Experiment for proton acceleration at the POLARIS high-energy laser system.


Strategic ACP funding focuses on large scale, interdisciplinary and sustainable collaborative research projects.
Experiment for proton acceleration at the POLARIS high-energy laser system.
Image: Jens Meyer (University of Jena)

Strategic ACP funding focuses on large scale, interdisciplinary and sustainable collaborative research projects. The following list is a selection of strategic research projects which have been acquired by ACP's principal scientists through competitive funding programs:

German Research Foundation (DFG)

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Logo
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Logo
Image: DFG
  • EXC 2051 "Balance of the Microverse"

    1st funding period 2019-2024

    Microorganisms rule the world through space and time. Microbial consortia and their interactions control the environment and health. Their disturbance by (a)biotic factors has drastic consequences. A balanced interaction between all partners is critical for the maintenance of:

    • Functioning of all ecosystems
    • Stable climate
    • Growth and well-being of plants and animals
    • Human health and sustainable natural resources

    The mission of the Microverse Cluster is to provide the scientific basis for understanding microbial balance from the molecular to the ecosystem level. We ultimately aim to develop technology allowing for targeted interventions to maintain or restore microbial balance.

    www.microverse-cluster.deExternal link 

  • SFB/CRC 1375 "NOA - Nonlinear Optics down to Atomic scales"

    1st funding period 2019-2023, 2nd funding period 2023-2027

    Most interaction between light and matter relevant to our daily life scales linearly with the incident intensity. However, nonlinear optical processes already begin to occur for light at moderate intensities, becoming more pronounced at higher field strengths. As a consequence, properties of light are modified, manifesting themselves in amplitude, phase, polarization or frequency changes. General examples of nonlinear optical processes are lasing and the generation of coherent light. Important specific examples are frequency conversion, supercontinuum and atto-second pulse generation.The investigation of these processes is the focus of our Collaborative Research Center (SFB/CRC) 1375 "Nonlinear Optics down to Atomic scales (NOA)" which started in July 2019.

    NOA focuses on exploring fundamental nonlinear processes of light matter interaction in low-dimen­sional nanostructures, such as atomically thin layers, nanoparticles and -wires, nanostructured surfaces and molecular assemblies. We will explore quantum phenomena as light-induced tunneling of electrons through metallic nanogaps and field-driven carrier acceleration in plasmonic nanostructures, atomic lattices and 2D-materials. This includes the investigation of the resulting back-action on the electromagnetic field, causing the generation of higher harmonics carrying valuable information about the electronic wavefunctions involved in the interaction.


  • SFB/CRC 1278 "PolyTarget - Polymer-based nanoparticle libraries for targeted anti-inflammatory strategies"

    1st funding period: 2017-2021, 2nd funding period 2021-2025

    In the Collaborative Research Center PolyTarget, polymer-based nanoparticulate carrier materials for targeted application of pharmaceutical agents are being developed. The focus is on systems that are suitable for the therapy of diseases and syndromes characterized by an inflammatory reaction that significantly contributes to their morbidity.

    www.polytarget.uni-jena.de de 

  • TRR 234 Catalight - Light-driven Molecular Catalysts in Hierarchically Structured Materials

    1st funding period 2018-2022, 2nd funding period: 2022-2026

    CataLight is a transregional collaborative research center, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), hosted by the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and Ulm University. CataLight's project partners are at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research Mainz, the University of Vienna, the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (IPHT), the Technical University Kaiserslautern-Landau, the Argonne National Lab Chicago, and the Ohio State University. CataLight explores the controlled linkage of molecular light-driven catalytic units with hierarchically structured soft matter matrices to convert solar radiation into chemical reactivity.


  • IGRK/IRTG 2675 "META-ACTIVE - Tailored metasurfaces: generating, programming and detecting light"

    1st funding period 2022-2027

    Metasurfaces are two-dimensional arrangements of designed nanoscale building blocks that offer exquisite control over the properties of light fields and allow for the realization of ultra-compact, highly functional photonic devices. Within META-ACTIVE, the spatial light control provided by optical metasurfaces will be combined with the capability of their resonant building blocks to enhance light-matter interactions and/or facilitate a tunable optical response. Pertinent research questions encompass various projects in the areas of light-emitting metasurfaces, programmable metasurfaces and metasurface-enhanced detection.

    In the framework of the International Research Training Group (IRTG) 2675 "META-ACTIVE", we will create and investigate active meta­surfaces, which emit, detect and dynamically manipulate light, making use of the capability of their resonant meta-atoms to enhance the interaction of light with nanoscale matter. By combining the nanoantenna effect of the individual meta-atoms with the additional degrees of freedom offered by the arrangement, metasurfaces provide opportunities for tailoring light-matter interactions far exceeding the respective capabilities of individual nanoantennas. This scientific vision will lay the foundations for new types of high-performance (quantum) light sources, programmable optical systems, and enhanced detectors based on the metasurface concept.


