Optics

  • A quantum walk of photons

    An electron microscope image of a so-called micropillar with an integrated quantum dot that is capable of emitting single photons.  Photo: Chair for Applied Physics, University of Würzburg

    Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

    The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer. Therefore, it is expected to work out problems in the not too far future which are virtually impossible to solve by classical supercomputers. Physicists refer to this as "quantum computational supremacy".

  • Chiral Quantum Optics: A New Research Field with Bright Perspectives

    Surprising effect: directional emission of light  TU Wien

    Surprising direction-dependent effects emerge when light is guided in microscopic structures. This discovery shows promise for both classical and quantum information processing.

    Recently, surprising physical effects were observed using special microscopic waveguides for light. Such “photonic structures” currently are revolutionizing the fields of optics and photonics, and have opened up the new research area of “Chiral Quantum Optics”. Physicists from Copenhagen, Innsbruck, and Vienna, who are leading figures in this field, have now written an overview on the topic which just appeared in the scientific journal “Nature”.

  • Coating Free-form Surfaces on Large Optical Components

    1-dimensional graded, nearly sinusoidal layer thickness curve on glass substrate (450x450 mm). © Fraunfofer FEP

    The business unit Precision Coatings at Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has special expertise in developing deposition processes for high-precision coating systems on optical components. Now, a coating technology for Deposition of laterally graded optical layers on 2D and in the future also on 3D substrates has been developed. The results will be presented at the 2nd OptecNet Annual Conference in Berlin, June 20-21, 2018.

  • Cold Molecules on Collision Course

    Schematic view of the experimental setup of the “cryofuge”. Graphic: MPQ, Quantum Dynamics Division

    Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules. 

    How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at the same time. Scientists around Dr. Martin Zeppenfeld from the Quantum Dynamics Division of Prof. Gerhard Rempe at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching have now taken an important step in this direction by developing a new cooling method: the so-called “cryofuge” combines cryogenic buffer-gas cooling with a special kind of centrifuge in which rotating electric fields decelerate the precooled molecules down to velocities of less than 20 metres per second.

  • Das MPQ päsentiert den Original-Laser

    Prof. Theodore Maiman (Foto: K. Maiman)

    Im Jahr 1960 begann eine neue Ära der Technologiegeschichte. Theodore Maiman stellte den ers-ten funktionierenden Laser der Öffentlichkeit vor. Ein kleines Gerät bestehend aus einer Blitzlampe, einem Rubinkristall und einer Hülse aus Metall. Maimans erster Laser hat die Jahrzehnte überdauert. Jetzt ist das Original im Foyer des Max-Planck Instituts für Quantenoptik (MPQ) in Garching b. München in einer kleinen Ausstellung zu sehen. Zusammen mit dem Laser präsentiert das MPQ das Original-Laborbuch von Theodore Maiman mit seinen bahnbrechenden Skizzen des Geräts. Die Ausstellung ist ab dem 12. Dezember 2016 kostenlos zu besichtigen am Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik, Hans-Kopfermann-Str.1, 85748 Garching; täglich von 9 bis 17 Uhr. Journalisten sind herzlich zur Ausstellungseröffnung am 12. Dezember 2016 um 15 Uhr im Foyer des MPQ eingeladen.

  • Diamond Lenses Make Laser Optics Significantly Lighter

    Diamond optics are characterized by significantly greater heat conductivity and a higher refractive index while also having outstanding mechanical properties. © Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen / Volker Lannert.

    Diamonds are not only a girl's best friend, but synthetic diamonds are also attractive as a material for laser optics: thanks to their extremely high refractive index and excellent heat conduction, laser optics made with them are ten times lighter than conventional laser optics. Fiber lasers in the kW range could, thus, operate with greater flexibility. Three Fraunhofer institutes have optimized the production and processing of diamonds in recent years, and the first cutting system with diamond lenses is being tested.

  • Efficiency Boost for Laser Cutting and Drilling at LASER CHINA

    © Photo Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany / Volker Lannert.  A programmable multi-beam optics with galvanometer scanner can split the laser into any number of beamlets. The resulting pattern can be changed and positioned anywhere on the workpiece.

    The Chinese market for industrial laser technology is still growing fast and so does the LASER World of PHOTONICS CHINA, which has become the most visited trade show for lasers and optical components. At this year’s trade show, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting new ideas for industrial laser applications, most of which are focused on increased efficiency of laser micro machining processes (Hall N4, Booth 4243).

