19/04/2010

Terahertz technology is gaining ground

Terahertz beams have established themselves as a tool for diagnostics in addition to instrumentation and test engineering. Early in March, the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM has opened the new "TeraTec" application center for terahertz technology in Kaiserslautern. Here, the Fraunhofer experts will be making a wide range of differing terahertz systems available to companies for testing or as services.

The "TeraTec" application center for terahertz technology combines the facilities and know-how of the Fraunhofer experts and makes them available to a wide user circle. "TeraTec" has been opened on March 2, 2010 by Brigitte Klempt, Head of Section for Research and Technology at the Ministry of Education, Science, Youth and Cultural Affairs (MBWJK) Rhineland-Palatinate and the president of the University of Kaiserslautern, Professor Helmut Schmidt, together with Professor Elmar Wagner, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM and René Beigang, head of the application center "TeraTec."

Contactless inspection and destruction-free material characterization

"TeraTec" combines all the relevant techniques and systems under one roof. Professor René Beigang, likewise head of the department "Terahertz Measurement and Systems" at Fraunhofer IPM, also emphasized the capability for developing tailor-made terahertz solutions to the customer's specifications. Professor Beigang stated "In the application center companies can test whether their specific measurement problems can be solved with the help of terahertz technology." The customer's samples will be measured with the terahertz systems available at "TeraTec" and feasibility studies can be carried out; it is also possible to use mobile terahertz instruments over a certain period of time on the company's own premises. The wide range of existing terahertz systems guarantees an extensive analysis of the potential application possibilities - as the inaugural guests could convince themselves on the tour of the "TeraTec" laboratories.

The Ministry of Education, Science, Youth and Cultural Affairs Rhineland-Palatinate has invested considerable sums in the setting up of the IPM "Terahertz Measurement and Systems" department in Kaiserslautern over the last few years. On top of this, funding was provided in the context of the second economic stimulus package in order to purchase important instruments and to set up industry-capable laboratory equipment. Fraunhofer IPM's director Elmar Wagner pointed out that the working group "is now leading the field in the implementation of terahertz instrumentation engineering for industry in Germany."

"TeraTec" is integrated within the Kaiserslautern Innovation Center. University president Helmut Schmidt and Brigitte Klempt from the Section for Research and Technology at the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry are pleased about the fact that "it is possible, thanks to the close links between the Fraunhofer institutes located in Kaiserslautern and the University of Kaiserslautern, to build bridges between basic research and industrial applications at this center." Also Achim Nebel, CEO of Lumera Laser GmbH, accentuated this rapport as main strength of the Kaiserslautern region in the ensuing panel discussion. Lumera Laser sets a good example itself: Having been spun off the University in 2000 the company meanwhile is a leading manufacturer of advanced solid state lasers for industrial applications with unique selling proposition; the number of employees has increased from two in the beginning to now over 60.

Conclusion of panel discussion: bright minds in Kaiserslautern are key prerequisite

Brigitte Klempt from the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry pointed out that bright minds are a locational advantage and underlined the importance of science for the region: "The development of Kaiserslautern as a scientific location shows that all investments in research and teaching are investments in our future. The universities and non-university research institutes provide indispensable input to economic performance, and especially to both the securing and creation of high-quality jobs."

Source: Homepage of Fraunhofer IPM

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