  • GRK PhInt - Photo-polarizable Interfaces and Membranes

    The new Research Training Group "PhInt - Photopolarisable Interfaces and Membranes" at the University of Jena will focus on the underlying interactions between light and new materials. Prominent examples of light-driven processes and structures are photosynthesis, light-to-energy conversion in photovoltaics, but also light-driven molecular machines. In all these areas, it is necessary to understand the underlying interactions between light and materials in order to develop new materials with improved functionality. The new PhInt research training group will conduct intensive research into such interactions. The aim is to produce and characterise photoswitchable membranes and interfaces. The focus is on molecularly thin membranes and the interfaces of solids such as silicon and glass. One focus will be on characterising the molecular processes across material classes that lead to changes in the macroscopic properties of the materials. In addition, suitable methods will be developed and established to study the processes that take place at the molecular level and sometimes extremely quickly. "

    The German Research Foundation (DFG) will fund it from 1 September, as announced on 10 May. The research network, for which 5.8 million euros have been applied for over the next five years, will include 24 positions for doctoral candidates.

    Learn more
  • FOR/RU 2783 "Probing the Quantum Vacuum at the High-Intensity Frontier"

    1st funding period: 2019-2023

    The quantum vacuum represents the ground state of nature as it is described by quantum field theory, being the basic theory concept for all known matter and its particle-physics interactions.

    The interaction of light with the quantum vacuum gives rise to some of the most fundamental and exotic processes in modern physics, which remain largely untested in the laboratory to date. Tests of these iconic predictions of quantum electrodynamics (QED), the field theory of light and matter, are becoming possible just now. Seizing this opportunity is the goal of this DFG Research Unit. The advent of ultra-intense lasers with up to 10 petawatt (PW) peak power now provides a golden opportunity to advance our knowledge at the high-intensity frontier.

    Together with the current development of theoretical methods to describe fluctuation-induced quantum processes, the nonlinear regime of the QED vacuum is becoming accessible both experimentally and theoretically. The ambitious program of the Research Unit will provide theoretically firm predictions for quantum vacuum processes and experimentally investigate them combining the most advanced ultra-intense laser technology with novel high-purity detection schemes.

    www.quantumvacuum.orgExternal link 

European Union and European Research Council (ERC)

Image: EFRE & ESF
  • Attosecond Chemistry - COST Action (CA18222)

    Funding period 2019-2024

    Recent developments of ultrashort intense light sources operating in the XUV and X-ray spectral regions promise to revolutionize chemistry, as they will give access to dynamical processes occurring in the attosecond time scale (1 asec = 10-18 s), the natural time scale for electronic motion in atoms and molecules. Thus, such light sources will allow to address new fundamental questions about the role and possible control of electron dynamics in chemical reactivity, to investigate photoinduced charge migration in relevant molecular systems, and to image, with asec resolution, fast structural changes in molecules during proton transfer, isomerization, or motion through conical intersections. Large-scale facilities are currently being developed all over Europe for this purpose (ELI-ALPS, EuXFEL, FERMI, SwissFEL, etc), accompanied by an increasing demand of accurate theoretical support for an optimal use of these resources.

    The AttoChem network will coordinate experimental and theoretical efforts to exploit the large potential of attosecond techniques in chemistry, with the aim of designing new strategies for the control of charge migration in molecules by directly acting on the attosecond time scale. This ability will be used to selectively break and form chemical bonds, thus opening new avenues for the control of chemical reactions. The results of the Action are expected to have a significant impact in several areas of chemistry, such as photovoltaics, radiation damage, catalysis, photochemistry, or structural determination. AttoChem will also act as a liaison with the relevant stakeholders to bridge the gap to industrial applications.

    Learn moreExternal link
  • BioQantSense - Twinning for Excellence of the Serbian Research Center for Quantum Biophotonics (EU TWINNING 101079355)

    Funding period 2022-2025

    Biophotonics is a multidisciplinary scientific field with potentially high-impact applications in many sectors such as medicine, pharmacology, agriculture and environmental protection. Quantum biophotonics is an emergent field that allows making sensitive, reliable and traceable measurements in a bio-environment. The EU-funded BioQantSense project aims to raise the excellence and reputation of the Institute of Physics Belgrade (IPB) in Serbia especially in the field of quantum biophotonics. To that end, it will twin the IPB with two other renowned European research institutions. The project will help improve the management, administration and organisation skills of the IPB in international research and innovation activities.

