Control of the delay line of a femtosecond laser system.

Our photonics research

In Jena, research in optics and photonics is performed under the umbrella of the Abbe Center of Photonics (ACP) which is strongly intertwined with ASP.
Control of the delay line of a femtosecond laser system.
Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)
ACP Logo
Image: Abbe Center of Photonics

In Jena, both fundamental and application-oriented research in optics and photonics is performed under the umbrella of the Abbe Center of Photonics (ACP). ACP is comprised of more than 50 principal scientists affiliated with several institutes from the faculties of Physics and Astronomy, Biological Sciences, Chemical and Earth Sciences, and Medicine, with several collaborative research units within the university, as well as with three non-university research institutes. The Center is characterized by lively and closely knit collaborations between all of these institutions.

The Friedrich Schiller Unviersity Jena has identified and distinguished LIGHT as one of its profile lines within the triad LIGHT-LIFE-LIBERTY, which represent our university's long-term institutional strategy. These aspects shape the university's scientific profile and are represented by the community of ACP scientists - with ACP as the key player of the LIGHTExternal link. The broad scope of ACP research ranges from fundamental topics such as relativistic optics or novel photonic materials to fields of the highest practical relevance. Detailed information about research areas and contact details of all ACP principal scientists can be found on the ACP website. Covering a broad variety of different research topics, one of ACP's main goals is to concentrate on and conduct research in the following three key research areas:

Ultra Optics

Application of multicolor holograms in the lab.
Image: Thomas Ernstling/ Gruner & Jahr.

Within the key research area of Ultra Optics, ACP researchers strive to attain the goal of obtaining a complete control of light and all of its properties. This control would allow us to initiate processes involving light and use light as an instrument, tool or carrier of information. Ultra Optics takes on this challenge by combining the following five fields in a synergistic way:

  • Laser physics
  • Nanooptics
  • Photonic materials
  • Optical systems
  • Quantum technologies (Quantum Hub Thuringia)

details on Ultra Optics

Strong Field Physics

Penultimate amplification stage of the high-power POLARIS laser system.
Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

The key research area of Strong Field Physics deals with the generation of light involving extreme properties and extraordinarily high intensities. It also involves the interaction of light with matter up to the relativistic domain. This provides access to ultra-short wavelengths such as vacuum-UV light and x-rays. Strong Field Physics targets research in the following topics:

  • Ultrahigh peak power lasers
  • Nonlinear and relativistic laser physics
  • X-ray optics

details on Strong Field Physics


Dr. Silke Keiner und Ms. Twinkle Vohra working at the laser scanning microscope.
Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

Biophotonics is an emerging highly multidisciplinary research area embracing all light-based technologies (i.e., innovative photonic tools) and their applications for the life sciences and medicine. Major technological topics in Biophotonics are:

  • Novel spectroscopic techniques
  • Multimodal biomedical imaging & microspectroscopy
  • Chip-based analytics and diagnostics

details on Biophotonics