In the “Optics“ business division, Fraunhofer IKTS designs and supplies ceramic materials, components, and systems for lighting, medical and laser technology, optical measurement and diagnostic systems as well as ballistic applications.

Optical technologies are drivers of innovation and growth. This fact applies to lighting – as in resource-friendly LEDs, for instance – but also to minimally invasive medical diagnostic systems and contact-free measuring devices. With the aid of competitive technologies, Fraunhofer IKTS transfers basic scientific expertise to products that demonstrate high perfor­mance capacity and solid reliability. This technology chain begins with the material and ends with integration into complex systems.

For years now, Fraunhofer IKTS has been the global leader in the development of transparent armor ceramics with special ultrafine crystalline structures and superior mechanical proper­ties. These polycrystalline ceramics exhibit the kind of superior quality that makes them suitable for use in optical or photonic applications that require a high degree of optical homogeneity and mechanical stability while simultaneously keeping absorp­tion and scatter loss to a minimum. Phase synthesis and de­fined doping lead to optically active materials, such as lumi­nescent materials for example phosphors, i.e., materials for which a high quantum yield, defined color temperature and long afterglow times represent quintessential parameters. By combining the know-how of transparent ceramics with the tailored powder synthesis active optoceramics with a homoge­neous distribution of dopants in the ceramic matrix are devel­oped at Fraunhofer IKTS. These components have both active as well as good mechanical and thermal properties, and are suited for a diversity of applications in the field of optoelec­tronics. Of increasing importance for the business division are optical systems – specifically those involving reflection instead of transmission, and are used as high-performance compo­nents in laser and aerospace engineering.

Optical methods hold particular appeal and potential for rapid and cost-effective condition monitoring of materials, modules, and industrial and biomedical processes. Optical procedures can demonstrate their benefits wherever measurements must be contact-free or performed in extreme conditions. At Fraun­hofer IKTS, new and established methods are being developed and integrated as a comprehensive system into the respective process, based on customer specifications. In addition to pro­cesses built on the interaction of light and material, the insti­tute also focuses on optically active nanosensors in the devel­opment of optical measurement and diagnostic systems.