be managed, the ion beams can be focused to probe sizes as small as 3nm for gallium, or even 0.5nm for helium. The images acquired by rastering the helium beam over a sample yields nanometer-scale, surface-specific details, even on insulating samples. While helium is the best choice for imaging, the gallium beam offers much larger currents and exploits the larger mass ion for deliberate sputtering, allowing the operator to shape and modify the sample. The neon beam, with its intermediate mass, enables the best mix of acuity and the ability to introduce precise sample modifications. Researchers have used the ORION NanoFab instrument to inspect, to analyze and to engineer devices with the available range of ion beams and accessories. Exemplary results will be presented across a broad range of academic and industrial applications.

Speaker biography
John Notte received his Ph.D. in experimental plasma physics from U.C. Berkeley, where he developed the first DC trap for confining charged particles for many hours. He also developed the first MCP-based imaging systems for studying these plasmas. Since leaving academia, John worked for a variety of companies specializing in high-performance charged particle systems before joining ALIS Corporation in 2005 and specializing in the physics of the “GFIS” helium ion source. The ion beam from this source has a virtual source size smaller than a single atom ‒ and can be focused to a probe size as small as 2.5 Angstroms. Since the acquisition of ALIS, John has been employed at ZEISS, where he continues to mature this technology to enable new research opportunities and practical applications.

Targeted intraoperative radiotherapy
9:15 – 9:30

Targeted intraoperative radiotherapy with the ZEISS INTRABEAM® System

0.01-10nm (X-ray)

Speaker: Dr. Christoph Hauger

Already before COVID-19, in particular medical professionals and institutions were suffering greatly from rising patient numbers and the related increase in treatment deliveries needed, regularly reaching their limits worldwide. Thus, the pressure on healthcare providers to introduce more efficient treatment methods was already high. The current focus on COVID-19 patients has further exacerbated the situation for patients with other severe diseases, such as cancer, and further increases the need for new efficient treatment options to free up other hospital resources.

One of the most common types of cancer is breast cancer. A potentially more efficient treatment option here is intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT), given directly during surgery. This results in a significantly shorter overall treatment time for IORT, as compared to the standard treatment approach of external beam radiotherapy (EBRT). The recently published long-term data of the TARGIT-A trial specifically investigated within a risk-adapted design whether IORT is non-inferior to EBRT for selected breast cancer patients. In circumstances of non-inferior results, the less expensive, less toxic or more convenient treatment normally becomes a standard option in treatment guidelines and often the preferred choice of physicians.

585 patients would have provided enough trial power, in the end over 2,200 patients were recruited between 2000 and 2012. The study treatment TARGIT-IORT was given with the INTRABEAM® device, which offers treating physicians an irradiation option for whole breast radiation therapy. Today, the trial investigators believe that this cumulative long-term data provides a substantial amount of evidence to support the future standard of care being the application of IORT for selected breast cancer patients. This is due to the fact that the long-term results effectively show that patients can be treated directly during surgery in a significantly shorter overall treatment time with non-inferior results, and with fewer side-effects for the patient and a lower financial burden for the healthcare system. On the one hand, this is a ray of hope for physicians at a time when patient volumes and disease treatment times are even more critical than usual. On the other hand, patients who may have to wait even longer than usual for their lifesaving treatment due to the current situation will be relieved to also be able to choose a very efficient treatment option in their fight against cancer.

Speaker biography
Dr. Christoph Hauger is Director of Advanced Development at the ZEISS Medical Technology development site in Oberkochen, Germany. He received his Ph.D. in Physics at the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich in the field of fs-laser physics and biomedical optics. He earned his master’s degree (Dipl. Phys.) in physics at the Technical University Munich. His research and professional interests are in the fields of biomedical optics, optoelectronics, mechatronics, digital visualization systems, innovation and IP management, development and approval of medical devices.

X-ray microscopy
9:30 – 9:45

X-ray microscopy – What batteries, a computer chip and spiders in amber have in common

0.01-10nm (X-ray)

Speaker: Dr. Christoph Graf vom Hagen

A lot has happened since Wilhelm Röntgen discovered an unknown radiation in 1895 that could pass through objects such as human tissue and leave a shadow on a fluorescent screen. Not knowing what kind of radiation it was, he called it X-ray. X-ray imaging became the bedrock of today’s medical imaging, from simple 2D prints on film to sophisticated 3D CT scans. The application of X-ray imaging in the non-medical world is, however, less well known.

