Whether you grow lettuce, peppers or cannabis, you need light. Dependency on sunlight and the seasons has been one of the main constraints of agriculture and horticulture for thousands of years. But one Berlin startup aims to change that.
Today we are interviewing Dr. Prashanth Makaram, founder of Crocus Labs, who with the support of HTGF, seed investor for innovative technologies and business, aim to revolutionize farming.
So Prash, congratulations on your successful financing round. What does Crocus Labs do?
We bring sunlight into indoor spaces in order to enable the farming of a wide variety of crops while utilizing as little resources as possible.
Did you discover an interest in gardening as a child, or why are you intent on changing how we grow stuff?
No, it was more that as an adult I became interested in the impact of agriculture on biodiversity. On trips to Costa Rica and to Madagascar I noticed the beauty and fragility of undisturbed nature. I started to look for ways to protect what is left of it. So much of today’s form of agriculture has a harmful impact on rainforests through deforestation and consequent biodiversity losses. So I wanted to do something in that area, and since I come from a technology background I wanted to do something with a technical angle to it.
So the question I was asking myself was, how can we change today’s agriculture practices? At that time I began to look at indoor farming, which as a market was starting to catch up. And I saw that maybe this could be a solution, if we can make it widely adoptable. So with Crocus Labs we basically try to enable vertical farms so that they can provide an alternative to today’s farms and in that way we can stop biodiversity losses. That is my main drive behind it all.
What are “vertical farms”?
Well, in a generic way you can say indoor farms can be either greenhouses or vertical farms. Vertical farms are what we call “controlled environment agriculture”. So you basically grow everything in a very controlled manner inside a building. The crops are stacked on top of each other. This means that the resources you are using, from land, water, to pesticides etc., are much lower. So you can grow a lot more in a smaller area and produce food where most people live, inside cities, to keep transportation short.
And your solution to make these vertical farms more efficient has to do with light. So how is your artificial light better than sunlight?
Well actually, we try to remake the sunlight indoors. So the problem with sunlight is on the one hand that we don’t get enough of it in big parts of Europe. In the Netherlands growers already use artificial lights in greenhouses. Vertical farms rely even heavier on artificial lights, because the plants are stacked. In vertical farms you cannot bring the light uniformly to all the plants all the way down the stack. If you have five or ten storeys of plants that you’re growing, sunlight usually hits only the top two and by the time you get to the bottom you don’t have any light. Actually most vertical farms do not even have glass ceilings.
So basically our idea is to recreate the sunlight using proprietary lighting technologies so that you get the same amount of light across all the plants but without creating a huge burden on electricity consumption.
One of the biggest problems at the moment for vertical farms is that although the idea is nice, they may grow a handful of crops but they also have a huge carbon footprint, because of how much electricity is being consumed. We want to reduce this footprint so that vertical farms can become more meaningful and competitive with other agriculture.
Taste is also a big challenge because the lighting solutions currently available are too far away from the sun’s spectrum.
How far are you on the way to achieving all that?
We had a pre-seed round last year and now we just closed a big round with the High-tech Gründerfonds. We have two major customers who are ready to pilot with us. One of them is a big strawberry producer in northern Germany, the other is a big Berlin company. So this year we will grow the team, and yeah, we’re actively recruiting at the moment!
Fruits growing on indoor plants taste just as good when provided with light that recreates sunlight’s natural spectrum.
A far cry from grandad’s greenhouse at the bottom of the garden – high-tech light recreates sunlight’s natural spectrum – © Crocus Labs
Now, you’re already claiming that your solution will be a lot more cost-effective than the competition. How so?
We talk about costs in terms of the whole thing, capital expenses plus operational expenses. So if for the same price we can give you lights that are much more efficient than the competition’s, then over the course of four or five years your total expenses are a lot less. So you get a lot more light output on the amount of Euros you spend, which means that your production costs are much lower. This is particularly interesting as you start growing higher value crops like berries.
So what is the core difference in the technology?
The core difference in technology is that we are the only company at the moment building lights from the ground up for this specific use case. We build our own LE diodes and our smart lighting systems make use of not only our proprietary LED technologies, but also sensor systems and advanced algorithms. And this goes back to our semiconductor know-how. We have been able to get a lot of light output with very little current.