    Learn moreExternal link
  • EMIMEP - European Master for Industry in Microwave Electronics and Photonics (MSCA-EMJMD)

    Funding period 2024-2029

    ASP is a full member of the Erasmus Mundus Master (EMM) consortium EMIMEP. In the context of increasing demand for research and industrial applications, EMIMEP is a thoroughly integrated program with a jointly developed curriculum. Areas covered range from the fundamentals of microwave electronics and photonics to their implementations with new technology in wired and wireless communications, moving from components to system architectures for communication systems and networks. EMIMEP will offer full-scale scholarships for a 2-year Master's degree from at least two European Universities. 

    The EMIMEO consortium comprises the University of Limoges (France), the University of Brescia (Italy), the University of the Basque Country (Spain) and the University of Cluj-Napoca (Romania). For students, the program offers the opportunity of a Joint/Multiple Master's degree with these partners.

    A website is currently built up.

  • FastGhost - Fast quantum ghost microscopy in the mid-infrared (EU-FET-OPEN 899580)

    Funding period 2020-2024

    While we typically do not think of atoms in a molecule as moving around, molecules can stretch along their bonds, vibrate around their centres of mass and rotate around their axes. The frequencies (or corresponding wavelengths) at which these motions occur are characteristic and unique for each molecule, creating what is known as a spectral fingerprint. The molecular fingerprint region of the electromagnetic spectrum (the mid-infrared, or mid-IR region) is of tremendous interest because it provides a non-invasive way to identify and quantify molecules. The EU-funded FastGhost project is manipulating single photons and photon pairs to deliver a ground-breaking quantum imaging system for the mid-IR region targeting the medical sciences.

    Learn moreExternal link
  • LISA - Laser Ionization and Spectroscopy of Actinide elements (MSCA-ITN 861198)

    Funding period 2019-2024

    Uranium and plutonium are perhaps the best-known actinides, a large group of radioactive elements most of which are highly unstable and as of yet only produced synthetically via nuclear reactions in particle accelerators. Actinides also include obscure elements like Curium, Einsteinium, Fermium and Mendelevium named after famous scientists. Although actinides have been crucial to our basic understanding of nuclear chemistry and applications including nuclear power, they are still largely a mystery due to their ephemeral natures. The EU-funded LISA project brings together 12 partners focused on preparing 15 PhD students to shine the light on actinides. The consortium plans to develop novel laser technology enabling the creation and study of actinides for the development of new applications.

    Learn moreExternal link
  • METAFAST - Metasurfaces for Ultrafast Light Structuring (EU-FET-OPEN 899673)

    Funding period 2020-2024

    Photons have long since overtaken electrons as the medium of choice for data transmission over long distances. By manipulating their unique properties, speed, capacity, integrity and security can be improved to meet the demands of today's increasingly connected world. The most important parameters include intrinsic and orbital angular momentum. The EU-funded METAFAST project is developing a groundbreaking approach to ultrafast light patterning based on next-generation optical metamaterials. Success could increase the current speed of intrinsic and orbital angular momentum modulators sixfold, opening the door to a wealth of new applications for Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (check if translation is correct). 

    Learn moreExternal link

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Image: BMBF
  • InfectoGnostics - Federal Research Campus

    Funded 2013-2027

    As a public-private partnership, the InfectoGnostics Research Campus Jena is breaking new ground in the diagnosis of infections. More than 30 partners from science, medicine and business are working together to develop novel solutions for the rapid and cost-effective on-site diagnosis of infectious diseases.

    At the research campus, innovative photonic and molecular biological methods are developed and combined to reliably detect infectious agents (especially viruses, bacteria and fungi) as well as antibiotic resistance and to better understand the host response (e.g. in sepsis). The triad of technology, application and production creates laboratory and rapid tests for use in human and veterinary medicine as well as for food safety. This unique cooperation between public and private partners on equal terms breaks down barriers to the establishment of new diagnostics: promising solutions from basic research are brought into the diagnostic routine and thus to users and patients more quickly in the form of market-ready products (translation correct?). 

    Learn moreExternal link
  • Leibniz Center for Photonics in Infection Research, funded in the framework of the National Research Infrastructure Roadmap

    Realization phase 2019-2023, Operational phase 2024-2032

    Infectious diseases are among the most common causes of death worldwide, but antibiotic-resistant pathogens complicate treatment. As a consequence, there is an immense need for new therapeutic approaches and rapid diagnostic procedures. The light-based ones, together with artificial intelligence, support physicians in their diagnosis and give them a time advantage; artificial intelligence, in particular, helps with data evalutation and enables reliable diagnostics. Moreover, photonics can be considered to be a powerful tool in the research and development of new therapeutics and also machine learning methods are seen as able to interpret complex measurement data in order to derive diagnostic information.

