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Logo_ultra_opticsIn 2002, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) advertised the program "Centres for Innovation Competence" within the scheme "Unternehmen Region". Since its start at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena in 2005, this program has stimulated a strategy process which led to a sustainable restructuring of the local research on optics and photonics. The first two Junior Research Groups  established through this initiative were "Nanooptics" led by ACP principal scientist Thomas Pertsch and "Laser Physics" lead by ACP principal scientist Malte Kaluza. These two groups acted as nuclei for a professional focus and the establishment of the Centre for Innovation Competence ZIK ultra optics, which was designed by a coordinated appeal and investment policies of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Moreover, in 2011 another two Junior Research Groups were granted by the BMBF within a second funding period of ZIK ultra optics, providing financial support until 2016. These groups are concerned with "Diamond- & Carbon Based Optical Systems" and "Advanced Fabrication Technologies for Micro- and Nano-Optics" lead by the ACP principal scientists Alexander Szameit and Uwe Zeitner, respectively.

Due to its great success, ZIK ultra optics was the major driving force for the foundation of the Abbe Center of Photonics (ACP) in 2010 and fostered the integration of Jena's research on optics and photonics with a much wider scope. Today, Ultra Optics is the first of three ACP key research areas and a synonym for successful research at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena with structural roots in innovative training programs as well as cooperative industrial relations. In sum, numerous significant development stimuli of Ultra Optics during the last decade have led to the establishment of sustainable structures and cooperative relations with other institutions of science and economics, which reach out far beyond academia.

Logo_IOF_web190x52Today, the innovation fields and lines of research of Ultra Optics are particularly matched and crosslinked with one of ACP's prime collaborating institutions, the Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (Fraunhofer IOF) in Jena. In particular, many of the Fraunhofer IOF's areas of competences are underpinned and personalized by ACP principal scientists.