Photonics is a strongly growing sector of the economy and a major research area in Europe. In Thuringia and in particular in Jena, the scientific and industrial location is shaped by universities, research institutes and companies in the field of optics and photonics. While the number of young, well-trained female graduates is high, women who hold a leading position in academia and high-tech industry are still underrepresented.
Environmental pollution is an issue that can only be addressed cross generationally. The pollution of natural resources is an increasing threat to human, animal, and plant life. Leibniz-IPHT is researching state-of-the-art sensor technology that can be used to monitor soil, air, and water samples. Optical technology aids in the detection of environmental pollutants and maintains quality control in the recycling of wastewater.
Whether in a dam, a sewage plant, or on the open sea: modern and efficient measurement methods and sensor technologies used in monitoring the level of contaminants and nutrients in the water are gaining importance. Oceans and inland bodies of water are the largest, most significant, and most sensitive ecosystems on earth. In addition, the right to access clean water is a basic human right. Leibniz-IPHT is researching inexpensive miniaturized fiber sensors for use in optical analysis methods. With these sensors and methods, it is possible to test bodies of water even under adverse conditions directly on site and in real time. Such solutions renders sample taking and transportation. Hereby the possibility of producing inaccurate measurement results were prevented. Furthermore the costs and the time exposure gets reduced.
A novel approach to the testing of the chemical and biological composition of soil samples includes the combination of fiber-optical components and spectroscopic imaging technologies. Micro-structured fiber probes detect chemicals and gases in the ground. An analytical evaluation is carried out with the help of a miniature spectrometer that identifies molecular components and makes it possible to draw conclusions about the quality of the soil and the substances contained therein. A similar analytical method is suited for monitoring fine dust particles in the air.