"Opti-Bond" nominated for IGF Project of the Year 2018

Fused silica GRISM.
© Fraunhofer IOF, Michael Weimer
Hydrophilic direct bonding: Fused silica GRISMs with elliptical grating area.

The German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF, in German: Arbeits­gemein­schaft industrieller Forschungs­­vereinigungen) has nominated Dr. Ramona Eberhardt's “Opti-Bond” project as one of the three most promising projects for IGF Project of the Year 2018.

Every year, the AiF awards the Otto von Guericke Prize to scientists who have achieved outstanding research results within a Collective Industrial Research (IGF, in German: Industrielle Gemein­schaftsforschung) project. This year, the excellent results of the IGF project “Integrated optical modules through new bonding techniques (Opti-Bond)” convinced the Scientific Council of the AiF. In addition to Fraunhofer IOF and the Institute for Applied Physics at FSU Jena, ten business enterprises were involved in the joint project.

The field of joining technology plays a key role in the production of optical components in all branches of industry. Joining technologies are used wherever the quality and stability of joints of optical glasses must be ensured. They contribute to a considerable extent to the potential of application and innovation for optical systems. The high market relevance of joining techniques, for example for aerospace technology, information technology, laser technology and medical technology, is reflected in the broad spectrum of companies in the committee accompanying the project.

Close cooperation between the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena and the Institute of Applied Physics at FSU Jena has been able to overcome one of the limiting factors in the manufacture of high-performance optics: the thermal load capacity and power density in laser applications using polymers as joining aids. The aim of the project was therefore to develop new bonding processes for different materials that allow optical transmission even between curved surfaces at high temperatures. For this purpose, polymer-free processes of silicate and direct bonding (plasma-activated bonding and joining with ultrashort laser pulses) were made available for classical micro-optical as well as for innovative high-performance applications.

In conclusion, the “Opti-Bond” project team was able to make a significant contribution with its results to overcoming the previous performance limits of optical systems by developing new joining techniques. The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWI, in German: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie) within the framework of joint industrial research with a total sum of 410,500 euros. We warmly congratulate the participating scientists, Dr. Ramona Eberhardt, Caroline Rothhardt, Prof. Stefan Nolte and Dr. Felix Zimmermann, on their achievement and nomination.