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.
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.