Solutions with light

Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF




The Innovation Alliance 3Dsensation aims to change the interaction of human and machine fundamentally.

Freeform Optics Plus is a regional growth core working on the development and commercialization of innovative freeform optical systems.

Research project for setting new standards in miniaturized imaging optics in the fields of consumer electronics, life sciences, automotive and sensors.

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Atomic precision: technologies for the next-but-one generation of microchips

In the Beyond EUV project, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena are developing key technologies for the manufacture of a new generation of microchips using EUV radiation at a wavelength of 6.7 nm. The resulting structures are barely thicker than single atoms, and they make it possible to produce extremely integrated circuits for such items as wearables or mind-controlled prosthetic limbs.

Today there are already more mobile telephones than human beings on Earth – a fact that was partly made possible by enormous advances in microlithography. This field will continue to be of the utmost importance over the coming years, including for new subject areas such as industry 4.0 or the Internet of Things.

That is why experts from the Fraunhofer Institutes for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF and for Laser Technology ILT have been working since the start of 2014 on developing the basic principles for lithography at even shorter wavelengths. They are collaborating with industrial partners in the “Beyond EUV” project, which runs to the end of 2016, to develop key components for 6.7 nm wavelength technology.

These new lithographic techniques will make it possible to produce structures with a thickness of just a few atoms. There are already lots of ideas for how to use integrated circuits formed from such structures: alongside even higher storage capacity for cloud applications and big data processes, they could also be used for mind-controlled prosthetic limbs or more personalized medicine.

Measure greenhouse gases from space

ILA 2016: More robust and more accurate measurement technology

  • Space agencies examine the extent of greenhouse gases in the air via prisms and gratings in satellites
  • New technology now makes it possible to connect both components with each other so that they are suitable for space
  • New level of quality for spectral resolution has been achieved

In addition to industrial CO2 emissions, agriculture also contributes significantly to climate change: above all methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), which are released in large quantities due to livestock and fertilization. With spectrometers brought into space via satellite, space agencies are now able to measure the amount of greenhouse gases in the air. These spectrometers analyze the light reflected from the earth by dissecting it into its component colors.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena developed a way that defies the inhospitable conditions in space and does not affect the measurement result. They are working together with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the European Space Agency ESA. "We combine the optical elements with each other at the atomic scale, namely via oxygen bridges," explains Dr. Gerhard Kalkowski, scientist at the Fraunhofer IOF. "In this way, we will provide the key for high-resolution systems made of prism-grating structures to also be able to be used in space in the future."

Initial prototypes passed successfully tests by the ESA. The researchers are presenting their technology at the Berlin Air Show ILA from June 01 to 04, 2016 in Berlin (Hall 04, Booth 202). In a further step, the scientists are working on complex prism-grating structures.

Scientists received Joseph-von-Fraunhofer prize for the development of the LED array projector

Munich, 10.05.2016

Peter Schreiber, Marcel Sieler and Peter Dannberg have received this year‘s Joseph-von-Fraunhofer prize for their work on the development of the LED array projector. Among other things the jury based its decision on »the development of another German automotive engineering component that will help position German manufacturers as premium vendors.«

It took only a few years for Fraunhofer researchers to develop a miniature projector, from concept to series production. Compared to conventional models with one channel projecting one image, the LED array projector from the Fraunhofer IOF creates a bright and crisp image by overlaying hundreds of channels on one another, exact down to the pixel.

As more and more technology is built into cars, these properties are particularly interesting to the automotive industry: Individual components have to be small and very thrifty when it comes to energy consumption. This also applies to illumination, both in and on the vehicle. The LED array projector masters these challenges. »The technical advantages, particularly in automotive applications, include for example the small dimensions and ruggedness of the microoptics,« points out Marcel Sieler, former project manager at the IOF. Sieler was among those responsible for realizing the projector on an industrial basis, which has been featured in 7 series BMWs since mid-2015, creating a light carpet about four meters in length along the side of the car, illuminating obstacles and irregularities on the ground. »This is the world‘s first implementation of a complex microoptics module in a series-production car,« says Dr. Peter Dannberg, who developed the projector‘s manufacturing process. The light module is built into the BMW below the door and not in the door, as is the case with other manufacturers. Here the BMW is taking advantage of another special feature of the Fraunhofer development: »An array projector is capable of projecting bright and sharply focused images without slanted optical elements, even at very small angles of incidence,« says Peter Schreiber.

Laser Display and Lighting Conference

July, 4th - 8th, 2016, Jena

The Laser Display and Lighting Conference (LDC) is an international conference concentrated on laser displays and related technologies. LDC‘16 covers the laser display / lighting technology in the following major topical fields:

  • Lasers and light sources
  • Optical components
  • Imaging / Lighting Technologies
  • Systems and Applications

Call for Papers

You are welcome to submit a paper on one of the LDC‘16 topics. Papers should be submitted until April 14, 2016.

Innovative Gobo Projection at Control 2016

April, 26th – 29th, 2016 | Stuttgart, Germany | Hall 1 | Stand 1502

The Fraunhofer-Alliance Vision is going to present current test and measurement systems for quality assurance in production at the Control 2016. As an alliance partner, the Fraunhofer IOF will show the innovative projection principle of gobo projection.

This system can generate over 5,500 independent 3D data sets per second with more than 250,000 measuring points of an objects surface.

High-speed 3D measurement systems offer a wide range of application e.g. in production lines for in-line quality assurance at high cycle rates, in motion analysis in medical research and sports science, and in the measurement of large objects such as aircraft wings, ships or rotor blades or wind turbines.

"Photonics - Made in Jena" part of the "ODF16"

Jena, Germany, March 4th. 2016

The Fraunhofer IOF was delighted to welcome over 50 international representatives from science and industry as a part of the "International Conference on Optics-photonics Design and Fabrication" (ODF). The program was focused entirely on current topics in the optics and photonics industry. With Andreas Tünnermann, Herbert Gross, Theo Lasser, Michael Totzeck, Jan Hamkens and Thomas Pertsch presented reputable representatives of the local photonics industry and research the latest developments and ideas at the Jena site.

Afterwards the participants had the opportunity to look into the laboratories and to get in touch withthe young researchers of the Fraunhofer-Institute. They presented their visionary research projects in the fields of projection and camera technology, functional surfaces and layers and photonic sensors and measuring systems to the guests from Japan, USA and Spain.

New diamond laser 20 times more powerful

Sydney, Australia | Jena, Germany | August 14, 2015

A group of researchers from the Macquarie Photonics Research Centre in Sidney and fiber laser experts from Fraunhofer IOF are developing a diamond laser that is 20 times more powerful than previous diamond lasers.

High-power diamond lasers are especially useful in applications that require beaming power over long distances. For example, these lasers can be used for optical communications in space, laser ranging, and the tracking and removal of space debris.

As a relatively new material for creating laser beams, diamonds are currently becoming a leading technology in generating powerful beams at wavelengths where traditional lasers reach their limits.

“Diamond fibers seem to fit high-power lasers perfectly. It is very interesting to see that such an advancement is possible and I am convinced that a lot of fascinating developments will come from this” says Dr. Thomas Schreiber, who is group leader for fiber laser research at Fraunhofer IOF and part of the project from the German side.