This is one part of it. The second part is that we have been able to recreate the effects of real sunlight, which is crucial for taste. So these are the major advantages that we bring.
So there are surely more use cases for this new technology, right?
Yeah, there are. I think one of the biggest topics coming up is what is called “human-centric lighting”. In houses and office spaces they want to bring light that acts more like sunlight. If you look at many of today’s lights they mostly have a big blue peak, which means that is not very good for your sleep. So if you have white light on at night and then you try to go to sleep it affects your circadian rhythms. So human-centric lighting and lighting that matches the circadian rhythm is about getting people to sleep better and have better work schedules.
Your experience is in semiconductors. How much new stuff did you have to learn in the last couple of years?
A lot! Because this is the first time I am carrying my technical knowledge to farming. I don’t have anybody in the family with a farming background. So I had to learn a lot about indoor farming.
And lighting is not a space I was in before. I was in a lot of consumer sensors and medical devices, so lighting and how indoor lighting affects plants is something I had to learn over time. And also the whole complexity of light in the context of greenhouses and vertical farms. Not to mention how the lighting industry works.
Why did you choose Berlin as a base for Crocus Labs?
Berlin is my favorite European city. I did my PhD in the United States in Boston. I first came to Europe in Spain for my first startup, through which I had my initial introduction to Berlin because it was incorporated with Bayer pharmaceuticals. So I was here working with Bayer. And then I just fell in love with Berlin. It’s very cosmopolitan, it has a lot of energy, in terms of people it is a very human-centric city. It has this drive, creative as well as entrepreneurial.
My wife and I spent two years in Munich, but we very much prefer Berlin and desperately wanted to come back here. The one part is the human aspect, the second part is that there are very nice networks in Berlin, the universities and also the entrepreneurial startup networks. Berlin is a very welcoming city.
Where did the name Crocus Labs come from?
Back then we wanted to grow saffron, because saffron is a high-value crop, and crocus is basically the flower that gives you saffron. So that’s how we started Crocus Labs. We don’t do anything in saffron at the moment, so maybe we’ll re-brand at some point. Or we’ll keep it. It’s a nice name!
So this is, what, your third startup now?
So third time lucky?
I hope so!
2022 is going to be an exciting year for you. We wish you the best of luck!
Berlin, as one of Europe’s most exciting metropoli, may seem far removed from the countryside but could well be where the next revolution in farming technology originates.
Major performance indicators are:
• 1064 nm
• High output power (2 W)
• Small spectral width (typ. 3 pm)
• 14 pin butterfly package
• Very good SMSR (typ. > 50 dB)
• Integrated beam collimation
• Low residual divergence
• Integrated thermal management by thermoelectric cooler and thermistor
Prof. Martin Schell (Fraunhofer HHI) | Peter Krause (insenso GmbH) | Dr. Adrian Mahlkow (OUT e.V.) | Prof. Martin Roth (Leibniz- Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam) | De. Henning Schröder (Fraunhofer IZM) | Gerrit Rössler (Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH) | Ricarda Kafka (TRIOPTICS Berlin GmbH) | Jörg Muchametow (eagleyard Photonics GmbH) | David Mory (LLA Instruments GmbH & Co. KG)
As the centrepiece of the optical measurement lab, the SNOM uses optical spectroscopy to scan the surfaces of nanophotonic components. To do so, it focuses an incredibly narrow laser beam, with a smaller diameter than a waveguide, in the immediate proximity of the sample. Highly reliable measurements are also possible by using the evanescent field that is created around a surface when a light wave fades.
The SNOM gives researchers the ability to characterize nano-photonic components with extreme precision, at a resolution far below the diffraction limit for distortion-free imaging. The plans include the eponymous scanning near-field optical microscope for exploring the evanescent field of glass-embedded waveguides and optical nanofibers to optimize the interaction between light and matter as well as fluorescence microscopes for nanostructures (e.g. individual molecules, nitrogen-vacancy defects in diamonds, quantum dots, or nanocarbons).
This large automated unit uses an integrated camera and search and optimization algorithms to couple several waveguides with a fibre array. The coupled light can then be detected at the waveguide’s output side.
For glass-embedded waveguides to become usable in quantum technology, their production process has to be adjusted for the visible and IR light spectrum, with single-mode light guiding and minimal propagation losses. This has already been possible with a custom system built at Fraunhofer IZM, but the researchers hope to make the measuring processes much faster and more precise with the new facilities.