  • Emission measurement: High-precision nanoparticle sensor developed

    Pic 1: The newly developed APCplus exhaust gas analyser has 20 per cent more power in order to count tiny particles faster and more accurately. ©AVL

    A research team based in Graz and Villach has developed an exhaust gas analyser that detects tiny particles faster and more accurately. CTR is the largest non-academic research centre in Carinthia and ranks among Austria’s leading research institutes in the area of smart sensors and systems integration. Its task and objective is to develop innovative sensor technologies (photonic, sensor, micro and nano systems as well as assembly, packaging and integration technologies) for industry and to integrate them in concrete applications. CTR research will therefore play a role in meeting society’s great challenges, such as energy, mobility, health, climate and security. Services range from feasibility studies, simulations and tests to prototyping and system design.

  • First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

    Graphic representation of part of a chip, showing with photon source, detector and waveguides Illustration: Münster University/Wolfram Pernice

    Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

  • Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

    An atom is trapped in the resonator between two mirrors (left). A reflected light pulse gets entangled with the atom and may fly freely as a superimposed cat state (right). Bastian Hacker, Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ)

    Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state. In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken experiment is a cat that is simultaneously dead and alive. Since Schrödinger proposed his ‘cat paradox’, physicists have been thinking about ways to create such superposition states experimentally.

  • Hannover Messe: Silver circuits on foil allow curved touchscreens

    Photochemical Metallization allows conductor paths even on flexible foils as well as on stretchable silicone. Source: Gabi Klein, INM

    To allow typing and swiping even on curved smartphones, touchscreens and electric conductor paths have also to be curved. Therefore INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials has developed a technique, which allows such conductor paths even on flexible foils as well as on stretchable silicone. INM will be presenting the so called photochemical metallization on this year’s Hannover Messe at the Stand B46 in hall 2 from 24 April to 28 April.

    Mobile phones and smart phones still have not been adapted to the carrying habits of their users. That much is clear to anyone who has tried sitting down with a mobile phone in the back pocket: the displays of such devices are rigid and do not yield to the anatomical forms adopted by the people carrying them.

  • How do cells move? Researchers in Münster investigate their mechanical features

    Fluorescent beads (green) in a one-day old zebrafish embryo. The beads injected at the one-cell stage were maintained within the embryos and did not affect their development. Credit: Hörner et al./Journal of Biophotonics

    Using an optical method, researchers at the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence have investigated the mechanical features of cells in living zebrafish embryos and manipulated, for the first time, several components in the cells simultaneously. The study appears in the Journal of Biophotonics.

    Cells form tissues or organs, migrate from place to place and in doing that their mechanical features and forces generated within them play a key role. Researchers at the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence at Münster University have now investigated the mechanical features of cells in living zebrafish embryos using the holographic optical tweezers-based method.

  • Humboldt Fellowship for research on tunable optical surfaces for Terahertz technology

    Dr. Corey Shemelya. Thomas Koziel/TU Kaiserslautern

    U.S. scientist Dr. Corey Shemelya has recently started a research stay at the University of Kaiserslautern in the form of a fellowship granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Dr. Shemelya is studying structured optical surfaces which hold potential applications in communication technology and Terahertz imaging, e.g. body scanning equipment for airport safety. Shemelya is working in conjunction with the Terahertz Technology Laboratory of Professor Marco Rahm at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the State Research Center for Optical and Material Sciences (OPTIMAS).

  • InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

    “Throwing light into the process”: Determination of chemical parameters by optical measurement through a vessel wall. Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.

    Optical process analytics – this fast and non-contact method of measuring chemical and physical parameters provides high-density information without the need to take samples. What’s more, it can be shrunk to a far smaller size and is easy to integrate into existing process lines. From its location in Aachen, Germany, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology led a consortium to analyze the future potential of this technique in cooperation with BAM and RWTH Aachen University. The purpose of the study, entitled “Inline process analytics with light – InLight” was to develop a technology roadmap and a detailed white paper that will be presented to a wider public in early 2017.

  • Matter-antimatter symmetry confirmed with precision record

    Sketch of the experimental setup used at CERN for the determination of the antiproton-to-electron mass ratio. Graphic: Masaki Hori

    CERN experiment sets precision record in the measurement of the antiproton to electron mass ratio using a new innovative cooling technique. According to the Standard Model of elementary particle physics, to each particle exists an antiparticle that is supposed to behave exactly the same way. Thus, “anti-people” in an “anti-world” would observe the same laws of physics, or make the same experiences in general, as we do. This postulate is, however, difficult to prove, since it is almost impossible to perform measurements on antimatter: whenever an antiparticle meets is matter-counterpart, both particles annihilate, accompanied by the creation of energy.

