Stifterverband Science Prize 2018

Video: Free-form – quality leap in optical systems

© Photo: Fraunhofer / Walter Oppel


Winners of the Stifterverband Science Prize 2018:
Dr. Ramona Eberhardt, Fraunhofer IOF
Sven Kiontke, asphericon GmbH
Prof. Dr. Herbert Gross, Institut für Angewandte Physik der FSU Jena
Jürgen Zosel, ORAFOL Fresnel Optics GmbH
Dr. Alexander Pillukat, Jena-Optronik GmbH
Lutz Reichmann, JENOPTIK Optical Systems GmbH
Dr. Stefan Jakobs, Optics Balzers Jena GmbH
Dr. Christian Hell, Photonic Sense GmbH
Dr. Uta Jauernig, POG Präzisionsoptik Gera GmbH
Dr. Ralf Henkel, VITRON Spezialwerkstoffe GmbH

Light is a universally employed energy source. Technologies and solutions that work with light are present in almost all industries and markets. Even science and research are unthinkable without optical systems. Spherical or aspherical optics have been predominant for many decades. In the age of digitization, short product cycles and miniaturization, though, optics also demand new functions and features. A particularly promising technology consists of so-called free-form optics. The optionally shapeable surface profiles enable new functions with significantly improved image quality. Another advantage is the particularly compact design.

A research team at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena has made decisive progress in this regard. Together with industry partners and the University of Jena, the IOF experts have explored the potential of free-form optical systems, presented innovative solutions and developed the manufacturing methods. From the high precision grinding of the lenses as well as the coating and finishing of the complex surfaces to the polishing of the lenses, the researchers had to solve a number of technical challenges.

Stifterverband Science Prize

The Stifterverband is a consortium of approximately 3,000 companies, corporate associations, foundations and private individuals formed to jointly support progress in science and education. The Stifterverband uses subsidy programs, analyses and recommendations for action to ensure the proper infrastructure for innovation: high-performance universities, strong research institutes and productive exchange between business and science. The Stifterverband is a visionary body and an initiator of reforms - the model projects it supports drive changes in the system of innovation. The Stifterverband is a renowned voice in economics and in science and is an important partner to politics in matters concerning science and education.

For more than ten years, Stifterverband has supported the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft through its Science Prize, endowed with prize money of 50,000 euros. This prize is awarded for scientific excellence in applied research projects conducted by Fraunhofer Institutes in collaboration with industry and/or other research organizations