3D Glass Printer
The 3D glass printer uses ultrashort light impulses to model glass structures. Its surfaces can then be modified by etching. The printer unit is expected to be particularly useful for laser direct writing, that is, the use of a laser to create waveguides and other photonic structures like diffraction gratings directly in the glass. The system will also be able to drill microcavities or weld glass by heating up only the immediate target area to create transparent, but hermetically sealed glass-on-glass joints.
The 3D glass printer opens up a world of possibilities: Level or curved optical surfaces can be created directly on the waveguides e.g. to activate quantum emitters. The novel weld joints will be crucial for thermally insulating quantum sensors or for producing miniature spectroscopy cells. The researchers expect a tenfold improvement over conventional technology in the roughness, precision, and reproducibility of glass structures created with this system.
Micro Ultra-High Vacuum Bonder
The new bonder will be used for laser soldering and other hermetic joining processes for glass in a vacuum. The highly focused laser beam is absorbed by the glass solder, heating it up to the melting temperature and creating a joint between two glass surfaces.
The micro ultra-high vacuum bonder will be particularly useful for testing new ways to join glass surfaces. The key is to create joints that are hermetically sealed on the microlevel to allow the development of micro vacuum or micro gas cells or other thermally insulated designs.
Ultra-High Vacuum Vapor Deposition Unit
Highly Precise Vacuum Metalizing
In the ultra-high vacuum vapor deposition system, glass surfaces can be metallized with extremely fine coats of only a few nanometres, applied with a record precision of a single nanometre. This process is used to create semi-transparent metalized mirrors or to turn the metalized surfaces themselves into plasmonic guides.
The system is taking the capabilities of conventional sputtering to the quantum technology domain. It can be used to create parallel or confocal gold coats with microscopically tiny cavities along the waveguide. When quantum emitters enter these cavities, the emission patterns change, and light particles are far more likely to be emitted in the direction of the waveguide.
Fraunhofer IZM is looking for research partners to tread new ground in application-driven system integration, especially assembly and packaging technologies, for quantum communication and quantum sensors.
The QuantumPackagingLab is supported by the State of Berlin with EFRE co-funding at an amount of €3,392,000.
The full press release can be found here.
Lasermodule für Satelliten: von Kommunikation bis Klimaschutz
Weitere Lasermodule entwickelt das FBH für Satellitenanwendungen. Laserdiodenbänke (LDB) des Instituts werden seit vielen Jahren erfolgreich als Pumplaser in Laserkommunikationsterminals (LCT) der Firma Tesat-Spacecom eingesetzt. Damit werden unter anderem hohe Datenmengen der Erdbeobachtung besonders schnell zwischen Satelliten und zur Erde übertragen. Die LDBs werden nach den Standards der Europäischen Weltraumorganisation (ESA) für Weltraumanwendungen entwickelt und qualifiziert. Deren Wellenlänge wird so auf das Pump-Übergangsband eines Nd:YAG-Lasers stabilisiert, dass der Laserstrahl des Pumplasers die stabile LCT-Leistung gewährleistet. Hinzu kommt die exzellente Zuverlässigkeit über die gesamte 15-jährige Lebensdauer der Mission.
Das FBH zeigt auch ein DBR-Laserarray-Modul, das dank eines auf Chipebene integrierten, die Wellenlänge stabilisierenden Bragg-Reflektors sowohl ein geringes Rauschen als auch eine hohe Zuverlässigkeit bietet. Die Eignung derartiger Module wurde für einen Dauerbetrieb von mehr als 15 Jahren nachgewiesen. Damit qualifizieren sie sich als Flughardware für die nächsten LCT-Weltraummissionen. Ein weiterer Pumplaser soll künftig auf dem Klimasatelliten MERLIN eingesetzt werden, der die Methankonzentration in der Atmosphäre messen soll. Dafür hat das FBH Lasermodule entwickelt, qualifiziert und geliefert, die jeweils mit zwei Hochleistungslaser-Halbbarren ausgestattet sind. Diese Module liefern 130 W gepulste Emission bei 808 nm und pumpen einen Nd:YAG-Laser. Die Leistungsfähigkeit und Zuverlässigkeit über die gesamte Missionsdauer wurde anhand umfangreicher Qualifikationen der Technologie nachgewiesen und vom ESA-Technologiezentrum ESTEC bestätigt. So degradiert die Leistung selbst bei einer langen Betriebsdauer von über vier Milliarden Pulsen nur unwesentlich.
