News › Fraun­ho­fer IOF · New rese­arch alli­ance QUANTIFISENS launched

The Ger­man Fede­ral Minis­try of Edu­ca­tion and Rese­arch is fun­ding a new regio­nal rese­arch alli­ance in Thu­rin­gia with around twelve mil­lion euros: QUANTIFISENS. Within the frame­work of this alli­ance, an inno­va­tive sen­sor plat­form based on fiber-optic and quan­tum tech­no­logy pro­ces­ses is to be deve­lo­ped. The Free State is thus to be fur­ther deve­lo­ped into the lea­ding cen­ter for spe­cial opti­cal fiber tech­no­lo­gies. With a kick­off on Sep­tem­ber 27 in Jena, QUANTIFISENS has now ente­red its three-year rese­arch phase.

© FBGS Tech­no­lo­gies GmbH State-of-the-art fiber pro­bes will be used in medi­cal ima­ging as well as for moni­to­ring digi­tal infra­struc­tures. (Sche­ma­tic diagram)

What do an ope­ra­ting room and a con­s­truc­tion site have in com­mon? In the future, they may have a lot in com­mon, because the part­ners in the new QUANTIFISENS rese­arch alli­ance are working to ensure that both will soon be using highly effi­ci­ent fiber- and quan­tum-based sen­sors. On the ope­ra­ting table, for exam­ple, to detect can­cer on the spot wit­hout having to wait for long patho­lo­gi­cal detours. On con­s­truc­tion sites, for exam­ple in tun­nel con­s­truc­tion, self-lear­ning fiber sen­sor sys­tems inte­gra­ted into the buil­ding struc­ture can, among other things, moni­tor heat deve­lo­p­ment and thus warn of fire hazards. Vibra­ti­ons can also be detec­ted to pre­vent the threat of collapse.
Sche­ma­tic repre­sen­ta­tion of the fields of appli­ca­tion of fiber probes.

The deve­lo­p­ment of such sen­sor tech­no­logy is the goal of the new rese­arch alli­ance: QUANTIFISENS stands for omni­func­tional, quan­tum-inspi­red fiber sen­sor sys­tems and descri­bes a novel, holi­stic approach to sol­ving com­plex, sen­sory pro­blems using opti­cal fibers, the rele­vant mea­su­re­ment tech­no­logy and inno­va­tive self-lear­ning soft­ware. With the slo­gan »the sens­ing [r]evolution«, the alli­ance aims to initiate a tur­ning point in the evo­lu­tio­nary deve­lo­p­ment of clas­si­cal sen­sors and even revo­lu­tio­nize them using quan­tum technologies.

Regio­nal alli­ance of 13 partners

A total of ele­ven com­pa­nies and two rese­arch insti­tu­ti­ons are mem­bers of the regio­nal alli­ance. The com­bi­na­tion of the part­ners, the majo­rity of which are loca­ted in the high-tech optics region of Jena in Thu­rin­gia – con­sis­ting of highly inno­va­tive, agile small com­pa­nies and estab­lished, pro­duc­tion-expe­ri­en­ced mar­ket par­ti­ci­pants as well as rese­arch insti­tu­ti­ons – results in effi­ci­ent lin­k­ages. With QUANTIFISENS, Thu­rin­gia pres­ents its­elf as a modern, inno­va­tive and dyna­mic player in the sec­tor of state-of-the-art sen­sor tech­no­logy. The pro­ject aims to ensure sus­tainable growth for the com­pa­nies by main­tai­ning exis­ting jobs and crea­ting new ones.

Prof. Dr. Andreas Tün­ner­mann, head of Fraun­ho­fer IOF, is the­r­e­fore loo­king for­ward to the upco­ming rese­arch work: »The incre­asing demands on accu­racy and drift sta­bi­lity of sen­sor sys­tems require a tech­no­lo­gi­cal leap towards quan­tum sen­sor tech­no­logy in the near future. Here, QUANTIFISENS will make a signi­fi­cant con­tri­bu­tion and, with the deve­lo­p­ment of a sys­tem-agile plat­form of fiber-optic tech­no­lo­gies, quan­tum-inspi­red pro­ces­ses and new soft­ware in the tar­ge­ted depth of added value, will be a uni­que sel­ling point for the region worldwide.«

Fun­ding under the RUBIN program

QUANTIFISENS is being fun­ded by the BMBF as part of the RUBIN pro­gram (»Regio­nal Entre­pre­neu­rial Alli­ances for Inno­va­tion«) with around twelve mil­lion euros. Just under four mil­lion of this will flow into rese­arch at the Fraun­ho­fer Insti­tute for Applied Optics and Pre­cis­ion Engi­nee­ring IOF.

»In par­ti­cu­lar, the Fraun­ho­fer IOF is con­tri­bu­ting its exper­tise in fiber, laser and quan­tum tech­no­lo­gies as well as scat­te­ring-based metro­logy and sys­tem inte­gra­tion,« explains Dr. Tho­mas Schrei­ber, the spo­kesper­son respon­si­ble for rese­arch issues in the alli­ance and head of depart­ment at the Fraun­ho­fer Insti­tute. »It is plan­ned to deve­lop an omni­func­tional fiber tech­no­logy to improve the sen­sor pro­per­ties of fibers and to gene­rate spe­cial wave­lengths. In addi­tion, these will be rea­li­zed tog­e­ther with tail­o­red laser sys­tems to improve reso­lu­tion in dis­tri­bu­ted fiber sens­ing, as well as novel sources and con­cepts for quan­tum ima­ging endoscopy.«

Ano­ther appro­xi­m­ately 5.5 mil­lion euros of the total bud­get will be self-finan­ced pro­por­tio­nally by the par­ti­ci­pa­ting indus­trial partners.

The QUANTIFISENS alli­ance partners

The part­ners in the alli­ance alre­ady cover the entire value chain: They include mate­rial manu­fac­tu­r­ers, fiber tech­no­lo­gists, coa­ting and struc­tu­ring experts as well as sys­tem inte­gra­tors. Thanks to exclu­sive know-how, the alli­ance thus has the opti­mal pre­re­qui­si­tes for suc­cessfully crea­ting dis­rup­tive inno­va­tions and deve­lo­ping the sen­sor tech­no­logy plat­form to mar­ket maturity.

The QUANTIFISENS alli­ance includes the fol­lo­wing part­ners: ADVA Opti­cal Net­wor­king SE, Active Fiber Sys­tems GmbH, Batix Soft­ware GmbH, epi­cin­sights c/o SMA Dev. GmbH, FBGS Tech­no­lo­gies GmbH, Fraun­ho­fer Insti­tute for Applied Optics and Pre­cis­ion Engi­nee­ring IOF, GRINTECH GmbH, hera­cle GmbH, Leib­niz Insti­tute for Pho­to­nic Tech­no­lo­gies e.V., LASOS Laser­tech­nik GmbH, Luna Inno­va­tions Ger­many GmbH, Pre­ci­Point Inno­va­tion GmbH, Quan­tum Optics Jena GmbH.

The joint coor­di­na­tor of the indus­try-dri­ven deve­lo­p­ment pro­ject is FBGS Tech­no­lo­gies GmbH.