Photonics at UAS Technikum Wien: Fiat lux

DI Lukas Traxler, BSc, and Ing. Mag. Gerd Krizek are in charge of the photonics projects at UAS Technikum Wien.

Nowadays, photonics is a key technology at the global level. For laypersons, however, the term may sound unfamiliar. But the applications of this technical field are already an integral part of everyday life: the expression “photonics” is an umbrella term covering several technologies involving the transmission and control of light. Amongst other things, it includes laser technologies and fiber optics technology. There are now two projects at UAS focusing on photonics, which are sponsored by the City of Vienna.

The project “Photonics – Fundamentals and industrial applications” is intended to give students a very practical understanding of photonics. “Our objective is to integrate, expand and develop the subject of photonics in the courses,” explained Project Director Ing. Mag. Gerd Krizek. “We are creating experiments and applications, which can then be used beyond the lifecycle of the project itself.” Plans call for fundamental laboratory experiments in the various disciplines of graphic systems, LEDs, quantum cryptography and the fundamentals of photonics.

One of the applications which students will explore is augmented reality in the field of traffic technology. “This involves the projection of graphic data and information into the driver’s field of vision, either using glasses or a heads-up display on the windshield,” explained Krizek. “This is a field of technology with great future potential.”

The project LOALiS (Laser and Optics in Applied Life Sciences) also focuses on teaching photonics, but has a stronger emphasis on research. “We concentrate on applications in the field of Life Sciences and Biomedical Technology,” said Project Director DI Lukas Traxler, BSc. For example, at UAS Technikum Wien, an eye model has been developed which can be used to research the effects of lens opacification and artificial intra-ocular lenses, for example as used in the treatment of cataracts. Using this and a follow-up model, students can develop their knowledge of human vision. 

This project also involves the field of mechatronics. “We investigate the process of interaction between the laser and the materials in the case of 3D printers,” explained Traxler. “At first glance, this may not seem to be directly related to Life Sciences. But if one considers refractive corneal surgery, it also involves how the material interacts with the light.”

Both projects started in September and run until August 2019. They are sponsored within the framework of Call 16 (“Strengthening Vienna’s Technical Universities as a Regional Knowledge Centre and the Integration of Photonics in Studies and Research”) of MA 23 of the City of Vienna.