In this talk, we will discuss the basics of X-ray imaging and computed tomography (CT) and its applications in research and production across a wide range of non-medical applications and instrumentations. A particular focus will be on the variety of use cases for X-Ray microscopes that are being developed and built in the new ZEISS Innovation Center California in Dublin. These microscopes enable researchers across the globe to perform 3D non-destructive imaging with starting resolutions of 50nm – this is about 1/1000 of the width of a human hair!

Speaker biography
Dr. Christoph Graf vom Hagen is Head of Advanced Development for X-ray Microscopy at ZEISS. He is responsible for identifying and incubating new ideas and technologies for X-ray microscopes and X-ray tomography systems. The unique capability of high-resolution nondestructive 3D imaging makes the X-ray microscope such an exciting tool for research and an excellent breeding ground for new technologies.

Since joining ZEISS in 2011, Christoph Graf vom Hagen has been driving technology innovations with a strong focus on usability and impact in close collaboration with customers. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Heidelberg, Germany.

Long-term volumetric imaging of living cells
09:45 – 10:00

ZEISS Lattice Lightsheet 7 for long-term volumetric imaging of living cells


Speaker: Ralf Wolleschensky

High-resolution, sensitive 3D fluorescence imaging of living biological samples is key to unraveling the secrets of life and understanding its mechanisms and pathologies. Yet it comes with a particular challenge: the toxic effects of light associated with fast and subcellular imaging. Because of its outstanding light efficiency, lightsheet imaging is currently the method of choice for 3D fluorescence imaging of living specimens.

However, the use of this technique was previously limited, as it required special sample preparation. Such preparation lowered the applicability of lightsheet imaging in a wide range of live biomedical applications, because of the reduced field of view, throughput and incompatibility with standardized sample imaging workflows. Attempts to make lightsheet imaging at the subcellular level available to biology had been made. However, these systems were not readily accessible to standard users with biomedical backgrounds.

Fluorescence lightsheet imaging comes with the optical axes of excitation and detection paths at a 90° angle to each other. When attempting to image through a cover glass – the standard interface for many biological samples prepared for microscopic investigation – both axes have to be tilted with respect to this cover glass. However, this angled imaging through a cover glass at high NA results in severe optical aberrations. To address this issue, ZEISS developed a completely new and unique imaging platform – ZEISS Lattice Lightsheet 7 – for the inverted lightsheet imaging of living specimens (cells, 3D cell cultures, organoids) on standard sample carriers and through a cover glass. With Lattice Lightsheet 7, ZEISS makes accessing the benefits of lightsheet imaging at subcellular resolution extremely simple.

The talk will discuss some of the unique technologies that ZEISS developed and highlight some of the applications of the instrument.

Speaker biography
Ralf Wolleschensky is a ZEISS Senior Principal, the second highest level of the ZEISS Expert Ladder. He is a trained physicist and, since 2007, has served as Senior Director of Advanced Development at ZEISS Research Microscopy Solutions, part of ZEISS Industrial Quality & Research. Together with worldwide academic partners, Advanced Development investigates new microscope arrangements and applications by doing proof of principle studies. Ralf Wolleschensky influenced advancements of 3D imaging, especially for light microscopy and life science applications.

From classical optics to fully digital products
10:00 – 10:15

Going digital! From classical optics to fully digital products


Speaker: Dr. Benjamin Völker

For more than 130 years, ZEISS has offered its customers a rich variety of optical consumer products. Working in the visual range of light, imaging products like camera lenses gave generations of photographers and cinematographers up through today the possibility of capturing memories and telling visual stories. Non-imaging “see-through” devices like binoculars and scopes make nature observation an immersive and exceptional experience. These classical optical systems rely on sophisticated optical designs and proven technologies like anti-reflective optical coatings that were developed by ZEISS.

The fast-moving transition of the optical consumer market into the digital age presents challenges, but also rare opportunities to improve user experience. We will show how digital techniques can help improve classical optics: in every optical system, unwanted light is generated by light reflected and scattered on optical and mechanical systems. Digital twins play a crucial role in predicting and controlling this unwanted stray light. With the help of massive raytracing in fully optomechanical simulation models, root causes can be identified and optimized. Combining this knowledge with our T* anti-reflective optical coating technology enables us to minimize stray light in our products. Beyond that, if desired we can add lens flare in a controlled and artistic fashion, which even led to the development of a new successful product line.