  • Microoptics – A smarter and faster way to replicate complex freeform structures

    Illuminating a structure consisting of 10.000 microprisms reveals the logo of Fraunhofer ISC.  © K. Selsam-Geißler, Fraunhofer ISC

    As a true 3D lithography technology Two-Photon Polymerization (2PP) allows to fabricate arbitrarily shaped microstructures especially suited for innovative optical applications. Up to now the technology has not reached industrial scale due to its rather limited throughput level. Fraunhofer ISC pursues different strategies to accelerate the process. The Institute presents its R&D competencies and latest technologies for optical and microoptical applications at the German Pavilion on the Photonics West in San Francisco from 31 January to 2 February 2017.

  • Nanodiscs: kleine Scheiben ganz groß

    Schematische Darstellung der Extraktion von Membranproteinen aus einer biologischen Membran (oben) unter Bildung von Nanodiscs (unten).

    Biophysiker, Biologen und Chemiker der Technischen Universität Kaiserslautern haben eine neue Art von Polymer/Lipid-Nanopartikeln entwickelt, mit denen Membranproteine im Reagenzglas und dennoch unter fast natürlichen Bedingungen untersucht werden können. Membranproteine spielen viele essenzielle Rollen beim Stoff- und Informationsaustausch zwischen und innerhalb von Zellen. Fehlfunktionen dieser wichtigen Klasse von Biomolekülen führen oft zu schweren Krankheiten, weshalb Membranproteine sowohl in der Grundlagen- als auch in der Wirkstoffforschung intensiv erforscht werden. Eine große Hürde für in-vitro-Untersuchungen - also Studien im Reagenzglas unter genau kontrollierten Bedingungen - sind dabei die hohen Anforderungen, die Membranproteine an ihre Umgebung stellen. Da diese Moleküle sich in Wasser und ähnlichen polaren Flüssigkeiten nicht lösen lassen, sind Forscherinnen und Forscher auf sogenannte „membranmimetische“ Systeme angewiesen, die die natürliche Lipidumgebung mit einer wasserabweisenden Schicht zwischen zwei wasserzugänglichen Grenzflächen möglichst gut nachbilden.

  • Neues Graduiertenkolleg der TU Ilmenau entwickelt Verfahren zur Produktion im Nanometerbereich

    Reinraum an der TU Ilmenau. Foto: TU Imenau

    Die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft hat der Technischen Universität Ilmenau die Einrichtung des Graduiertenkollegs „Spitzen- und laserbasierte 3D-Nanofabrikation in ausgedehnten makroskopischen Arbeitsbereichen (NanoFab)“ bewilligt und fördert es mit 5,2 Millionen Euro für viereinhalb Jahre. Graduiertenkollegs sind unter Universitäten sehr begehrt, denn die Förderung ermöglicht ihnen hochspezialisierte Spitzenforschung und eröffnet gleichzeitig jungen Wissenschaftlern die Möglichkeit, einen Doktorgrad zu erlangen.

  • New functional principle to generate the „third harmonic“

    Experimental optic for the generation of the „Third Harmonic“ in layer systems. (Photo: LZH)

    From the fundamentals to a concrete product: In a new, international research consortium, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) is investigating an innovative approach to the generation of the “third harmonic”. Up to now, much time and effort is necessary to generate coherent radiation in the ultraviolet spectral range. Current investigations should show whether this can be achieved with a conversion efficiency of at least 15 % in the future by means of dielectric layer systems. Subsequently, the research team will be considering the scalability and market potential of this new process, too.

  • Novel Membrane Lasers: Cool by Diamond

    Optical fiber types.

    Researchers from Stuttgart are paving the way for a new generation of semiconductor lasers!
    Lasers became popular with movies like „Star Wars“ or „James Bond“. In reality, lasers are incredibly versatile applicable tools. Physicists of the University of Stuttgart succeeded with a technological breakthrough which will extend the choice of by semiconductor lasers accessible wavelengths. This in turn will facilitate new applications. Today, depending on their power, beam quality and wavelength, lasers are used, e.g., for cutting and welding of a variety of materials or as a sensor that scans the data stored on DVDs or Blu-Ray Disks. Due to their compactness semiconductor lasers are particularly suited to be integrated in complex devices.