Niederländisches Königspaar besucht Photonik in Berlin
Dutch Royals Visit Photonics in Berlin
On July 7, the photonics community in Berlin enjoyed a public event with some rare guests: During their visit of the German Capitol Berlin, the Royal couple of the Netherlands visited a meeting of OpTecBB, the local photonics network, and PhotonicsNL. The latter is the national photonics network of the Netherlands. Both societies signed a memorandum of understanding at this occasion.
The Berlin metropolitan region has a rich history in optics, photonics and quantum technology. Research and industry went hand in hand here, from eye glass development or the first electric light bulb to modern EUV lithography. Many of these developments were shared with Dutch organizations. Two of the city’s leading institutions hosted the royal visit: Technische Universität Berlin, an institution with a major research focus on photonics and optical systems, and the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, an organization with an international reputation for research into quantum and non-quantum communication networks, artificial intelligence, and photonic integrated circuits. During the royal visit, the ceremonial Atrium at Technische Universität Berlin was transformed into a showcase for light-based future technologies and German-Dutch cooperation. At the start of the program, competence networks Optec-Berlin-Brandenburg and PhotonicsNL officially celebrated their collaboration and signed a Memorandum of Understanding to increase this cooperation further and used the occasion to promote the global competitiveness of Europe as a center of Photonics innovation. Professor Dr. Martin Schell, head of OpTecBB and director of the Fraunhofer HHI said “Together, we want to strengthen cooperation in research and development, promote the mutual exchange of expertise, thus improving our position in the worldwide competition for excellence.” TU Berlin itself as host institution provided two glimpses into the future of photonics and quantum research. Firstly, its projects working to smooth the path to a global quantum Internet and open up collaboration with the Dutch QuantumDelta cluster, and secondly the unique, Berlin-wide Berlin School of Optical Sciences and Quantum Technologies doctoral program, which trains the next generation of top researchers and develops strong connections with Dutch partner institutions. The economic potential of photonics in the Berlin region was demonstrated by the 35 scientific institutions and 400 businesses active in this area. Among these was traditional optics manufacturer Berliner Glas. Founded in 1952, Berliner Glas was acquired by ASML, a Dutch-based world leader in production systems in the semiconductor industry, last November 2020. Both companies attended the event in the Atrium and presented their latest technologies for chip production as well as their current plans for expansion in Berlin, including new infrastructures and measures to increase the 1000-strong workforce (400 more high-tech jobs to be staffed in the next 18 months). The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) provided examples for how research can be put into practice and how German-Dutch cooperation is creating a leap forward in European Photonics innovation. The miniaturized BB84 transmitter chips developed by researchers at the HHI are so small that they can only be viewed under a microscope, but their impact could scarcely be greater as they provide the necessary technology to make communications and IT systems faster, more energy efficient and more secure. For very precise tunable lasers, the researchers are working closely with Dutch start-up LioniX as well as PhotonDelta, a consortium committed to developing strong European networks in the areas of photonics research.