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.
The average age of population continues to increase: the aging of society and the decreasing birth rate will have an increasing dynamic effect on society in the coming decades. Likewise, the need for accompanying medical care will increase. It is crucial today to develop innovative and gentle methods of diagnosing diseases early and to more precisely monitor the effect of different therapies and better adapt therapies to individual needs. In the future, technological solutions and commercial methods must be established to cover currently unmet medical needs by combining the triad of technology, application, and production.
At IPHT research is being performed on the use of light as a tool in the early detection and treatment of diseases. The possible fields of application in medicine are multifaceted. Leibniz-IPHT likewise offers a wide variety of solution approaches. State-of-the-art spectroscopic and microscopic imaging methods make it possible to gain unique insights into tissue structures, cells, and molecules. Processes that were previously hidden are made visible in this way. Germs and bacteria can be quickly and positively identified using rapid point-of-care (POC) tests, and pharmaceuticals can be checked. Current research projects focus on spectroscopic analysis to determine infectious pathogens and tumor cells circulating in blood samples. The use of highly-sensitive fiber sensors, for example in endoscopes, leads to new methods of diagnosis.
Leibniz-IPHT coordinates the research alliance "Leibniz health technologies". As part of the Jena Research Campus InfectoGnostics, IPHT is researching and developing new technologies for the diagnosis of infections. The Campus – which is a public-private partnership supported by the Federal Research Ministry and the Free State of Thuringia – is located at the Center of Applied Research at the University of Jena.
Optical technologies contribute to the better understanding of diseases, their early detection, and their targeted and gentle treatment or prevention.