Furthermore, we will identify the key technologies of current and future digital optical consumer products. Whereas in the past our focus was on the bare optics, new fully digital products like our ZEISS ZX1 camera or our thermal imager ZEISS DTI 3/35 also require hardware and software competencies. Especially for thermal imaging, where LWIR light with a 8-12µm wavelength invisible to the human eye is recorded, the main challenge in getting good image quality is to develop real-time video enhancement algorithms so that thermal light information can be optimally processed for human perception on a digital ocular.

Speaker biography
Benjamin Völker studied nanotechnology at the University of Würzburg. In 2010 he received his Ph.D. from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. He continued his research work on multiscale modeling as a postdoc fellow at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

With a strong background in numerical simulation methods and his passion for photography, he joined ZEISS Consumer Optics, part of the ZEISS Consumer Markets segment, in 2013, where he was promoted to the position of Senior Expert in 2016. In the optical design team, he works as an expert on optical simulation methods, especially in the field of ghost and stray light simulations. As a thought leader at ZEISS Consumer Markets in simulation, Benjamin was the creator of the Supreme Prime Radiance cinematography lens look and is an authoritative stray light expert widely known in the international cine community.

Light – the source of life
10:15 – 10:30

Light – the source of life


Speaker: Dr. Bettina Friedl

Light is the beginning and sets the pace of life. What would our world look like without light? How is a human being’s life and wellbeing impacted by lack of light or a severe visual impairment?

As many of us have the luxury of 20/20 vision or more, we can hardly imagine how many people are affected by limitations of their vision. Next to starvation, war, natural disasters or, nowadays, the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of vision and appropriate eye care are among the main reasons as to why people suffer from poverty.

This talk aims to raise awareness for this topic and to provide insights as to what everyone can do to protect himself/herself, family members and loved ones as well as to support people in need.

In rich or more mature countries, it is mostly of the focus, priorities and discipline of individuals to take care about their eyes and use the existing offerings and medical prevention measures. This way, diseases can be caught early on and stopped or at least contained. In poorer or developing countries, it is all about access and affordable primary care. Already with basic means, the lives of millions of people can be changed for the better

Speaker biography
After graduating with a major in mathematics in fall 2007, Bettina Friedl earned a Ph.D. in business & information systems engineering in 2011.

She joined ZEISS in August 2011 as Personal Assistant to the President & CEO of the ZEISS Group and has filled several management roles since then. From 2014 to 2016, Ms. Friedl worked as the Senior Director Customer Care at ZEISS Vision, based in San Diego. In this role, she was responsible for the US Customer Care organization as well as for special key account projects.

She moved back to Germany in 2016 and joined the sales and service organization of ZEISS Medical Technology as CFO. In 2018, Ms. Friedl returned to ZEISS Vision Care as Head of Vision Technology Solutions, which provides customers all around the globe with eye and vision care technologies, instruments and platforms for state-of-the art patient care.

Ms. Friedl is a current member of the German Mathematical Society, alumna of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and an alumna of the Bavarian Elite Academy. In 2020, she was named an Influential Women In Optical – Executive Suite.

Fundus imaging
10:30 – 10:45

Fundus imaging: journey from narrow field-of-view to ultra-widefield and beyond

400nm -700nm

Speaker: Dr. Niranchana Manivannan

The retina can be considered a window to brain, and it allows us to directly observe and document not only eye diseases but also cardiovascular and neurological disorders. The first commercial fundus cameras were released by ZEISS in 1926. These featured a 10° retinal field of view and required manual exposure using flash powder and color film. Fundus imaging has come a long way since then. Current ultra-widefield fundus cameras capture a field of view of 90° and 135° to aid the diagnosis and monitoring of eye diseases. Additionally, artificial intelligence is being integrated into the image evaluation, clinical decision support and triaging. This talk covers the history, current developments and observed trends in fundus imaging.

Speaker biography
Niranchana Manivannan has a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering. She has a background in developing artificial intelligence-based decision support products for ophthalmic diagnostics. She is currently leading a team of scientists for developing algorithms to support various ZEISS Medical Technology products.

Imaging the human eye
10:45 – 11:00

Optical Coherence Tomography in medicine: Imaging the human eye


Speaker: Dr. Jochen Straub

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a non-contact imaging method that provides cross-sectional high-resolution images and 3D volumes of the human eye using low coherence near-infrared light. ZEISS was the first company to make OCT commercially available to eye care providers over 20 years ago. Since then, performance and clinical application have been increasing exponentially and ZEISS continues to be the market leader in Ophthalmic OCT.