Energieeffiziente Komponenten für Satellitenkommunikation und -sensorik
Wegen ihrer hohen Strahlungshärte und der möglichen hohen Schaltfrequenzen eignen sich Galliumnitrid (GaN)-Schalttransistoren besonders für das Power Conditioning in Satelliten. Der vom FBH neu entwickelte 10 A/400 V Aluminiumnitrid Power Core mit GaN-Leistungstransistoren in Halbbrücken-Konfiguration minimiert Streuinduktivitäten und Kapazitäten der Schaltzelle. Dabei werden Leistungsschalter, Gatetreiber und DC-Link-Kondensatoren extrem kompakt heterointegriert und die Wärme wird effizient durch das Aluminiumnitrid-Substrat abgeführt. So konnten die Schaltzeiten der Leistungszelle gegenüber einem traditionellen Aufbau mit diskreten Bauelementen halbiert werden. Hohe Schaltfrequenzen bei gleichzeitig hohem Konverter-Wirkungsgrad sind die Voraussetzung für Leistungskonverter mit besonders hoher Leistungsdichte. Ein zentraler Aspekt, da jedes Gramm im Weltraum zählt.
Stromverbrauch und Verlustleistung sind weitere kritische Punkte beim Betrieb von Leistungsverstärkern im Weltraum. Daher entwickelt das FBH Konzepte zum Envelope Tracking – eine bekannte Technik, um die Effizienz von Hochfrequenz-Leistungsverstärkern zu steigern.
Professor Martin Roth from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) is being honoured with the Instrument Development Award for his significant work on the development of 3D spectroscopy, his outstanding contributions to the research and development of astrophotonics, to the teaching and training of young scientists in astronomical instrumentation, and to the resulting advances in the astrophysical study of resolved stellar populations. Under his leadership, the PMAS instrument was a breakthrough in the observational technique of integral field spectroscopy, crowned by the successes of MUSE and VIRUS, producing internationally visible science results. He also been a pioneer in multi-disciplinary research, and transfer of knowledge and technology, e.g., the use of astronomical instrumentation for medicine and life science. His achievements include the establishment of the interdisciplinary centre innoFSPEC, which is dedicated to the development of astrophotonic technologies and is unique in Germany.
With the Ludwig-Biermann-Award, the AG honours Fabian Schneider, junior group leader at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS), for his work on the study of the evolution of massive stars, binary stars and supernovae. His research achievements led to numerous and highly cited publications. He is considered an internationally recognized expert in his field. Fabian Schneider received his PhD at the University of Bonn in 2015. He then moved to Oxford University as a Hintze Fellow. In 2018 he became a Gliese Fellow at the Center for Astronomy at Heidelberg University. In 2020, he received an ERC Starting Grant, and started to establish a research group focused on stellar evolution theory and the turbulent and explosive lives of massive stars at HITS in January 2021.
For her spectacular results on the chemical composition and dynamics of stars in the inner regions of our Milky Way, the AG awards the Doctoral Thesis Prize to Anke Arentsen. She received her PhD from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) and is currently a postdoc at the astronomical observatory in Strasbourg. Her PhD thesis was dedicated to Galactic Archeology and the oldest stars in our home galaxy. Anke Arentsen made important contributions to the understanding of the Milky Way and what it looked like at its infancy. She published the scientific results of her dissertation in several publications and successfully presented them at international conferences and public lectures.
The AG awards the Bruno H. Bürgel Prize to Uwe Reichert, for excellent popular representations of the latest astronomy results in the German media. As editor-in-chief of the astronomy magazine Sterne und Weltraum, Uwe Reichert played a leading role in determining the development and content of the magazine for over 13 years, and was extremely adept at adapting the editorial and technical practices to the new challenges of the digital media world. Sterne und Weltraum is the leading German language publication for generally accessible astronomy. It is a globally unique cooperation between active professional astronomers, the amateur astronomy community, and science journalists. It is characterised by outstanding quality, educational materials, an internet platform with daily astronomy news, and a very successful Twitter and Youtube channel.