    Learn moreExternal link
  • Max Planck School of Photonics - Photonics education of excellence

    1st funding period 2019-2025

    The Max Planck School of Photonics is a top tier interdisciplinary graduate school that provides and coordinates an integrated PhD program in photonics for excellent graduates from all over the world. The PhD candidates can enter the program after their Bachelor‘s degree by obtaining a qualifying Master in one of three full-time Master programs of cooperating universities – the MSc Photonics of the ASP in Jena is one of them.

    With a qualifying Master’s degree, PhD candidates can then start their research phase at one of 16 partner institutions at eight locations in Germany, i.e. top-ranking German universities or renowned research institutions. The Max Planck School of Photonics connects the best scientists in the field of photonics throughout Germany in its Fellow-network and thereby provides students not only with excellent supervision, but also valuable contacts and research support.

    Furthermore, additional digital courses as well as soft skill trainings are offered to PhD candidates within Spring and Autumn Schools. Thanks to generous scholarships and full positions, the Ph.D. candidates can concentrate completely on this excellent education during the program and thus have very good career opportunities in the German photonics industry and academia after graduation.

    Learn moreExternal link
  • QOMPLEX - BMBF joint project on Complexity Scaling of Quantum Photonic Systems

    Funding period 2021-2024

    QOMPLEX is intended to demonstrate and improve the technical feasibility of complex quantum systems and associated quantum photonic protocols with significantly more than two photons and a variety of photonic modes. Following the project, the work can and will lead to concrete innovative products from industrial partners. The range of possible applications extends from quantum communication to sensors, imaging and quantum computing.

    As part of the project, integrated quantum photonic chips will be produced on a wafer scale and used to demonstrate quantum optical applications, so-called protocols. Architectures examined include hybrid optical and optoelectronic circuits, integrated waveguide arrays, multimode diffractive interferometers and holographic mode filters. These are used to produce, manipulate and detect complex quantum states. QOMPLEX pursues 3 scaling goals:

    1. Technology scaling on large chip areas (up to 12'')
    2. Scaling the complexity of photonic states
    3. Application scaling through new protocols for complex photonic states.

    Learn moreExternal link
  • QuantumMiniLabs - Joint project in the Quantum Futur framework

    Funding period 2024-2027

    In this joint BMBF project, coordinated by the Hochschule Ruhr-West, our consortium will develop a cost-effective Do-It-Yourself environment for experiments with second-generation quantum systems. Using this learning environment, learners can experience the practical handling of quantum effects and become more aware and enthusiastic about the topic. In order to be able to meet the price requirements for a mass-market structure, the quantum system, which is stable at room temperature, is used in the form of nitrogen vacancy diamonds. This experimental environment called "QuantumMiniLabs" should be distributed to and taught at 100 schools and equivalent places in Germany. 

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  • qp-tech.edu - Joint project on Quantum Photonics Technology Education

    Funding period 2021-2024

    The collaborative project qp-tech.edu was launched in 2022 by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). It comprises four German Universities (Erlangen, Jena, Ulm, Paderborn) and the Fraunhofer IOF in Jena. qp-tech.edu pursues the goal of supporting the German photonics industry for the challenges of the second quantum revolution in the area of personnel development at scientific, technical and management level through suitable training and further education. The project will use the following instruments to reach this purpose:

    • Systematic and continuous needs analysis (qp-tech.analytics),
    • Development of new, interdisciplinary training modules (qp-tech.study),
    • Analogue and digital further training for specialists (qp-tech.pro),
    • Intersectoral exchange programs (qp-tech.experience).
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  • UKPinho - Joint project of the RUBIN consortium researching on ultrashort laser pulse technology

    Funding period 2023-2025

    UKPiño is an SME-driven alliance of the Central-East Thuringia region consisting of 14 companies and two research institutions. In addition, seven associated partners support the alliance by acting as multipliers in an advisory capacity and partly serving as pilot customers.

    With the help of innovative laser technology based on ultrashort laser pulses, the alliance meets social challenges in the areas of sustainability, energy & climate, health, economy & work as well as mobility. A thorough innovation base, formed from the existing wide-ranging expertise of the partners, serves as the foundation.

    It is also the origin of the alliance’s title and acronym UKPiño: UltraShortPulse Innovation Platform for tailored applications. UKPiño wants to become the leading supplier of ultrashort-pulse laser solutions in the spectral range of 1 μm and 2 μm.

