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Fundamental Physical Research for Photonic Technologies of the Future


 The German Research Foun­da­tion (DFG) announced a further renewal of the Collaborative Research Center (CRC)/Trans­re­gio 142, "Tailor-made nonlinear photonics: From fundamental concepts to functional structures". This collaborative proj­ect at Pa­der­bornUni­ver­sity and TU Dort­mundUni­ver­sity focuses on the basic principles of photonics and quantum optics in order to make advances in the field of nonlinear photonic systems, e.g., in in­for­mation and com­mu­ni­cation technology, through the targeted manipulation of light.

The CRC was initially approved by the DFG in 2013 for a period of four years and was provided with around ten million euros in funding. The second renewal, for an additional four years, was announced in 2018. Now the Trans­re­gio proj­ect is moving into its third phase. The proj­ect com­bines Pa­der­born Uni­ver­sity's ex­per­tise in the areas of photonic materials and quantum optics with TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity's ex­per­tise in nonlinear spectroscopy.

"This latest renewal will allow us to continue driving fundamental re­search forward in the areas of optoelectronics and photonics, thereby developing concepts and applications that can promote faster, more efficient and above all secure com­mu­ni­cation," says Pro­fes­sor Christine Silberhorn from the Pa­der­born Department of Physics, who is the spokesperson for the CRC. Pro­fes­sor Manfred Bayer, the local spokesperson for the CRC and President of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity, adds: "For eight years now, we have been steadily expanding the partnership between Pa­der­born and Dort­mund on the basis of our complementary ex­per­tise. We are very pleased that the reviewers have once again recognized this, along with our plans for the next four years."

Photons: Hope for a Revolution in Data Transmission

Thanks to their special properties, photons – small light particles that make up electromagnetic rays – are considered very promising for a revolution in data transmission. For instance, special methods for creating and shaping photons can potentially deliver new concepts for coding in­for­mation.

The researchers are developing tailor-made photonic systems with in­no­va­ti­ve functionalities. The goal is to support their re­search activities – from fundamental light and material physics re­search up through the application stage. They pursue an inter­dis­ci­plin­ary approach in order to realize in­no­va­ti­ve photonic systems. Critical technologies that form the basis for the development are established one step at a time as they move from fundamental re­search to application.

From TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity, in addition to Pro­fes­sor Manfred Bayer, Dr. Ilya Akimov, Pro­fes­sor Marc Aßmann, Pro­fes­sor Mirko Cinchetti, Pro­fes­sor Christoph Lange, Dr. Claudia Ruppert, Dr. Alexey Scherbakov and Pro­fes­sor Dmitri Yakovlev are involved in CRC 142.

TU physicists also involved in new CRC 1491 at RUB

The DFG has also decided to establish a new Collaborative Research Center 1491 at Ruhr-Uni­ver­si­tät Bochum (RUB). Despite the progress made in the field of astrophysics, the interaction between cosmic rays and matter is still far from being adequately understood. For this reason, the Collaborative Research Center "Cosmic Interacting Matters – From Source to Signal" seeks to systematically investigate the interplay between matter and energy with a particular focus on the energy transfer between magnetic fields, cosmic rays, thermal plasmas and dark matter. In this way, it aims to contribute to deciphering the fundamental properties of matter in the universe. Sixteen leading researchers are working to understand how regular galaxies like our Milky Way work, as well as the ones with an active, supermassive black hole at their core. To this end, theoretical astrophysical models are combined with experimental observations of all wavelengths and particles. Furthermore, CRC 1491 provides knowledge about the fundamental properties of matter from theoretical calculations, cosmological observations and terrestrial experiments on particle interactions. The CRC spokesperson is RUB Pro­fes­sor Julia Tjus.

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