Lukas Weghs, from the Städtisches Gymnasium Kempen, receives a special price from the AG for the best work in the field of astronomy in the national competition "Jugend forscht" (youth's research). With his work "Photometric search for Exomoons by using deep learning and a convolutional neuronal network", which he developed at the Institute of Planetary Research at DLR in Berlin, he was also the national winner in the field of space and earth sciences. Lukas developed a self-learning program for a high-performance computer that supports the search for moons around exoplanets. The program systematically analyses deviations in the light curve of transit events that cannot be explained by the transiting planet alone. It thus provides clues to the possible existence of exomoons.
The award ceremonies will take place during the virtual annual meeting of the German Astronomical Society from September 13-17, 2021.
Photos and Credits:
Jocelyn Bell Burnell: Courtesy Royal Society of Edinburgh
Martin Roth: BMBF
Fabian Schneider: Annette Mück / HITS
Anke Arentsen: private
Uwe Reichert: private
>> more information
TOPTICA Photonics AG
Lochhammer Schlag 19
Europe is a global leader in the development of photonics technologies, with much of this innovation generated through research funded by the European Commission. The new academy will allow European workforces access to state-of-the-art photonics technologies and advanced methods of photonics manufacturing through structured training and education. To-date, 40 training centres across Europe have been selected for funding, with 10 more to be announced later this year. Critically all regions of Europe will have access to training, including those with little or no expertise in photonics, with centres as far apart as Ireland, Spain, Finland and Greece.
Three types of training courses are available:
People wishing to attend any of the Online Training, or either of the Demo or Experience Centre training courses, can browse the training catalogue via the PhotonHub website and register for the particular course of interest to them.
Further details about PhotonHub’s extensive Online Training, and Demo and Experience Centre training courses, can be found in the HERE.
Collectively, more than 20 papers in different areas of astrophotonics, and their applications in instruments for astronomy, are being published from research communities worldwide. Dr Kalaga Madhav, head of the research group Astrophotonics at AIP, summarises the publications: “The articles from research groups around the world cover a broad range of astrophotonic topics, such as interferometric beam combiners to create extremely sharp images, e.g. of stellar surfaces or the environment of black holes, miniaturized spectrographs “on-a-chip” for next generation space telescopes, high precision frequency combs for the detection of exoplanets, and many more. The activities of the Astrophotonics group at AIP are prominently reflected in as many as six publications, after all a quarter of the papers in the feature issue”.
The launch of this feature issue celebrates the ongoing progress in astrophotonics and its incorporation into instrument designs: Fibre-based spectroscopy, which started with novel designs at the onset of innoFSPEC, is now an established and trusted technology and is included in instruments such as the future telescope 4MOST. The same development is foreseen for astrophotonics at innoFSPEC, and the researchers are already establishing collaborations and testing their components at telescopes and in astronomical instruments. With reference to the future of astrophotonics, section head of innoFSPEC professor Martin Roth states enthusiastically, ”The emerging area of astrophotonics has already supported important discoveries in astronomy, e.g. the ground breaking work of Nobel laureate Reinhard Genzel about the black hole in the Galactic Center. Given the level of maturity and reliability that this technology has now reached, we expect that innoFSPEC, in collaboration with international partners such as the European Southern Observatory (ESO), will launch more exciting innovations”.
The excellence centers innoFSPEC in Germany and CUDOS in Australia were the first research groups to focus on exploring the diverse research areas under astrophotonics. However, the publication of this feature issue indicates that the emerging area of astrophotonics has now gathered momentum in many countries. The agreement for a joint astrophotonics research collaboration, signed between AIP and ESO in 2020, is another indication for the growing importance of the field. The editorial team of the feature issue consisted of nine members in total, with Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorn, an ARC Laureate Fellow Professor of Physics and Director of the Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIFA) as the lead editor.
“As researchers in astrophotonics, we see how fast the field advances. With the feature issue, we wanted to provide a platform to showcase the progress and highlight this relatively young topic to scientists from other research fields. As experimental physicists, being guest editors for a journal was new to us. It was an exciting experience to be engaged in every level of the entire publication process, especially in the exchange with authors, journal staff, and the community. Accompanying the manuscript from submission through peer review, finally leading to a high-quality publication, is very rewarding”, say Aline Dinkelaker and Aashia Rahman, who since 2019 have been focusing on bringing the idea of this feature issue from conception to fruition.
