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Cluster Report Photonics in the Capital Region Berlin-Brandenburg

  • Text
  • Imaging
  • Photonics
  • Berlin
  • Optical
  • Laser
  • Technologies
  • Optics
  • Microsystems
  • Components
  • Brandenburg

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6 Cluster Report Optics and Photonics – Editorial 1.2 Editorial “When it comes to optics and photonics, Berlin Brandenburg is certainly already in second or third place in the world, behind Silicon Valley and the Tokyo region.” Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Martin Schell Interview with Photonics Cluster Spokesman, Prof. Martin Schell Prof. Schell, in October 2017 you became the new chair of the board for OpTecBB e. V. and spokesman for the Berlin Brandenburg Photonics Cluster. How do you assess the work of the cluster in recent years and the current state of the optics industry in Berlin Brandenburg? The Berlin Brandenburg Photonics Cluster has seen considerable growth in recent years. For that, I would like to thank in particular my predecessor, Prof. Tränkle, for his hard work the past six years. In the early days of the cluster, he managed to give optics and photonics in Berlin significantly improved visibility in the region. This has helped us a lot. Internationally, the industry is now aware of the importance of Berlin Brandenburg as a business location. Another great success for the region has been the Research Fab Microelectronics Germany established by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research at the beginning of 2017. Investments of 350 million euros for this project went into microelectronics and photonics, whereas 117 million euros have been invested in Berlin Brandenburg. This sum is largely being used for photonic technologies at the IHP GmbH – Innovations for High Performance Microelectronics, the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut fuer Hoechstfrequenztechnik (FBH), the Fraunhofer IZM, and the Fraunhofer HHI. What do you expect to see over the next five to ten years? Which topics will become more important; what should be tackled and promoted? The growth in optics and photonics has largely been driven by the use of fibre optic to transmit data on the Internet. In the years to come, many other optics-based technologies will come to the fore, such as the quantum technologies. The optical sensors that are needed in self-driving cars will need to be further developed. Medical sensors with optical technologies will allow the practice of personalised medicine. All these are topics requiring a lot of research and development and I think that the Berlin Brandenburg Cluster is in a very good position to take the lead. In your opinion, which aspects of the cluster should carry on and where is there room for improvement? The Berlin Brandenburg Photonics Cluster is functioning quite well, but there is still room to develop our public relations and web presence. We also need to integrate new topics such as quantum technology and consider them in our work. Otherwise, I am very pleased to be able to build on Prof. Tränkle’s successful work. Knowledge transfer: using the results of research commercially. How can patents, products, companies, and employees be kept here in the region? Do you have a good example you could share? The work of the OpTecBB e. V. helps interested researchers make contact with potential employees on the market at a very early stage. These early connections later make it easier to evaluate market opportunities and find partners for commercialisation. In addition, Fraunhofer has founded the Berlin Center for Digital Transformation to support the economic exploitation of research. A good current example from Berlin is the start-up Sicoya, which is working on the commercialisation of silicon photonics. This project was developed at TU Berlin and has made the leap from research to start-up. The coming digitalisation of many areas of life is an essential topic for the entire world to address. How do you assess the potential for optical technologies and photonics and what possible projects do you see for the region? Digitalisation and photonics are not limited to data transmission via fibre optic. 3D sensor technology, for example, digitalises objects for quality control or replication. 3D printing

Cluster Report Optics and Photonics 7 uses scanning lasers to create objects and is now finding its way into the private sector. The self-driving car will only really be possible by digitalising the environment, for example, with the help of the LiDAR optical radar. Although many people are unaware of this, the fibre-optic cables commonly used for data transmission nowadays can be intercepted by relatively simple means. There are optical ways to prevent or at least detect this. In the distant future, there may be a quantum computer based on photonics that will significantly surpass the power of today’s computers. I think that, with a dense, yet broad research landscape and about 400 SMEs working in these fields, Berlin Brandenburg will be very well positioned, indeed. The future world market leader for one of these topics could easily come from the capital region. International attractiveness of the region for companies and employees: How attractive is the region and what can be done to make it even more attractive to companies and employees? Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Martin Schell © Die Hoffotografen GmbH Berlin I think that Berlin Brandenburg is already second or third in optics and photonics, behind Silicon Valley and the Tokyo region. Our international visibility is already quite good, thanks also to the support of Berlin Partner and joint booths at trade shows. These stands have quite a reputation at the fairs and are popular with visitors. They help to achieve a visibility and attractiveness that we couldn’t achieve on our own. Interview conducted by Markus Wabersky VITA After positions at the University of Tokyo, in management consulting (Boston Consulting Group), and in industry (Infineon Fiber Optics), Martin Schell now heads the Fraunhofer HHI in Berlin together with Prof. Wiegand. He is Prof. for Optoelectronic Integration at TU Berlin, a member of the board of the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC), chairman of the board of the industry association OpTecBB e. V., member of the board of stakeholders of the European technology platform Photonics21, and a member of the public policy committee of the Optical Society of America.

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