In this talk we will explain the physics and technology behind OCT, introduce the portfolio of ZEISS' ophthalmic OCT devices and present a series of clinical applications, including diagnostic imaging and intra-operative live imaging. We will discuss emerging technologies and cutting-edge applications ranging from high resolution structural imaging to widefield functional imaging of blood flow in the eye.

OCT is a rapidly evolving technology that has enabled eye care providers to visualize and measure structures and blood flow in the eye that have previously not been available to aid in diagnosis. In the relatively short time that OCT has been in use in ophthalmology, it has had a tremendous impact on diagnostics and treatment of potentially blinding eye diseases, ultimately improving the quality of life of patients significantly.

Speaker biography
Dr. Jochen Straub is Director of Advanced Technology and Concepts at ZEISS Medical Technology's development site in Northern California in the San Francisco Bay Area. His teams develop novel technologies to diagnose, monitor, and manage chronic eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. These technologies are then integrated in products like ophthalmic OCT retina imagers, fundus cameras, and visual field testers.

Dr. Straub has been contributing to ZEISS' ophthalmic portfolio since 2003 in different roles in research and development, ranging from Systems Engineer to Program Manager, Optics Manager, Systems Engineering Manager and, most recently, Director of Advanced Technology and Concepts.

Prior to joining ZEISS, Dr. Straub received his Ph.D. in optical sciences at the University of Arizona's Optical Sciences Center, where he researched ocular wavefront sensing and refractive surgery. He earned his master's degree (Dipl. Ing.) in mechanical engineering at the University of Stuttgart in Germany, focusing on laser materials processing, optics and precision mechanics.

Spectroscopy applications in agriculture
11:00 – 11:15

Spectroscopy applications in agriculture


Speaker: Dr. Jochen Hallmann

As population growth and limited farmland have strained the capacity to produce enough food, experts have stepped up efforts to explore and refine technical solutions that improve food production, quality and safety. Near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy helps to deliver objective data the food and agriculture industries are using to maximize quality and efficiency.

Farmers need non-destructive, accurate, rapid, and user-friendly tools to use on the farm to give them detailed information on the physical and chemical properties of crops at every stage of their growth. They also need to monitor the maturity and quality of their products. Quality control also continues beyond the farm and is necessary for the supply chain and retailing. NIR is providing vital solutions in agriculture for these purposes. This presentation gives a general background on NIR and provides information on how NIR is specifically being used in different areas of agriculture.

Speaker biography
Jochen Hallmann studied chemistry in Düsseldorf, Germany, and earned his Ph.D. in the field of the synthesis of new electrochromic fluorescent dyes and investigating their spectroscopic properties. He worked in various positions, including project management, product management and key accounting in the optical industry, offering solutions for laboratory and process analytics. He joined ZEISS Spectroscopy as Head of the Agriculture and Food field of business in July 2020.

Closing remarks
11:15 – 11:45

Closing remarks

ZEISS International Day of Light

Speakers: Dr. Nancy Hecker-Denschlag & Dr. Zahra Nafar


Dr. Zahra Nafar

Senior Systems Engineer, ZEISS Medical Technology, USA

Dr. Nancy Hecker-Denschlag

Research Associate, ZEISS Medical Technology, Germany

Dr. Heiko Feldmann

Head of Roadmap, ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Germany

Dr. John Notte

Chief Scientist, ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, USA

Dr. Christoph Hauger

Director of Advanced Development, ZEISS Medical Technology, Germany

Dr. Christoph Graf vom Hagen

Head of Advanced Development for X-ray Microscopy, ZEISS Industrial & Quality Research, USA

Ralf Wolleschensky

Senior Principal, ZEISS Industrial & Quality Research, Germany

Dr. Benjamin Völker

Senior Expert, ZEISS Consumer Markets, Germany

Dr. Bettina Friedl

Head of Vision Technology Solutions, ZEISS Consumer Markets, Germany

Dr. Niranchana Manivannan

Manager of Algorithm Development, ZEISS Medical Technology, USA

Dr. Jochen Straub

Director of Advanced Technology and Concepts, ZEISS Medical Technology, USA

Dr. Jochen Hallmann

Head of Agriculture and Food, ZEISS Spectroscopy, Germany

175th Company Anniversary

Challenge the limits of Imagination

The 175th Company Anniversary

When ZEISS started 175 years ago, we and our customers were inspired by curiosity, passion and precision – new perspectives that shaped how we looked at the world. To see major challenges and turn them into great opportunities. Despite the many ways the world has changed over the past 175 years, one thing will stay the same: Together we challenge the limits of imagination.