The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding a new regional research alliance in Thuringia with approximately twelve million euros: QUANTIFISENS. The aim is to develop an innovative sensor platform based on fiber-optic and quantum technology processes.
The Free State of Thuringia will thus be further strengthened to become 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.
State-of-the-art fiber probes will be used in medical imaging as well as for monitoring digital infrastructures. (Schematic illustration)
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What do an operating room and a construction site have in common? In the future, perhaps quite a lot, 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 when building tunnels, 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, and a possible collapse can thus be prevented.
The development of such sensor systems 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, sensor problems with the help of 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.
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 connections. 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, director 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. 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."
QUANTIFISENS is being funded by the BMBF as part of the RUBIN program (Regionale Unternehmerische Bündnisse für Innovation, in English: "Regional Entrepreneurial Alliances for Innovation") with approximately 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, 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, responsible spokesman for research issues of the alliance and head of department at the Fraunhofer Institute. "The plan is to develop an omnifunctional fiber technology to improve the sensing 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 fiber sensing endoscopy."
The total budget of the alliance is approximately 5.5 million euros and is self-financed by the participating industrial partners on a pro-rata basis.
COMPAMED-tradefair.com; Source: Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF