The Fraunhofer Group for Light & Surfaces designs beam sources and optical systems as one of its core areas of expertise. Starting with the active, beam-emitting systems, the group’s institutes cover the entire chain of the optical design: components for beam transmission and beam shaping up to system integration. This applies to both beam sources for laser material processing as well as for measurement and data processing applications.
The group’s optical design covers an entire spectrum ranging from diffractive and refractive optical elements to integrated optical components. This, in particular, includes free-form optics and systems that combine micro-optical and conventional optical components.
Notably, the Fraunhofer Institutes IOF and Fraunhofer ILT develop complete optical systems under a single roof: from the idea through the prototypes all the way to system integration. In addition to optics, they also deal with opto-mechanical and optoelectronic system design.
For large-format optics and highly integrated systems above all, Fraunhofer IOF focuses on mechanic design and its combination with optics design, with optimizing the assembly of optical components and the necessary joining processes, designing kinematic suspensions and developing appropriate adjustment algorithms. It also concentrates on designing optical elements with low mass and high stability for space applications.
The institutes offer a comprehensive package for developing near-series customer-specific prototypes, including the design of classical optical systems by means of sequential and non-sequential raytracing, wave-optical calculations and tolerance analyzes. Optical free-form surfaces allow the design of non-imaging systems so that desired power density distributions can be generated.
Furthermore, they also offer the following services:
- Fiber coupling, one-dimensional and two-dimensional homogenization as well as beam transformation of high-power lasers
- Micro-optics for beam shaping
- Frequency stabilization and spectral superposition of diode lasers
- Modeling of thermal effects in high-power laser optics
Fraunhofer IPM and Fraunhofer IST focus on designing and dimensioning optical systems, especially for applications in the field of measurement technology and spectroscopy. Using optical systems and imaging techniques, the institutes can analyze and modify surfaces as well as 3D structures in production. Such optical systems measure so quickly and precisely that small defects or impurities can be detected even at high production speeds. For this reason, Fraunhofer IPM and Fraunhofer IST design optical systems for specific applications in order, for example, to authenticate products or to optimize processes of industrial production in real-time. Correspondingly, the services of the group’s institutes cover services from the particular application via the conceptual design all the way to constructing a prototype.