Optical systems of the future

The project consortium fo+ receives the science award "Research in the Group" of the Stifterverband der Deutschen Wissenschaft for innovative approaches in manufacturing freeforms.

asphericon CEO Sven R. Kionte (5th from left) with the other award winners on the evening of the Fraunhofer Annual Conference at the Bolle Festival Halls in Berlin (© Fraunhofer | Ines Escherich)

asphericon CEO Sven R. Kionte (5th from left) with the other award winners on the evening of the Fraunhofer Annual Conference at the Bolle Festival Halls in Berlin (© Fraunhofer | Ines Escherich)

Science award „Research in the Group“ for freeform cluster in Jena

Jena, May 2018: The project consortium fo+ receives the science award “Research in the Group” of the Stifterverband der Deutschen Wissenschaft for innovative approaches in manufacturing freeforms. During the Fraunhofer Annual Conference in Berlin last week, asphericon, Fraunhofer IOF and all other industry partners were awarded with the 50,000 Euro prize.

Applied Research in the Group

The “Research in the Group” award is given to scientific collaborative projects in applied research that are carried out by representatives of industry and/or research organizations in cooperation with Fraunhofer Institutes. Guest speaker Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister of Education and Research emphasized the central role of humans in the significance of technical solutions during the award ceremony. “Those will only achieve great demand when people are convinced that new technology will help them to create their lives according to their standards and wishes.” Therefore, the willingness of various authorities to cooperate is also essential. “The fruitful cooperation between government, science and industry is an important key to our competitiveness.” How successful this conviction and willingness to cooperate can be is demonstrated by the Jena freeform project.

Project team fo+

Together with asphericon GmbH, the industrial partners and Fraunhofer IOF explored the potential of freeform optical systems in conjunction with the University of Jena. Due to the various competences of the network it was possible to overcome existing technical challenges. The result was a holistic technology platform that was co-financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the “Innovative Regional Growth Core” program and now received the award from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

More efficient, lighter, smaller – Freeforms

In the age of digitization optics also have to fulfill new functions and performance requirements. Thanks to their surfaces, which can be shaped as desired, freeforms are a particularly promising technology, as they have significantly better imaging properties in addition to their compact design. The idea of freeforms is not new but has not yet been able to establish itself in the economy. Until now, there has been a lack of a standardized technological production chain. Developing this was one matter of the concerns of the cooperation project.

Role of asphericon GmbH

Within the growth core “FREEFORM OPTICS PLUS (fo+)” asphericon developed a processing method for freeforms of various materials (UV, VIS, IR). These are for example used in thermographic systems for driver assistance systems. In addition, the company participated in the fundamental work in optical and mechanical design, methods for the application of optical layers on strongly opening freeform surfaces, the structuring and generation of diffractive surfaces and the development of assembly processes for the integration of freeforms.

Further information on the project and the results can be found in the article “Freiform surfaces revolutionize optical systems” published Photonik magazine (issue 6.2016) and at photonik.de.

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Dr. Thomas Hegenbart

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