Infrared Colloquium 2017

Climate, environment and security – the infrared technology offers solutions

43rd Freiburg Infrared Colloquium at Fraunhofer IAF


Discovering unknown planets, analyzing the climate change, identifying hazardous substances rapidly and reliably or detecting toxic substances in industrial settings – infrared technologies make it possible to offer solutions to challenges of this kind. The infrared-lasers developed by Fraunhofer IAF are able to conduct reliably corresponding measurements in real time. This and further pioneering developments of the infrared technology will be presented by more than 100 international experts at the 43rd Freiburg Infrared Colloquium from March 14th to 15th.

The agenda of the two-day workshop contains more than 40 presentations of renowned guest speakers from Europe, Israel, USA and Australia, containing the latest research findings, device manufacturing processes, as well as their applications in various industry branches. Researchers from Fraunhofer IAF will introduce novel developments for protection against hazardous substances, industrial contaminations or terrorist attacks.

Better safety with Fraunhofer IAF’s infrared technology

The detection of hazardous substances like explosives or toxic material is of growing relevance for our safety in daily life, when travelling or in industrial surroundings. Making use of the infrared wavelength range, the laser technology developed at Fraunhofer IAF facilitates the detection and identification of hazardous substances in real time and without any direct contact.

Together with their project partners, scientists from Fraunhofer IAF have developed a laser-based sensor system which is able to conduct precise standoff measurements of hazardous substances over a distance of up to 20 m as well as to detect and finally identify them through comparison to the stored data in a database. This sensor system is based on fast and broadly tunable quantum cascade lasers, which have been combined with a highly sensitive infrared imaging system. This allows to display the results of the spectroscopic measurements and thus to identify immediately the characteristic absorption lines of the analyzed materials. Furthermore, the scientists succeeded in realizing first demonstrators of hand-held systems – in future, they can facilitate the mobile on-site identification of explosives and hazardous substances in real time. In his contribution to the broadly diversified conference agenda, Dr. Stefan Hugger from Fraunhofer IAF will present the latest developments of quantum cascade lasers, which form the core component of the laser-based sensor systems.

Imaging sensor systems for the infrared and ultraviolet wavelength range – both invisible to the human eye – facilitate further applications for better safety and security. Dr. Frank Rutz will present the special features of short wave infrared (SWIR) detectors developed at Fraunhofer IAF. Through application of these detectors in precise night vison devices, the researchers pursue the aim of establishing a reliable supply source for high quality night vision devices within Germany, in order to free the national industry from international trade barriers.

New paths of infrared technology

In addition to the traditional fields of application like defense, security and astronautics, infrared detectors and lasers are advancing into new areas. Applications of infrared technology reach from medical diagnostics, gas analytics and spectroscopy up to material processing and climate research. The numerous presentations from scientists, engineers and industry representatives will shed light upon the various fields of application of infrared technology and will offer room to discuss them in detail.

Researchers of the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research WKI present a significant contribution to the further development of the alternative energy generation sector: Infrared thermography allows monitoring of rotor blades in wind turbines during operation and thus detection of defects with the aim of defect detection. Scientists from the University of Heidelberg use infrared technology for analysis and control of global warming. As largest CO2-storage systems of our planet, oceans build a focus of climate research. With the help of infrared detectors it is possible to analyze the gas exchange between oceans and the atmosphere, in order to measure the ratio of climate relevant and toxic gases in the atmosphere.

Furthermore, infrared detectors offer increased opportunities for thermal and spectroscopic measurements for meteorology and astronomy, for earth observation or analysis of the atmospheres of newly discovered exoplanets. Prof. Hargrave from Cardiff University will present the state of the art in this field of research as well as the most recent project aims in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA). Also in the field of quantum communication infrared technology paves the way for significant progress: Dr. Itzler from Princeton Lightwave in the United States will discuss ways of using the semiconductor InGaAs for tap-proof communication.

About the Freiburg Infrared Colloquium

For the 43rd time since its foundation in 1971, the Freiburg Infrared Colloquium brings together distinguished international attendees from various industrial and research sectors. The colloquium provides a unique forum to discuss both latest topics of relevance for the realization of semiconductor emitters and detectors and their application in various industries.

Scope of the workshop is to bring together the different stakeholders in the field, in order to foster the international cooperation for the further development of infrared technology and its various applications.