Photonics Cluster


Prof. Constantin Leon Häfner
Cluster Director
The Photonics Cluster specializes in the research and development of processes for the generation, formation and use of light. Specifically, light is researched as a tool for industrial production. In comparison with other tools, a laser beam can be dosed and controlled with extreme precision.

Experts describe the laser beam as the only tool that works at a speed similar to that of a computer. The functions of a laser printer is based on the same principle and demonstrates the future potential of highly energized laser beams in industrial production. From Bits to Photons to Atoms boldly describes the paradigm of this future production directly from digital data. Some of the applications envisaged in the future include

  • the laser-based manufacture of function and resource-optimized metal-based parts manufactured by 3D printers or
  • large-area micro-structuring of function surfaces with high performance short-pulse lasers (photovoltaics, OLED, friction and wear-optimized surfaces).

Digital photonic production allows the direct manufacture of virtually any parts or products. Technologies that were invented over a decade ago for rapid prototyping are developing into rapid manufacturing processes for the direct production of functional parts. Rapid manufacturing processes are currently tested in initial pilot systems in automotive construction and for industrial serial production in aeronautics. The tool light is playing a central role here because of its unique properties.

The following centers form the key research areas in the Photonics Cluster: