Fraunhofer IOF

From high-security communication to customized laser technology

From high-security communication to customized laser technology

The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF develops application-oriented "solutions with light" along the photonic innovation chain. Starting with novel system design concepts via the development of the required photonic components to the construction of prototypes and pilot series, light-based solutions are offered from a single source. The work at Fraunhofer IOF focuses on the business areas "Light Sources and Lasers", "Opto-mechanical Systems", "Sensors and Metrology" and "Quantum Technologies".

The institute's claim is to transfer future technologies into sustainable application scenarios - from the realization of instruments for earth observation, to the research of highly secure communication by means of light quanta, to the provision of individual photonic systems for industrial partners.

Light for more security: Selected projects

Photonic Quantum Technologies

As a pioneer in the field of photonic quantum technologies, Fraunhofer IOF is one of the international forerunners in the research, development and realization of optronic components, systems and applications for photonic quantum technologies. In particular, innovative systems have been developed and characterized in the fields of tap-proof free-steel, fiber- and satellite-based quantum communication as well as quantum-based imaging methods in recent years. The development of components for quantum sensing and quantum computing, e.g. adaptive and micro-optical modules, is also part of the Fraunhofer IOF's range of services. 

Fiber and laser technology

In the fiber technology center for the development and fabrication of active and passive micro- and nanostructured optical fibers, Fraunhofer IOF combines competences in laser physics, fiber and optical design as well as glass chemistry and thermo-optics. Results of this research are, in addition to tailored high-power fiber lasers, their spectral, geometric and coherent coupling as well as efficient beam delivery systems including innovative, partly adaptive mirrors and adapted optical coatings.

Optical systems for satellite-based earth observation

Fraunhofer IOF developed system solutions such as telescopes, spectrometers and scanners for various space missions. From the component to the system, aspherical and free-form metal mirrors as well as transmission and reflection gratings including relevant special coatings for the UV-VIS-IR spectral range, among others, are realized on the basis of a unique technology platform. The developed instruments contribute in particular to studies of greenhouse gas emission and climate change as well as to disaster control and spatially resolved imaging by providing data for high accuracy earth observation.

Federal Fingerprint Scanner Review Board 

Since 2007, Fraunhofer IOF has been a recognized testing laboratory according to DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 of the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). Manufacturers of single-finger, four-finger and whole-hand scanners can have their products tested here for compliance with the BSI guidelines. In addition to functionality, these also include optical quality criteria.

Business segments



Light sources and lasers
from fiber design and manufacturing to laser system development



Opto-mechanical systems
from optical components via micro-optical modules to imaging systems in satellite-based earth observation

Sensors and metrology
from 3D metrology to fingerprint scanner testing 

Photonic quantum technologies
from tap-proof free-steel, fiber- and satellite-based quantum communications to quantum-based imaging techniques.