What immediately springs to mind when you hear the term "artificial light"? You probably conjure up images of well-lit rooms, driving at night or the never-ending masses of lampshades displayed in furniture stores. But artificial light is used more often than you would think: the scanner at the supermarket checkout, lasers in the auto industry and the Internet all work with light. The technical use of electromagnetic radiation is now an integral part of our everyday lives – increasingly in combination with state-of-the-art electronics and software.
Optical technologies utilize the extraordinary properties of light: focusing precision, breathtaking speed and extremely short pulses. Today, optical technologies are seen as the pacemakers in modern industry and society. And German optical companies are certainly keeping abreast of the times: with their pioneering innovations, employees at Carl Zeiss strive for constant advancement in many different fields of technology. In medical technology, microscopy or lithography, new optical technologies create enhanced instruments and offer solutions to the challenges facing their users. To achieve this goal, Carl Zeiss invests more than ten percent of sales revenues in research and development on average every year.
Optical technologies are one of the most important fields of activity in the German economy. According the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany, about 16 percent of the people working in the country’s manufacturing trade are directly or indirectly involved with optical technologies. Leading companies have now published the Photonik 2020 Memorandum on the “future of optical technologies in Germany”. To put it in a nutshell: German companies continue to lead the world market for optical systems. Photonics, the technology for generating and harnessing light, is a key focal point of the country’s innovation policy. Optical technologies made in Germany offer leading edge quality – after all, it is not without good reason that exports account for 65 of sales in this field. And the industry is continuing to grow; according the memorandum, production in the optical industry will increase by an annual average of eight percent over the next five years.
June 16, 2009