Obituary Jean Cornillault – inventor of commercial laser diffraction and engineer at Cilas

In October 2020, we received news from former Cilas engineer Jean-Louis Duvent that the inventor of Cilas laser granulometers, Jean Cornillault, passed away on October 04, 2020 after a long illness.

Jean Cornillault is considered the inventor of commercial laser granulometry for particle size analysis. After completing his studies in mathematics, physics and optics, he first worked as an engineer at LEP (Philips Group) and LCT (ITT Group). From 1969, he was an engineer and later on senior engineer at the French company Cilas (“Compagnie Industrielle des Lasers”), where his responsibilities included laser diffraction devices. Cilas specialized in laser and optics technology and introduced commercial particle size analysis by laser diffraction as a world first in 1968 with the Granulometer 226. This laid the foundation for the successful use of laser diffraction for particle size analysis. Jean Cornillault implemented Mie evaluation in a commercial laser granulometer for the first time with the Cilas 850. In particular, the Cilas 715 and Cilas 850 instrument versions were standard instruments in their day, primarily in the building materials and ceramics sectors. These models and additionally the Cilas models 920, 930, 990 as well as Cilas 1064, 1090, 1180 and 1190 are still serviced by 3P Instruments today.

Cilas 715 and 850

The particle sizers Cilas 715 (left) and the Cilas 850 (right) were standards of their time

In addition to his work at Cilas, Jean Cornillault was a professor at the “Louis de Broglie School” (Rennes) and a lecturer at the “Ecole Centrale de Paris”. From 1995 until his retirement in 1997, he was technical director at Cilas. During his retirement, he continued to be involved, e.g. as a consultant in ECTI (International Commercial and Technical Exchange), as administrator of SEIN (Encouragement Society for National Industry) and as director of the Paul Delouvrier Institute.

At this point, we would like to express our heartfelt condolences to his family. Jean Cornillault’s achievements in the field of laser granulometry will not be forgotten.

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