Optical Systems

In real-world applications, optical materials, devices and spectroscopic approaches are integrated into optical systems. Examples are sensing and machine perception systems, laser based manufacturing, optical metrology for production monitoring, and optical communications. Research and development have led to tremendous performance improvements and have enabled new fields of applications. Thus, the market for optical systems has grown considerably throughout the last five years.

KSOP research in this area addresses a wide variety of optical systems with a broad spectrum of applications. For example, driver assistance systems have significantly reduced accidents of automobiles. The development of three-dimensional visual perception systems for autonomous vehicles is one of our long-term goals. Similar approaches form the basis for cognitive machines and robots. Furthermore, our research addresses the ever increasing demand for more energy efficient, ultra-high bandwidth optical communication systems. This requires novel architectures and data-transmission schemes that take advantage of newly emerged linear and non-linear photonic devices (see Research Area I). In addition, novel optical sensor systems for visual inspection as well as optical lab-on-a-chip systems for biomedical purposes are investigated within KSOP.

Future Aims & Goals

Future research in the field shall investigate Bayesian techniques for robust three-dimensional optical scene perception and scene understanding for mobile machines. We aim at fully autonomous navigation of robots and vehicles. The long-term impact of such technological advances can hardly be overestimated. Accident-free automobiles and fully automated multimodal logistics are two innovations enabled through optical scene perception. Furthermore, we will further increase the energy efficiency and band-width of optical communication systems by the integration of novel photonic signal processing concepts that combine the advantages of energy-efficient passive photonic circuits with FPGA-based digital techniques. The third field offering unprecedented innovations is addressed by lab-on-a-chip optical systems. The integration of optical and fluidic functions on one chip and an increased sensitivity by applying both fluorescent and label-free biomedical detection with efficient read-out schemes will be in the focus of future research in this field.

Research Highlights

  • Autonomous Vehicles
  • High Bit-rate Optical Communications
  • Lab-on-a-chip Systems

Participating Institutes and Research Groups

Institute for Measurement & Control Systems

Speaker of Research Area IV

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christoph Stiller

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Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Koos

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Light Technology Institute

Prof. Dr. Cornelius Neumann

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Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Randel

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Institute for Information Processing Technologies

Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Stork

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M.Sc. in Optics & Photonics

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Ph.D. in Optics & Photonics

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