    Learn moreExternal link

Thuringia (with support of the European Union)

Image: TAB und TMWWDG
  • InQuoSens - Thuringian Innovation Center for Quantum Optics and Sensing Technology

    1st funding period 2017-2022, 2nd funding period 2024-2029

    InQuoSens brings together excellent and internationally visible research activities of the two Universities of Jena and Ilmenau  in the key technology quantum optics and sensing technology. By means of strategic investments measures and a joint strategy process at both locations, these fields are synergistically developed. InQuoSens coordinates its scientific development with the innovative needs of the Thuringian metrology and communication industry. For example, InQuoSens is currently working on the question of how quantum technology can be used in autonomous driving or medical diagnostics. Through these activities, InquoSens has developed into an internationally renowned center of scientific excellence which contributes significantly to increase the innovative power of the Thuringian economy.

    InQuoSens was supported by the Thuringian State (FKZ 2017 IZN 0012) and the European Regional Development Fund (EFRE) with EUR 3.0 million in 2017-2022, and with further funds for the installment of the following embeded research groups.

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Foundations and others

Image: At the foundations
  • Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung Breakthroughs Intelligent substrates: switchable interfaces based on multiresponsive hybrid materials - Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung

    Funding period 2020-2025 

    Interactions between different materials or animate and inanimate matter are of fundamental importance in all areas of materials science research. Intelligent materials, with the help of which such interactions can be controlled and programmed, offer one of the most interesting challenges in the field, which materials chemists, physicists and bioscientists at the University of Jena are tackling in a joint research network. The aim is to develop novel materials that react to combinations of different stimuli with significant changes in their properties. Wound dressings that can release healing agents through irradiation with light, for example, are already available today. Such a wound dressing becomes intelligent by making the release of medication dependent on an additional stimulus, for example an inflammatory reaction, which it recognises independently.

    Learn moreExternal link
  • Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung The Jena Alliance of Graduate Schools

    1st funding period 2019-2024

    The Jena Alliance "Life in Focus" promotes a nationally and internationally visible excellent graduate qualification at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena by connecting the university profile lines LIFE and LIGHT through funding of the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung for six years (2019-2024).

    Under the umbrella of the Graduate Academy, which is known for its high quality in qualifying young scientists, the Jena Alliance connects and strengthens the well-established graduate programmes of the Jena School for Microbial Communication (JSMC), the Jena School of Molecular Medicine (JSMM), the Abbe School of Photonics (ASP) and the Max Planck School of Photonics (MPSP). The interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary elements of the graduate programmes are combined by the Jena Alliance and expanded to include innovative aspects of modern doctoral programmes.

    Aims of the Jena Alliance:

    • Building bridges: Networking the participating graduate schools
    • Organisation of joint events
    • Coordination of the international recruitment of doctoral candidates
    • Further development of the cross-cutting, interdisciplinary qualification programme
    • Introduction of a uniform and interdisciplinary supervision programme
    Learn moreExternal link
  • Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung Center for Quantum Photonics (CZS QPhoton)

    1st funding period 2022-2027

    Jena - Stuttgart - Ulm: The first transregional center for quantum photonics at the universities of Jena, Stuttgart and Ulm offers around 50 scientists a cross-disciplinary and cross-location platform for research and exchange.

    The interconnection of quantum technology and photonics forms the foundation of the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung Center QPhoton. By linking the three locations, quantum photonics is advancing from basic research to application. The respective strengths in quantum technology with atoms, solids, superconducting materials and photons complement each other, and enable innovative research approaches.

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  • Helmholtz Society: Accelerator Technology Helmholtz Infrastructure (Athena)

    Funding period 2018-2028

    ATHENA – “Accelerator Technology Helmholtz Infrastructure” is a new research and development platform focusing on accelerator technology and drawing on the resources of all six Helmholtz accelerator institutions (DESY, Jülich Research Centre, Helmholtz Centre Berlin, Helmholtz Centre Dresden-Rossendorf HZDR, KIT and GSI with the Helmholtz Institute of Jena). The Helmholtz Association funds ATHENA as a strategic development project with 29,9 million euros. Together, these centres want to set up two German flagship projects in accelerator research based on innovative plasma-based particle accelerators and ultramodern laser technology: an electron accelerator at DESY in Hamburg and a hadron accelerator at HZDR. At both facilities, a range of different fields of application are to be developed, ranging from a compact free-electron laser, through novel medical uses to new applications in nuclear and particle physics. As soon as they have reached the necessary level of maturity to be put to practical use in a particular area, new compact devices could be built for use in other Helmholtz centres, as well as in universities and hospitals.

    Learn moreExternal link