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Optical Analytics in the Capital Region Berlin-Brandenburg

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  • Brandenburg
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  • Aerospace
  • Astronomy
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  • Berlin
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  • Spectroscopy
  • Adlershof
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14 History of

14 History of Optical Analysis in Berlin-Brandenburg Optical measurement instruments continued to be developed throughout the 1920s and 1930s (e.g. Wilhelm Kösters’ (1876- 1950) inferometers for measuring lengths in 1928 and the PTR’s pyrheliometer to measure direct beam solar irradiance in 1931). Of crucial importance was the start of Electron Optics at this time. Ernst Ruska (1906-1988) and Max Knoll (1897- 1969) built the first electron microscope in 1933 at the TH Berlin and helped Siemens Company to present the first commercial electron microscope in 1939, which allowed much higher spatial resolution than conventional microscopes. Ruska received the Nobel Prize for his invention more than 50 years later in 1986 together with Binnig and Rohrer from the IBM Labs in Switzerland for their later invention (1981) of the scanning tunneling microscope. Ernst Ruska: Electron Microscope (1933) © Deutsches Museum, München, Archiv, BN53194 (Archive of the German Museum in Munich) 1950. What remained in Berlin became a branch of the new PTB. A similar fate befell the KWG Institutes, which joined the Max Planck Society, founded in Göttingen in 1948. Competition between East and West during the Cold War and Berlin’s role as a showcase city led to the establishment of major new institutions, including the “Free University” Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin – FU Berlin) in 1948 and the Hahn-Meitner-Institute Berlin (HMI) in 1959. Occasionally new businesses were also established, such as Berliner Glas (1952) and Semperlux (1948, now Selux). In East Germany and East Berlin, Humboldt’s ideal of unifying research and teaching was abandoned. Humboldt-Universität Berlin (name of the University of Berlin from 1949) was given responsibility for the dissemination of information. But basic research and apparatus engineering in the field of optical analysis was carried out by Carl Zeiss in Jena and by elements of the East German Academy of Sciences (Akademie der Wissenschaften – AdW, reopened in 1946), specifically the Central Institute for Photonics and Spectroscopy (Zentralinstitut für Optik und Spektroskopie – ZOS in 1948/57, the Central Institute of Electron Physics (Zentralinstitut für Elektronenphysik – ZIE in 1950/58) and the Center for Scientific Instrumentation (Zentrum für Wissenschaftlichen Gerätebau – ZWG in 1956/73). During the Nazi period (1933-45), Berlin lost its leading position as a scientific hub owing to the loss of human capital that resulted from the political circumstances and from accelerated rearmament. The turmoil of World War II (1939-45) eventually led to the division of Germany and Berlin (1945/49), which also had an impact on the optics cluster. In West Berlin, some traditional institutes continued to exist, such as the Berlin Institute of Technology (Technische Universität Berlin – TU Berlin) the successor to TH Berlin since 1946, the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung – BAM), as well as companies like Schmidt+Haensch and R. Burger & Co (until 1982). Others developed expertise outside the field of optics or left the enclave altogether. Thus the PTR passed its legacy on to the new National Metrology Institute of Germany (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt – PTB), which relocated, together with its optics department, to Braunschweig in German Academy of Sciences of the GDR (1950) © Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-S97609, Gustav Köhler (German Ferderal Archive), CC-BY-SA-3.0 One element that optical research in East and West Berlin had in common was the rapid assimilation of laser technology, which ultimately forms the basis of optical measuring technology today. Physicist Theodore Maiman (1927-2007) built the world’s first working laser in May of 1960 in the United States, based on preliminary theoretical work by Arthur L. Schawlow (1921- 1999), Charles H. Townes (1915-2015) and others. Maiman’s ruby laser and his ongoing developments sparked a veritable

History of Optical Analysis in Berlin-Brandenburg 15 “laser euphoria” in the 1960s. Soon after, at the TU Berlin, Horst Weber and Gerd Herziger, both postgraduates in Prof. Hans Boersch’s (1909-1986) laser research group, constructed the first independent solid-state and gas lasers in 1961-62. Physics Department at TU Berlin fast developed into a center of West German laser research. In further consequence, Hans J. Eichler initiated the optical analysis for liquid crystals and photosynthesis in bacteria and green plants on the basis of laser technology. Meanwhile, In East Germany, Prof. Paul Görlich (1905- 1986), research director at Carl Zeiss and co-director of ZOS, initiated a laser development race between Jena and East Berlin starting in 1960. Berlin won the race by a narrow margin, when, in August 1962, Kurt Lenz constructed East Germany’s first laser. In the years that followed, both East and West Germany achieved remarkable advances with lasers but also with other technological advancements that are now the basis of industrial applications and measuring systems. In East Berlin, ZOS, for instance, developed lasers for polarization spectroscopy in carbon dioxide as well as for hydrogen carbonate detection using laser-induced fluorescence with fs-pulses. First-class spectrometers used in X-ray fluorescence analysis were among the instruments produced at ZWG, which was headed up by Norbert Langhoff starting in 1970. The Institute from Adlershof supplied precision instruments to all parts of the Soviet bloc, which provided for high levels of performance despite limited resources. In 1991, ZWG had 12 instrument lines and more than 1,700 employees. two parts of the country were able to overcome by successfully finding common ground. Though the former AdW institutes were liquidated, important workgroups were preserved in newly established institutions. These included the Ferdinand-Braun-Institute (Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik – FBH), which emerged in 1992 from ZOS and ZIE; as well as the Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy (Max Born Institut für Nichtlineare Optik und Kurzzeitspektroskopie – MBI), another successor of ZOS which was established in 1991-93. In Berlin-Adlershof, former AdW members founded about 100 companies. Among them was Prof. Langhoff from the ZWG, who founded the Institute for Equipment Building (Institut für Gerätebau GmbH, now the Institute for Scientific Instruments GmbH – IfG) in 1993. IfG focuses its research on X-ray optics and constructs patented X-ray color cameras, among other things. Together with West German physicist Dr. Helmut Wittek, Dr. Albrecht Kruger, formerly of ZWG, founded SENTECH Instruments GmbH in September 1990. The company, which started with four people, is now one of the leading producers of thin film measurement technologies and also manufactures spectroscopic ellipsometers. In 2014, the company’s global operations employed over 50 people. Other AdW spin-off companies include Lasertechnik Berlin GmbH (LTB, founded in 1990) and LLA Instruments GmbH (LLA, founded in 1993). The LTB specializes in short-pulse lasers in the whole optical spectral range, and in different spectrometers and laser-based measuring techniques, now West Berlin optics research also continued to develop, as exemplified by the research contributions of HMI. An important prerequisite for this development was the establishment of large-scale facilities such as the Berlin Experimental Reactors BER (1958) and BER II (1973) in Wannsee, used to study nuclear chemistry and the effects of radiation as well as the Berlin Electron Storage Ring Society for Synchrotron Radiation (Berliner Elektronenspeicherring-Gesellschaft für Synchrotronstrahlung – BESSY) in 1979. The synchrotron radiation furnished by BESSY I was used in research with ultraviolet and X-rays as well as in the measurement of spectrometers. With German reunification in 1990, optical analysis in Berlin-Brandenburg once again faced major upheaval, which the The Berlin Electron Storage Ring for Synchrotron Radiation – BESSY I (1982) © Archiv der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (Archive of the Max-Planck-Society)

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