Instrument Systems Optische Messtechnik GmbH
The ISLC is dedicated to latest developments in semiconductor lasers, amplifiers and LEDs. Itrepresentsexcellence from all global regions and in all areas of currently active semiconductor laser research. The program committee has selected the top 100 papers for oral and poster presentations from the conference submissions. An extensive program complementsthe conference, including renowned speakers and workshops on topics such as automotive LiDAR and photodetection.
The program with all contributions will soon be available on the conference website, which will be continuously updated –among other things, a post-deadline session is planned: www.islc2021.org.
Register now for the ISLC
Registration for participation is now open on the conference website –until July30at the Early Bird price.For more information, please click here: https://www.islc2021.org/registration
More about ISLC
The ISLC has more than 50years of tradition, attended by a highly international audience and with locations cycling between the Americas, Asia/Australia and Europe/Mid-East/Africa regions every two years. Since its founding, many new and ground-breaking semiconductor devices have been first presented at this conference. The ISLC was last in Germany in 2002. ISLC 2021and the associated exhibition areorganized by the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Berlin and supported by IEEE Photonics Society as technical sponsor.
Topics include: semiconductor optical amplifiers, silicon compatible lasers, VCSELs, photonic band-gap and microcavity lasers, grating controlled lasers, multi-segment and ring lasers, quantum cascade and interband laser, sub-wavelength scale nanolasers, mid IR and THz sources, InP, GaAs and Sb materials, quantum dot lasers, high power and high-brightness lasers, GaN and ZnSe based UV to visible lasers and LEDs, communications lasers, semiconductor integrated optoelectronics.
Espoo, Finland; and Itzehoe, Germany, May 25, 2021 - Dispelix, the world leader in Waveguide Displays for Augmented Reality Eyewear, and OQmented, the global leader in developing high performance MEMS mirror-based ultracompact projectors, have entered a strategic partnership to collaborate on the development and commercialization of MEMS-based laser beam scanning (LBS) technology. OQmented LBS MEMS technology contributes unmatched performance and is noted to be exceptionally compatible with Dispelix’s LBS waveguides for top-notch AR applications.
The full press release can be found here.]]>
The LaSAR Alliance was established to create an ecosystem to enable the efficient design and manufacture of augmented reality (AR) wearable devices, including smart glasses and headmounted displays. The alliance aims to facilitate the exchange and sharing of information, to create, build and grow effective and compelling LBS (Laser Beam Scanning) -based solutions and to help drive the growth of the market for AR wearables in general.
“LaSAR welcomes OQmented to the Alliance and looks forward to their contributions to building the solid foundation on which we can all drive the growth of augmented reality wearable devices through laser beam scanning solutions,” said Dr. Bharath Rajagopalan, Chair of the LaSAR Alliance and Director, Strategy Marketing at STMicroelectronics. “OQmented offers 25 years of experience in the development of customized, ultracompact, resonant 1D and bi-resonant 2D MEMS scanners, and we expect their participation to further fuel the technology and grow this dynamic market.”
The use cases for augmented reality technology are manifold: remote collaboration in theworkplace, training situations, education, manufacturing or entertainment are among them. PwC estimates that by 2030, virtual and augmented reality will boost the global GDP by USD 1.5 trillion.1 OQmented is developing technology that is a key enabler for AR mobile and stationary devices. The company has a strong background in electronics, drive and sync, combined with software expertise. Their unique Lissajous scan pattern and the vacuum encapsulation Bubble MEMS® technology2 enable highest resolution, lowest energy consumption and smallest chip size, at the same time guaranteeing long-term reliability for the hermetically sealed micro mirrors.
“We are excited about the forum that LaSAR provides to exchange with the other members and potential partners and strongly believe that the creation of a dynamic network is a crucial step for the advancement of AR wearables,” said Dr. Ulrich Hofmann, CEO/CTO and co-founder of OQmented. “With our unique Lissajous scan pattern and the Bubble MEMS® technology, OQmented can contribute complementary solutions to the alliance which did not exist this way before, providing new possibilities for the potential customers. Numerous applications can profit from this key enabling technology,” he added.
