Photonics incubator opens on campus

| Michaela Nesvarova

The Fraunhofer Project Center at the UT has opened an incubator center for photonics assembly. Currently located in the High Tech Factory, the incubator is focused on helping companies to develop and manufacture photonics devices.

The incubator is based around a special robotic assembly device, explains Ian Gibson, the scientific director of the Fraunhofer Project Center. ‘It is a micro-assembly machine for manufacturing of various photonics devices, not a common piece of equipment. It was developed for us by the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology in Aachen and the AIXEMTEC company.’ 

Photonics are becoming more commonplace, but a large-scale production of photonics chips is still taking its first steps. ‘As the technology moves to mainstream, its manufacturing is becoming more important,’ says Gibson. ‘It is currently cumbersome and expensive. We are aiming to automate the process, simplify it and therefore cut down its costs.’

The incubator is already working with a couple of local companies. Besides producing prototypes based on their needs, the center also helps the companies with training and developing necessary knowledge. ‘The whole sector of photonics is quite new,’ says Gibson. ‘We are trying to get the knowledge into the region. The incubator center is also available to the UT. We’d like to provide the bridge between the research and application.’