Optical methods for better diagnostics and secure communication

As a society, we are facing significant challenges e.g. with too much CO2 emission and increased health expenses because of an increasing population worldwide. However, these challenges may be solved either directly or indirectly by using optics.

Besides the challenges within the infrastructure of optical communication, optical methods have proven superior when it comes to biological imaging, which is essential for researching diseases and advancing medical diagnostics and treatment.

An example is the communication infrastructure of our modern society which almost entirely relies on optical fibers. Continued development of these systems is therefore crucial to fulfil the ever-increasing bandwidth demands required to connect the world.

Nevertheless, enhancing the existing communication infrastructure is not merely a matter of increasing the bandwidth, this also entails making the network more energy efficient. Currently, the internet is responsible for a considerable amount of the world’s CO2 emission, which negatively affects the world's climate. Thus, following UN Goal (11 and 13) it is crucial that the enhancement must rely on more energy-efficient devices and components to ensure not only scientific progress, but also sustainable progress.

Once again, the development of optical fibers is needed to take full advantage of these technologies, e.g. by realizing novel fiber lasers that are easily transferrable to clinical settings or in harsh environments.

Also, fiber-based lasers for industrial cutting, marking and scribing processes are cheap, robust and energy-efficient, thus, facilitating efficient and sustainable production of essential consumer goods to a growing global population.

Optical and quantum methods for secure communication

Finally, quantum communication network may hold the key to enable secure communication, which is essential for the integrity of our modern digital economy, as well as for protecting ordinary citizen’s fundamental right to privacy or maybe to communicate between two quantum computers. However, to realize this, significant elements are still missing, such as frequency and time shaping of quantum states. These functionalities may be achieved using nonlinear effects in optical fibers.


Karsten Rottwitt

Karsten Rottwitt Professor, Group Leader