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.
Passive fiber-optic modules based on special optical fibers made of very different materials (silica glass, melted glass, crystals, …) and geometries are the key components of numerous photonic systems. For the production and qualification of the fiber-optic components of such modules, high-resolution optical structuring methods (interferometric and dot-pattern laser exposure and a focused ion beam system), specially adapted assembly and connection technology (polarization-maintaining splicers, taper drawing units, …), and several characterization methods (e.g., optical spectra analyzers from 300 nm to 2400 nm with corresponding light sources, a materials testing machine, climate chambers, …) are available.
The main focus of the research performed by this work group is on the preparation of components for tunable fiber lasers based on fiber Bragg grating (FBG) arrays, on the further development of fiber Bragg grating sensors for extreme application conditions (e.g., temperatures above 1000°C), on shape sensor technology, and on the investigation of novel structural designs (e.g., Fabry Perot structures in fiber tapers) for miniaturized fiber sensor components. Here, the aspects of stability (e.g., photodarkening) and suitability under special environmental conditions (e.g., high temperatures, applicability in biophotonics, and medical technology) are also of great importance.