From August 1st, 2022, the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) will expand its research portfolio with its new „Smart Photonics“ Working Group. The physicist, Dr. Mario Chemnitz, will establish a new group at the institute over the next five years thanks to the CZS Nexus funding from the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung to research smart processors for modern diagnostics.

As head of the new „Smart Photonics“ Working Group Dr. Mario Chemnitz will work together with his team on the diagnostics of the future at the interface of biology, physics, and data science. The 1.5 million euros grant from the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung enables to build a multidisciplinary team and a state-of-the-art laboratory to develop a fully fiber-integrated intelligent sensor and microscopy system. At the heart of this system are fiber-integrated, neuromorphic processors that take on individual tasks from the field of artificial intelligence (AI) in order to recognize patterns quickly and autonomously in large amounts of data, for example on images or in signals. In the future, fiber-optic processors will significantly accelerate spectroscopy and offer the potential to detect objects microscopically without a camera and to measure cells autonomously.

After three years of research as a postdoc at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS) in Canada, Dr. Mario Chemnitz will return to Leibniz IPHT in 2022. In 2019, he received his doctorate with honors and was awarded the Friedrich Hund Ph.D. Award of the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation and the Science Prize „Life Sciences and Physics“ of the Beutenberg Campus Jena e. V. for his scientific contributions to solitons in liquid-core fibers.

„I am honored to receive the CZS Nexus funding from the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung. This support, as well as the trust placed in me by Leibniz IPHT to be allowed to establish and lead my own group, is a great pleasure and recognition. It shows how much potential the vision of a new generation of diagnostic tools based on light-driven neural processors has. I am looking forward to conducting research on this topic together with an interdisciplinary team at Leibniz IPHT in the coming years,“ says Dr. Mario Chemnitz.

CZS Nexus funding programme of the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung

The CZS Nexus funding of the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung supports postdocs on their scientific career path. The funding of 1.5 million euros enables young scientists who wish to implement ideas at interfaces between various STEM fields to set up their own research groups over a period of five to six years.

„It is precisely the disciplinary interfaces that offer enormous potential for scientific innovation, but they don’t get much of a chance in conventional funding programmes,“ says Dr. Felix Streiter, Managing Director of the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung. „The Nexus programme therefore consistently focuses on the connection between different disciplines.“

In 2022, five scientists were funded by the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung in the CZS Nexus programme.

About the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung

The Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung’s mission is to create an open environment for scientific breakthroughs. As a partner of excellence in science, it supports basic research as well as applied sciences in the STEM subject areas (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Founded in 1889 by the physicist and mathematician Ernst Abbe, the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung is one of the oldest and biggest private science funding institutions in Germany. It is the sole owner of Carl Zeiss AG and SCHOTT AG. Its projects are financed from the dividend distributions of the two foundation companies.

In the picture:
Dr. Mario Chemnitz is one of the five scientists funded by the CZS Nexus Programme of the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung in 2022
©Mario Chemnitz