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Common grounds for trans-continental photonics research

The Abbe Center of Photonics (ACP) of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) and the Australian Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices and Optical Systems (CUDOS) agree on a Memorandum of Understanding to foster trans-continental research
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The 21st century is becoming the century of optical technologies and photonics. Photonics today is a key technology in every respect, meeting challenges of globalized human society. In Jena, a medium-sized city at the heart of Germany, "Light" indeed reflects the long history of optics and photonics research and teaching, as well as the strong link between research and local industries. For more than a century, the city of Jena has been a world-leading location in the sciences of light. The breakthrough work of the physicist Ernst Abbe, the first to formulate the limit of optical resolution due to diffraction, provided the roots to develop an exceptionally strong community specializing in optics and photonics. The significance of this field continues to flourish to this day. There is hardly another place where science penetrates all aspects of life as much as it does in Jena - more than 25,000 students and junior scientists shape the city's character, and more than 15 % of Jena's residents are employed in the sector of optics and photonics. At the Friedrich Schiller University, the Abbe Center of Photonics (ACP) is the academic key player in that field: This interfaculty center projects the distinguished recognition of Jena as the "City of Light" and of the University as an international center for optical sciences to a national and international audience.

Close interconnections and collaborative schemes with numerous partners in science and industry contribute to ACP´s success. Now, it has gained another international prime partner: the Australian Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices and Optical Systems (CUDOS), an Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence merging seven Australian Universities, among them universities from Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.

Complementary expertise

Both centers will team up to tackle one of the major challenges which photonic technologies are expected to meet in the 21st century: the bottleneck of electronic components in the IT industry. When the first computers emerged more than 70 years ago, they were still space filling behemoths. Ever since, the next-generation computer chips have not only become much more powerful, but also smaller by orders of magnitude. However, the end of this development seems in reach as the miniaturization of electronic components does have physical limits. Many scientists and engineers believe that the signal processing by means of light will play an increasingly important role in the near future. In addition, optical components are less susceptible and more sustainable as, for instance, less pure and thus less expensive silicon is needed for their production. The photonics community therefore shares the vision to develop unprecedented fast, small and cheap optical computer chips. At this point, the interests of ACP and CUDOS overlap: While ACP tackles this goal by exploring the fundamentals of novel photonic materials and miniaturized light sources, CUDOS fosters the development of photonic chips for all-optical signal processing. On the one hand, within ACP's core research domain "Ultra Optics", the German center's principal scientists strive to attain control of light and of all its properties, which would potentially allow for using light as an instrument, tool or carrier of information. Among others, ACP combines laser physics, nanooptics, photonic materials and optical design in a synergistic way. The CUDOS mission, on the other hand, focuses on integrated nanophotonics for all-optical information processing as well as on signal processing applications with excellent power efficiency. By going to single photon power levels, CUDOS scientists also aim at opening up a host of applications on the quantum scale. These exciting research opportunities will be explored by CUDOS over the coming years to develop ultrafast signal processors, quantum photonic processors, and integrated photonic devices for the mid infrared. The partnership of the two centers is an exciting match with a trans-continental reach - both centers expect that their complementary expertise will create an added value along the whole chain of research and development of future photonic components.

To that end, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on September 15, 2014 by ACP director Prof. Thomas Pertsch and CUDOS director Prof. Benjamin in Jena. The MoU was further embedded in a two-day scientific workshop on optical materials, photonic devices and nonlinear optics to ignite future collaborative projects between the centers. "We are very excited about the approach of this event. The Memorandum of Understanding and the workshop are excellent first steps in establishing and promoting long-lasting synergies in photonics research around the globe," both Prof. Eggleton and Prof. Pertsch agree.

About Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU)
The Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU) was founded in 1558 and is a member of the prestigious COIMBRA group, a network of long-established, internationally linked European universities. FSU is structured into ten faculties. With a total staff of more than 6,000 it is the largest university in Germany´s State of Thuringia. Located in the heart of the City of Jena, FSU is the focal point for the region's science and high tech enterprises, providing much of the stimulus for the incredible recent growth in these sectors. Together with its partners and regional start-up centres, FSU is a recognized model for German development of high tech start-ups.

In the past years, FSU has grown and expanded in order to take on a more global role. It has gained international reputation in a number of areas of the sciences and arts along its core interdisciplinary research fields "Light, Life and Liberty". Today, FSU cooperates with more than 150 universities and research institutions as well as several hundred partners from the private sector in a cross-fertilizing and uniquely innovation-friendly environment.

About Abbe Center of Photonics (ACP)
Due to its century-long tradition in optics, the FSU has a strong focus on photonics, which is concentrated in its interfaculty center Abbe Center of Photonics (ACP). Founded in 2010, ACP hosts the research and education activities on optics and photonics of the university and incorporates major contributions from Jena's non-university optical research institutes and photonics industry. Counting more than 40 faculty members from different disciplines, ACP shapes the future of photonics, by serving as lead partner in multiple collaborative research and education projects of national and international priority. ACP's annual budget comprises approximately 24 Million Euro of public and private third-party funding and generates, among others, a scientific output of about 450 peer-reviewed publications per year.

CUDOS stands for Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices and Optical Systems and is a research consortium between seven Australian Universities: The University of Sydney (main host of CUDOS), Macquarie University, University of Technology Sydney, Australian National University, Swinburne University of Technology, RMIT University and Monash University. CUDOS is funded since 2003 by the Australian Research Council under the Centres of Excellence program. Its mission is to lead research which creates a world-best on-chip photonic platform for information transfer and processing technologies and to translate its intellectual capital to build a community of professionals which can drive wealth creation in Australia.

Dr. Claudia Hillinger
Head of International Office
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Fürstengraben 1, 07743 Jena
Phone: +49 (0)3641 931160

Meldung vom: 2014-09-16 09:43
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