News and Media

March 2023 SPIE Photonics West

Invited talk : Astrophotonics: photonic integrated circuits for astronomical instrumentation

Prof. Dr. Martin Roth

Photonic Integrated Circuits (PIC) are best known for their important role in the telecommunication sector, e.g. high speed communication devices in data centers. However, PIC also hold the promise for innovation in sectors like life science, medicine, sensing, automotive etc. The past two decades have seen efforts of utilizing PIC to enhance the performance of instrumentation for astronomical telescopes, perhaps the most spectacular example being the integrated optics beam combiner for the interferometer GRAVITY at the ESO Very Large Telescope. This instrument has enabled observations of the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way at unprecedented angular resolution, eventually leading to the Nobel Price for Physics in 2020. Several groups worldwide are actively engaged in the emerging field of astrophotonics research, amongst them the innoFSPEC Center in Potsdam, Germany. We present results for a number of applications developed at innoFSPEC, notably PIC for integrated photonic spectrographs on the basis of arrayed waveguide gratings and the PAWS demonstrator (Potsdam Arrayed Waveguide Spectrograph), PIC-based ring resonators in astronomical frequency combs for precision wavelength calibration, discrete beam combiners (DBC) for large astronomical interferometers, as well as aperiodic fiber Bragg gratings for complex astronomical filters and their possible derivatives in PIC.


2023 Astronomical Notes (AN) Proceedings SDW2022

The 7th installment of a successful series of workshops brought together scientists and engineers who develop, produce, implement and operate the most advanced imaging sensors used in scientific instrumentation.

The workshop builds on a consolidated format that includes talks from the leading experts in the technology and scientific fields, and provides extensive time for discussions during oral/poster sessions, and interactive roundtables. Informal discussions continue during group activities promoted by the social and cultural events featuring the best offered by the location of choice, Potsdam. The workshop formula is tailored to keep an informal and conducive atmosphere to the exchange of information and establishing long-lasting relationships and collaborations.

The proceedings will be peer-reviewed and published as a feature issue of the 2023 Astronomische Nachrichten / Astronomical Notes (AN)


Albert Einstein in front of the Einstein Tower, Telegrafenberg, Potsdam (1921).

Credit: AIP/Archiv

Astrophotonics moves to real-world applications

04.03.2022 - LaserFocusWorld


PAWS, a prototype of an integrated photon spectrograph on a chip during integration with the cryogenically cooled infrared array Teledyne H2RG in the innoFSPEC laboratory.  The waveguide array (insert) provides a spectral resolution of R-15,000 in the astronomical range H (1.55 μm) with unprecedented efficiency.  The chip was developed by innoFSPEC and manufactured by Enablence (USA).  Innovative spectrographs of this kind for future space missions promise significant savings in mass and volume compared to, for example, the 196 kg NIRSpec on board the James Webb Space Telescope.

Credit: AIP/Svend-Marian Bauer

A sharp look into space with new instruments

27.12.2021 - Year in Review Astrophysics 2021.

Astrophotonics - an emerging field of astrophysics

13.08.2021 - Two renowned journals in the field of optics and photonics publish joint special issue.

Following the Astro2020 Decadal Survey Pathways to Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 2020s report identifies Astrophotonics as a key technology area for the future of astronomy. Ref. to page. 436, “K.4.7 Technology Development: Astrophotonics” of the full report.

"The more coordinated approach adopted by Europe (Germany in particular) and Australia has led to success and leadership in this field"

Lead by Dr Aline Dinkelaker and Dr Aashia Rahman and an international editorial team, OPTICA (formerly OSA) publishes a joint feature issue on the topic of astrophotonics in JOSA B and Applied Optics.

Astrophotonics – an emerging field in astrophysics

"Astrophotonics : Processing Starlight"

Dr. Aline Dinkelaker and Dr. Aashia Rahman discuss how starlight processors are transforming future astronomical instruments.

In The Innovations Platform Issue 3 Page 50, Professor Martin M Roth and Dr Kalaga Madhav from innoFSPEC Potsdam explain how Astrophotonics is crucial to the new and next generation of astronomy infrastructure

Last update: 26. May 2023