When using optical methods, light is used for the transfer, storage and processing of information in various fields of technology. As so called “Enabling Technologies”, optical applications are also an essential requirement for innovations in other technology fields
Optical technologies can be used as tools in a wide range of fields of application. Particularly in the display and lighting technology, measurement engineering and production technology, information and communication technology as well as in medical science and biophotonics, optical solutions are considered important key elements. Due to its interdisciplinary character, the photonics industry has considerable stimulation effects on a variety of production areas.
Baden-Wuerttemberg disposes of an excellent industrial infrastructure for the development and production of optical technologies. Thereby, the photonics industry does not only act as major employer of highly-qualified experts. With renowned companies like the Carl Zeiss AG, Sick AG and the Karl Storz GmbH & Co. KG or smaller enterprises, such as the globally operating manufacturer of array-based spectroradiometers, J & M Analytik AG, Baden-Wuerttemberg's photonics industry also holds a leading international position in this sector.
The research landscape of the photonics industry in Baden-Wuerttemberg is characterized by an enhanced application orientation. Besides the Institute for Laser Technologies in Medicine and Measurement Technology at the University of Ulm (ILM), the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques (IPM), the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics (IAF) and the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics System Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB), the most important research institutions of Baden-Wuerttemberg also include the University of Stuttgart with the Stuttgart Research Center of Photonic Engineering (SCoPE), the KIT's Karlsruhe School of Optics & Photonics as well as the University of Constance with the Centre of Applied Photonics (CAP).
The network Photonics Baden-Wuerttemberg takes on a key role with regard to networking activities within the industry. The network aims to promote the research and development of optical technologies and to strengthen the dialogue between stakeholders from economy, science and politics.
In the coming years, the industry is expected to show a very high level of growth. Notably the laser technology, including the processing of materials by laser, the optical measuring and signal processing technology as well as nanooptics will hereby be of major relevance.