For more information about the LaSAR Alliance visit lasaralliance.org
OQmented is a deep tech company developing and selling high performance MEMS mirrors for ultracompact LBS displays and best in class 3D sensing solutions for mobile and stationary applications. The unique Lissajous scan pattern in combination with the patented vacuum packaging Bubble MEMS® technology and proprietary electronics and software enable new product categories in consumer and various other industries. Further information can be found at www.oqmented.com.
For Press Information Contact:
2 Bubble MEMS® is a patented 3D glass-encapsulation approach to hermetic vacuum sealing of the MEMS mirrors
LASER COMPONENTS GmbH
About VI Systems GmbH
VI Systems GmbH, based in Berlin, Germany, is a fabless developer and manufacturer of components for optical communication and sensing. More information about VI Systems is available at www.v-i-systems.com
VI Systems GmbH
10623 Berlin, Germany
phone: +49 30 30 831 43 41
fax: +49 30 30 831 43 59
In the precursor project “Insect Laser”, supported by the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food and partners, a solution was developed at Fraunhofer IZM to protect the agricultural stock from contamination by grain weevils and Indian meal moths. Though barely four millimeters long, these pests can cause significant economic damage and carry diseases.
It is common practice to fumigate storage spaces with chemicals only after an infestation with harmful insects. These chemicals, such as hydrogen phosphide, are deadly to the insects but can be used only sparingly. When used more frequently, residues on the stock can cause health hazards to humans and, above all, environmental pollution.
To reduce the use of chemical protective agents, the researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Integration IZM set out to combine laser technology and automated image recognition to reliably ensure the safety of agricultural products. The project was coordinated by the Julius Kühn Institute in Berlin.
The researchers detect the moment of infestation before the pests can spread throughout the stocks. Using an image-processing method developed by the BTU Cottbus (Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus), the small pests are detected on the surface of the supplies or on walls. An AI system then analyzes and classifies the insects and compares them against reference images. Such algorithms for image recognition are already established in countless applications. In this project, however, the wide variety of dimensions was especially challenging, since harmful insects that are only a few millimeters in size need to be reliably detected in the warehouses. This had to be taken into account in the design and production of the IZM laser system.
Once the position of a pest is known, a fine laser beam is directed to the relevant coordinates via radio by a scanner, rendering the corn weevil or Indian meal moth harmless. Because of the low temperature and intensity of the laser, the grains located underneath are unaffected. By using a laser system, direct primary infestation is prevented, so that insects harmful to supplies do not spread in the first place.
The Fraunhofer IZM researchers in Berlin examined how different wavelengths and light beam intensities influenced the movement behavior of the pests and found that the infrared light had the lowest effect on the characteristic movement behavior used to identify the animals. The researchers were also significantly involved in developing the laser system, and initially created a laboratory setup. Following successful testing, they transferred this set-up into a compact insect laser system consisting of several units for use in test cells.
They also developed the interfaces for software and hardware between camera, laser, and scanner.
With these activities, Fraunhofer IZM is opening up to projects that will increase digitalization and automation in agriculture. In doing so, the researchers integrate optical sensors and electronic controls into unique systems and ensure that these can be manufactured efficiently and used sustainably.
(Text: Olga Putsykina)
Tel.: +49 30 46403-745
Rue Jaquet-Droz 1
All three approaches - partly borrowed from astrophysics - are suitable for making statements about the chemical composition of a particle as well as visualising it. Raman spectroscopy take advantage of the fact that matter interacts with laser light, leaving behind a characteristic fingerprint - a spectrum in the scattered light. In this way it is also possible to assign the plastic particles to their original material - e.g. polyethylene, polystyrene or PVC. While this works well for sufficiently large pieces of plastic, the challenge for the team is to detect these fingerprints for small and minute particles. In addition, successfully scanning tissue samples with conventional Raman microscopes is very time-consuming and can take many hours to days. The innoFSPEC research centre at the AIP has set itself the goal of realising an imaging Raman spectroscopy setup that allows the identification of plastic particles within minutes or seconds. This is made possible by wide field spectrographs from astronomy - where this technique is used in observatories to save valuable observation time.
