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OPTICUM research building: Foundation stone laid

OPTICUM research building: Foundation stone laid

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Belit Onay, Falko Mohrs, Prof. Dr. Uwe Morgner and Prof. Dr. Volker Epping fill the time capsule Belit Onay, Falko Mohrs, Prof. Dr. Uwe Morgner and Prof. Dr. Volker Epping fill the time capsule Belit Onay, Falko Mohrs, Prof. Dr. Uwe Morgner and Prof. Dr. Volker Epping fill the time capsule
© Sören Pinsdorf/LUH
Belit Onay (Mayor of Hannover), Falko Mohrs (Lower Saxony’s Minister for Science and Culture), Prof. Dr. Uwe Morgner (PhoenixD spokesperson) and Prof. Dr. Volker Epping (LUH President) fill the time capsule, which will be buried during the laying of the foundation stone.

Optical research and optical production to be carried out by around 120 scholars under one roof.

Optimum conditions for research into one of the critical technologies of the 21st century: construction of the new OPTICUM research building of Leibniz University Hannover (LUH) is under way at Wissenschaftspark Hannover-Marienwerder. From 2026, more than 100 researchers will work together on high-performance optics for many different areas of application. Falko Mohrs, Lower Saxony's Minister for Science and Culture, Belit Onay, Mayor of Hannover, Leibniz University's president Volker Epping and PhoenixD spokesperson Uwe Morgner laid the foundation stone for the four-storey building on Monday, April 15.

Optical technologies are one of the key research areas at LUH. Laser technology is crucial. The PhoenixD Cluster of Excellence, for example, conducts top-level research into optical precision systems to make high-performance optics affordable. Many new application areas are emerging for optical technologies in medical technology, agriculture, mechanical engineering and automotive engineering. The new optics centre will bring together LUH's currently dispersed activities in laser physics, production technology, materials development and computer science in one place.

"Optical technologies make our digital everyday life possible. With OPTICUM, the federal government, state and university are investing in a future-oriented, state-of-the-art research building where design, manufacture and application of precision optics will be redefined. We are thus expanding the appeal and relevance of our research far beyond the state's borders and strengthening basic research and the transfer to industry in equal measure," says Falko Mohrs, Lower Saxony's Minister for Science and Culture. "Cooperation across disciplines and close links with the PhoenixD Cluster of Excellence are already special features of optics research in Hannover. In the future, they will be even more effective under one roof in the new research building."

Belit Onay, Mayor of Hannover, adds: "As a flagship project, OPTICUM has immense appeal for Hannover as a science and business location. It also shows that we can successfully establish cutting-edge research institutions in Hannover with Leibniz University and thus further raise the Science Area 30 X profile as a science location. Optical technologies offer great potential solutions to present and future challenges. Hannover is therefore ideally equipped for the future!"

"LUH has already recognised the importance of optical technologies through its own key research area and its own research school, which is comparable to a faculty. It is logical, and I am very pleased that a new research building is now underpinning this future-oriented topic and receiving recognition and support by science policy," says Prof. Dr. Volker Epping, President of LUH.

Prof. Dr. Uwe Morgner, Director of the Institute of Quantum Optics and spokesperson for the PhoenixD Cluster of Excellence, explains: "On the new optics campus with OPTICUM, Laser Zentrum Hannover and the many small and medium-sized companies, we are creating first-class research conditions, maximum synergy and proximity. In the increasingly fierce competition for students and the world's best scientists, this makes us one of the most important photonics centres in Europe."

The building will cost around 82 million euros and is being constructed in close collaboration with HENN Architekten Berlin; completion is planned for 2026. A proportion of the funding will come from the federal government (approximately 25 million euros) and the state of Lower Saxony. The Leibniz School of Optics and Photonics (LSO), founded in spring 2020, will manage the OPTICUM. It is closely linked to the PhoenixD Cluster of Excellence. The four-storey building will feature laboratories, offices and test halls. Marcus Fissan from HENN Architekten explains: "The rooms and open spaces essential for research, exchange and communication - the basis for innovation - are now being created on 4,000 square meters. Innovation that is of enormous importance to us all."

Around 120 researchers from the fields of physics, electrical engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering, chemistry and mathematics will work together on precision optics under one roof. Areas of application include 3D imaging in medicine, applications of optical glass fibres, for example, in minimally invasive endoscopes, optical sensors in environmental analysis, laser production of high-precision components, innovative skin cancer scanners with laser technology and pesticide-free weed control in agriculture.

This film provides a vivid overview of the activities of LUH's Optical Technologies key research area: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlnMVQHjwz8


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For further information, please contact Mechtild Freiin v. Münchhausen, head of Communications and Marketing and spokesperson for Leibniz University Hannover (tel. +49 511 762-5342, email: kommunikation@uni-hannover.de).