Future-oriented research: Leibniz IPHT receives top marks from the Leibniz Association
Leibniz IPHT will continue to be jointly funded by the Federal Government and the Free State of Thuringia for the next seven years. This was recommended by the Leibniz Association’s Senate on July 15, 2020, after completion of the regular scientific review. With its excellent achievements in the research of light-based technologies for medicine, environment and security and its strong regional and international networking, Leibniz IPHT is of great importance for Jena as a science location, the Leibniz Association judged. Leibniz institutes are jointly funded by the Federal Government and the Länder on account of their supra-regional relevance and a national interest in science policy and are reviewed for these and other criteria at least every seven years.
Leibniz IPHT’s mission is to use modern light-based methods to contribute to faster and more accurate medical diagnostics, safe medicines, a new quality of food and water analysis and innovative safety technology. Leibniz IPHT has played a decisive role in Jena’s development into a location of international visibility in the forward-looking field of biophotonics and research into optical health technologies. This is the assessment of a commission of international experts from science and politics, which the institute examined in the course of the evaluation for the Leibniz Association.
Excellent research results and an infrastructure unique in Germany
The scientists at Leibniz IPHT achieved very good to excellent research results, the evaluation group attested. In an excellent infrastructure: with the ultra-modern fiber drawing plant, a clean room and the large number of optical laboratories, it is unique in Germany. In addition, Leibniz IPHT is working very successfully to transfer research results into applications — especially into the clinic.
„We are very pleased about the positive evaluation, which motivates us to further develop our technologies for better diagnostics and therapy,“ said Prof. Jürgen Popp, scientific director of Leibniz IPHT. „In view of the corona pandemic, we are experiencing how urgently we need better methods that can be used everywhere. No less urgent is the threat posed by multidrug-resistant bacteria“.
Jena made internationally visible as a biophotonics location
Leibniz IPHT has excellent regional and international networks. On the one hand, it has succeeded in attracting internationally renowned researchers to the institute and, on the other hand, it has further developed the proven, fruitful cooperation at the Jena location, the experts praised. In addition to Leibniz IPHT’s participation in several DFG-funded Collaborative Research Centres at the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena and the only cluster of excellence in Thuringia, the planned Leibniz Centre for Photonics in Infection Research (LPI) in Jena is a prime example of this. The user-open center is scheduled to open in 2026 and is supported by the Leibniz-IPHT, the University and University Hospital and the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute.
„We would like to thank all members of the evaluation group for the fair procedure and the constructive assessment of our work,“ emphasizes Jürgen Popp. „We find their recommendations extremely helpful for our future plans.“ In order to further advance research into optical health technologies and open up new disease patterns, the Leibniz-IPHT intends to strengthen its activities in the field of infrared biospectroscopy in the future. The institute is also pursuing plans for an extension on the Beutenberg campus.
Raman Microspectroscopy for Microbiology
Raman microspectroscopy is a fast and non-invasive technology to determine the chemical composition of living microorganisms in near real-time. Jürgen Popp, together with an international team of expert scientists, describes the technical aspects of Raman analysis and practical approaches on how it can be applied to microbiological problems. The researchers recently published their introduction to the methodology and its potential for microbiology in Nature Reviews Methods Primers.
Next generation textiles: Smart materials generate electricity and support temperature regulation through cooling
Researchers are developing a self-sufficient energy supply based on textiles. In this way, it should be even easier to supply mobile electronic devices worn close to the body with energy. Smart textiles use the warmth emitted by the human body and convert it into electricity. Their also cooling properties make the new materials interesting for safety-relevant applications.