Pioneer in Laser Development to Give Keynote at ASLMS 2016


Robert Afzal, PhD, a leading expert in high power fiber laser development, will deliver the keynote address at ASLMS 2016, the Annual Conference of the American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery, Inc. (ASLMS), to be held in Boston, Massachusetts March 30 – April 2, 2016. Dr. Afzal will present "Directed Energy Lasers: Near the Tipping Point.”

Dr. Afzal is a Lockheed Martin Senior Fellow in Ship & Aviation Systems, Mission Systems and Training (MST) Business Area. In this role, he oversees the technical development and roadmaps for lasers and laser applications. His core expertise is in fiber lasers, diode pumped solid-state laser and nonlinear optics. His background includes contributions to medical energy-based devices, helping develop the Alexandrite laser for tattoo removal and diode based, optical tweezers.

“We are very excited to have Dr. Afzal give the Keynote address at the 2016 ASLMS Annual Meeting in Boston,” stated Ashish C. Bhatia, MD, FAAD, ASLMS 2016 Conference Co-Chair. “He is one of the foremost experts in laser and energy based military technology. We are fortunate to be witnessing the evolution and advances in lasers, which will allow the utilization of an entirely new array of weapons and defense systems that were previously only seen on the silver screen in science fiction movies. We look forward to hearing about how today’s discoveries and advances in laser technology will influence the future of our world.”

High Power Laser Directed Energy Systems have been envisioned for decades but beyond a few demonstrations, no systems have been fielded. Leveraging the two technology revolutions of fiber optical communications and industrial material processing; high power lasers that are powerful enough, efficient enough and small enough for fielding on tactical platforms are about to become a reality. Dr. Afzal will discuss how this last piece of the puzzle has come to be, and why it’s important.

“As fiber lasers transform military applications, we envision new treatments will also be enabled by the flexibility of the fiber laser architecture in generating wavelengths, pulse formats, power levels and fiber optic delivery systems,” said Dr. Afzal.

Dr. Afzal’s background includes years spent developing lasers for space and airborne applications. Developing the flight lasers for the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System on the ICESat Mission was his most significant accomplishment. He was the Laser Lead on the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Instrument on Mars Global Surveyor and designed the laser on Mercury Laser Altimeter on the MESSENGER mission. He holds a PhD from Brown University. After a post-doc at the Naval Research Laboratory, he took a position at Candela Laser Corp. helping develop the Alexandrite laser for tattoo removal, and diode based, optical tweezers.

For more on this year’s meeting, visit

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