National Photonics Lab planned in Jena, Germany

14 August 2017

On 17 July, the German Federal Government's Science Council published its assessment for the next generation of research infrastructures in Jena, Germany, home to several research institutes and startup centers. Among the twelve submitted concepts was the 'National Photonics Labs' (NPL) project, which was jointly funded by the Jena Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Mechanics IOF together with its partners from the Helmholtz Center DESY Hamburg, GSI Darmstadt, and Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt Berlin (PTB).

After the announcement, SPIE Fellow Andreas Tünnermann, director of the Institute of Applied Physics at the Fraunhofer Institute IOF, noted that, "We are happy about the positive feedback from the Science Council on our concept for a national infrastructure. Within NPL, we will target future challenges in optics and photonics in science and industry in close collaboration with our partners from DESY, PtB, and the Fraunhofer Society."

According to its website, the NPL will be operated as a user facility, with embedded scientists working for a certain time, exploring the controllability of light, from attosecond physics and quantum technology to high-power lasers and astrophysics. All these cases require special optical components and systems with outstanding technical specifications far beyond what the current commercial supplier can deliver. The NPL was created in response to this growing demand.

Construction of the approved concept is planned for 2018 through 2022, and operation could start in 2023. The next step, according to Tünnermann, is the development of a cooperation agreement, signed by all partners.

For more information:

NPL Concept
Rendering of the National Photonics Lab in Jena, Germany
(Courtesy of Fraunhofer IOF/INNIUS DÖ GmbH)