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.
Optical glass fibers have unique optical properties which make it possible to manipulate and exploit the propagation of light in various respects. Especially by micro- or nanostructured structuring of optical glass fibers and the use of "unusual" materials have led to substantial expansion of possible applications of glass fibers and new fields of application have been developed.
The research group Fiber Sensors, located at the IPHT and consisting of a 20-member team, focuses on fundamental aspects and application-related questions of light-matter interaction based on microstructured glass fibers and their application in the fields of biophotonics, life sciences and sensor technology. Examples for specific applications are optofluidic nonlinear light sources for new spectral ranges, single-virus detection, plasmonic nanoprobes for near-field microscopy, bioanalytics, metasurfaces and metamaterials, optofluidic sensors and novel microstructured hollow core fibers for waveguiding in previously inaccessible spectral domains such as ultraviolet and mid-infrared.
Due to their ultrawide transparency and a high and strongly retarded nonlinearity, liquids in fibers offer a novel platform for soliton-based non-linear light generation. In particular the stimulation of new solitonic states and applications as a light source for the mid infrared represent the main focus of the current activities of the group.
The detection and optical analysis of single nanoobjects, such as viruses or nanoparticles, play an increasingly important role in life sciences and disease diagnostics. In the Research Group, current research targets elastic light scattering in nanobore fibers to detected freely diffusing nanoobjects such as viruses with diameters in the sub-20nm domain.
One of the most active and fascinating areas within nanophotonics are metasurfaces that allow the creation of a wide variety of optical components, such as ultraflat planar lenses or plasmonic particle traps. The group currently focuses on inverse metasurfaces, plasmonic particle traps and quasi-electrostatic Paul traps in combination with optical fibers.
The connection of plasmonics and optical fibers allows the integration of nanoprobes based on a flexible waveguide platform. The group focuses on the introduction of plasmonic nanoparticles into various types of microstructured fibers to effectively detect, e.g., pathogens. Furthermore, plasmonic nanoprobes are generated at fiber end faces in order to break the current resolution limit of near-field microscopy.
Hollow core fibers represent one of the most active research fields with fiber optics. Currently, new concepts such as cladding materials made from high-density metallic nanowire lattices (so-called "unlimited" metamaterials), hollow-core fibers with tailored disorder in the cladding or free-standing nanowire arrays with defect cores are been investigated.
The group is located at IPHT, which has a unique infrastructure for the production and characterization of nano- and microstructured optical fibers within Europe. The group is worldwide connections and has close cooperation with partners at the local university.