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Powering Photonic Production

14 JAN. 2019

A very clever industry incubator is taking shape on the campus of the University of Twente. It’s the latest move by Fraunhofer, Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization. With 72 institutes and research units across Germany and a research budget of €2.3 billion, this network is already making significant impact on many European societal needs. That includes health, security, communications, energy and the environment.

Dr Biba Visnjicki is Director of Business Development at the Fraunhofer Project Center in Enschede. She explained to Jonathan Marks the impact their plans will have on the European Photonics Industry.

“People sometimes forget that profits are made by manufacturing products, not in the research and development."

"Fraunhofer chose to partner with the University of Twente not only because it’s at the heart of one of the world’s leading clusters in optics and nanotechnology. But also because of its international reputation for production and manufacturing competencies.”

Photonics: measuring what cannot currently be measured

“Light-based technologies are proving to be the key to building smaller, cheaper, faster devices to solve many grand societal challenges. Photonics is already having a knock-on effect in various sectors, including

  • healthcare (precision tools in surgery, faster DNA sequencing),
  • next generation 5GPhotonics networks,
  • Ultra-Secure Quantum computing,
  • self-driving and driver-assist vehicles (LIDAR),
  • infrastructure monitoring in aircraft,
  • food safety tests for pathogens as well as environment monitoring both on earth and from space.

These are all areas that interest us in Fraunhofer.”

Most innovative companies can build a few dozen working samples of their devices. Scaling up to make 100,000 to a million pieces a year to meet growing customer demand is always more difficult.

Photonics: measuring what cannot currently be measured

“Light-based technologies are proving to be the key to building smaller, cheaper, faster devices to solve many grand societal challenges. Photonics is already having a knock-on effect in various sectors, including

  • healthcare (precision tools in surgery, faster DNA sequencing),
  • next generation 5GPhotonics networks,
  • Ultra-Secure Quantum computing,
  • self-driving and driver-assist vehicles (LIDAR),
  • infrastructure monitoring in aircraft,
  • food safety tests for pathogens as well as environment monitoring both on earth and from space.

These are all areas that interest us in Fraunhofer.”

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