The joint project supports research at three Centres for Innovation Competence (ZIK) in the new federal states: ZIK plasmatis at the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Research and Technology Greifswald (INP), ZIK HIKE at the University Medical School and University of Greifswald and ZIK innoFSPEC at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam (AIP). The first results are expected to be available in two years' time in order to be able to better answer the question to what extent the contamination of the environment and thus of the human body with microplastic particles is one of the causes of neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases or even cancer.
Press release of the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology e.V. (INP)
Science contact AIP | innoFSPEC
Prof. Dr. Martin M. Roth, 0331 7499 313, mmroth(at)aip.de
Franziska Gräfe, 0331 7499 803, presse(at)aip.de
The key areas of research at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) are cosmic magnetic fields and extragalactic astrophysics. A considerable part of the institute's efforts aim at the development of research technology in the fields of spectroscopy, robotic telescopes, and e-science. The AIP is the successor of the Berlin Observatory founded in 1700 and of the Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam founded in 1874. The latter was the world's first observatory to emphasize explicitly the research area of astrophysics. The AIP has been a member of the Leibniz Association since 1992.
The EU directive 2011/65/EU on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS 2) contains a list of chemical elements and compounds that may no longer be used in electronic products. This includes lead in concentrations above 0.1%. The legislators are primarily concerned with tin solder that contains lead. However, this heavy metal is also a crucial component in the PbS and PbSe detectors manufactured by the LASER COMPONENTS Detector Group.
Manufacturers can apply for exemptions from this rule if a product is indispensable for certain applications. Annex IV, point 1c of the directive explicitly mentions lead used in infrared detectors. Together with its customers, LASER COMPONENTS has formed a consortium that has been able to prove that an alternative to using lead salt detectors in certain areas is not available.
“Many SMEs would simply be overwhelmed with the burden of EU law if they tried to take it on themselves,” says Sven Schreiber, who coordinated the activities at LASER COMPONENTS. “As a well-known player in the international detector market, we have taken the initiative. We are confident that our application will be granted. This would benefit all market participants for another seven years. At that time, the exemption will be renewed.”
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This paves the way for a future improvement of some of the most sensitive instruments ever created: optical clocks and gravitational wave detectors. Both benefit from transferring the ultimate stability to a specific wavelength.
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TOPTICA Photonics AG
Lochhamer Schlag 19
82166 Graefelfing, Germany
TOPTICA has been developing and manufacturing high-end laser systems for scientific and industrial applications for 20 years. Our portfolio includes diode lasers, ultrafast fiber lasers, terahertz systems and frequency combs. The systems are used for demanding applications in biophotonics, industrial metrology and quantum technology. TOPTICA is renowned for providing the widest wavelength coverage of diode lasers on the market, providing high-power lasers even at exotic wavelengths.
Today, TOPTICA employs 300 people worldwide in six business units (TOPTICA Photonics AG, eagleyard Photonics GmbH, TOPTICA Projects GmbH, TOPTICA Photonics Inc. USA, TOPTICA Photonics K.K. Japan, and TOPTICA Photonics China) with a consolidated group turnover of € 60 million.
We are glad to announce that the 13th International Symposium on Emerging and Industrial TI DLP® Technology Applications will be held at Congress Park CPH in Hanau (near Frankfurt, Germany) on October 23, 2018. The DLP symposium is the established platform that aims to promote the dialogue and discussion between engineers, researchers, users and manufacturers/distributors in the field of innovative advanced light control optical solutions that can serve new markets. The event is jointly organized by OpSys Project Consulting and the photonics innovation network Optence e.V.
CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS
DLP chips and associated development platforms are enabling many exciting new systems and applications beyond traditional display technologies. By bringing together scientists, technologists, and developers, the goal of this conference is to highlight new and interesting means of applying DLP technology to end applications within these emerging markets:
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
Why submit a paper?
Get a large impact in the advanced light control community: Some 120 attendees and contributors from all over Europe, USA and Asia made the DLP symposium a huge success in 2015!
Please submit your contribution prior to August 15, 2018
to OpSys Project Consulting | Alfred Jacobsen |office(at)opsysconsult.com
Exhibition Space Offer
Seize the opportunity and register now for a table top presentation booth at the DLP Symposium exhibition area. Please find here information for the exhibition conditions including an application form. Please return order form by scanned copy to machemer(at)optence.de. Or confirm your requirements and preferences directly by e-mail.]]>