In analogy to its thematic development, the ILM organisational structure previously consisted of (1) Medicine, (2) Metrology and (3) Dental Technology (DTZ) divisions. The respective areas were each managed by one individual. In line with thematic requirements, different core competences have developed over time in these areas: microscopy and biology in medicine, photothermics in metrology, tissue optics and device development in dental technology.
When the institute's senior management structure changed, all the divisional head functions became vacant. This provided the opportunity to fundamentally change the structure of the institute. The new organisational structure put in place in January 2008 is shown in Figure 1.
The institute's basic organisational units are competence groups led by group leaders. The two groups "Device and Component Development" (predominantly consisting of engineering competence) and "Application Research" (with a focus on physical experiments) work side by side in the development of new devices and applications and together constitute the ILM's Development division, which also includes a mechanics and electronics workshop.
Large areas of the former "Industrial Metrology" division, specifically photothermal metrology, were integrated into the "Surface Analysis and Modification" group together with all the temperature and surface measurement methods, surface modification methods and respective simulation methods established at the ILM. The "Material Optics and Optical Imaging" group was transferred unchanged from the DTZ and is now one of the ILM's major cross-sectional functions. The same is true for the "Microscopic Applications and Spectroscopy" group that developed from the former Medicine division. The Biology group was established at the same time as the new group leader was hired and now brings together and expands the competences in molecular, cell and microbiology.
Clinical activities have remained part of the Laser Therapy Centre (LTZ); however, the medical part of the out-patient clinic, in particular the dermatological and dental areas, was brought together in organisational terms.
This structure brings together existing competences and minimises overlaps. This enables staff from different groups to take part in different projects according to requirements, meaning that the ILM is now able to offer a top quality one-stop shop for complex system solutions, e.g., from simulation and application research to device development and clinical testing.
Among similar research institutes, the ILM has a unique selling point in the form of the Laser Therapy Centre. The LTZ is partially operated in cooperation with the University Hospital of Ulm, which guarantees the LTZ's academic connection. There is also room for general practitioners and dentists to try laser methods. This relation to doctor's and dentists' practical needs also enables the ILM to carry out a broad range of studies that focus on clinical results as well as issues relating to patient comfort or the acceptance of the treating physicians or dentists.
Another of the ILM's "benchmarks" is the huge competence of its research institutes in the transfer of results to the development of technical devices. This combination of science and device development is also reflected by the particular expertise of the two deputy directors at the ILM.