Semicon and quantum
Space and scientific instrumentation

The Optics expertise group provides world-class technical solutions for high-performance compact optical systems in demanding environments. We apply our optical research, for example, in monitoring gas concentrations in the atmosphere, developing quantum computers and mobile telephone chips, and in non-invasive glucose measuring by diabetics.

Optics for 3 disciplines

1. Optical designers

Optical designers design instruments such as telescopes, spectrometers, and sensors, which are widely used in space or in the semiconductor industry. The designers ensure that incoming light falls correctly on a detector by precisely calibrating mirrors, lenses, grids, and other optical components.

2. Optical engineers

Optical engineers work on integrating, calibrating and testing optical instrumentation. They ensure the optical performance of the hardware by working in a specialist team incorporating multiple disciplines. They solve problems, work in cleanrooms, and are also active on site at our clients’ locations.

3. Systems engineers

Systems engineers guide the process of translating the client’s needs into optical solutions. While an instrument is under development, they bring together various disciplines and departments, and they’re responsible for quality. They oversee the system, focusing on the final result.

Knowledge development within 5 technology lines

Optics develops knowledge within 5 technology lines:

  1. Spectroscopy identifies samples and characterises matter using the wavelength of light.
  2. Fibre Optic Sensors measure chemical, biological, and industrial processes in demanding environments. This enables process control and optimisation.
  3. Nanophotonics develops integrated sensor systems for chemical, biochemical, and physical parameters. We also study the possibilities offered by promising metamaterials.
  4. Both high-end industrial production, such as lithography, and advanced scientific experiments, for example in astronomy, depend greatly on the availability of precise and robust monitoring systems. Metrology experts imagine, design, and develop such systems, including the technology needed to produce them.
  5. We offer complete calibration concepts for optical instruments that are unique in their application, such as satellite components.

Applications in 7 markets

We use our optical expertise in 7 markets:

  1. We have an outstanding track record in absorption spectroscopy in space, with 3 satellites that have been successfully launched and are all still operational.
  2. For the semiconductor industry, we develop modules and equipment, with a focus on sensors and concepts for metrology and lithography. We’re also experts in contamination control.
  3. For the oil and gas industry, we develop sensors that monitor a wide range of parameters, from acceleration to viscosity.
  4. We develop sensors for non-invasive medical diagnostics and disease monitoring.
  5. We apply spectroscopy for defence purposes, to locate roadside bombs.
  6. We work on optical simulations for improving the performance of photovoltaic cells.
  7. For European big science facilities such as ITER, CERN, and KM3NeT, we develop a broad range of optical sensors and diagnostic systems.

A glimpse behind the scenes at the Optics group

Get inspired

17 resultaten, getoond 1 t/m 5

Monitoring your health using light: TNO designs wearable optical sensors

14 December 2022

Wearable biosensors that use light and detectors to provide real-time feedback on our health. They're not only a useful tool to prevent health problems, but some people even owe their lives to them.

TNO Starts 7-year Quantum Testing and Experimentation Program

2 November 2022

TNO is coordinating Qu-Test, a network of RTOs and NMIs funded by Quantum Flagship, to accelerate European competitiveness in quantum technology.

LUMI-Q quantum computer will contribute to a pan-European network

21 October 2022

A consortium by the name of LUMI-Q has been selected to host new European quantum computers. SURF and QuTech—a collaboration between the TU Delft and TNO—contribute to the project to build a hybrid high-performance computing and quantum computing (HPC+QC) platform.

European program to build world’s first quantum internet ecosystem launched

14 October 2022

The European Commission has approved a program of the Quantum Internet Alliance (QIA) to develop a Quantum Internet ecosystem in Europe, a potential world-first prototype.

TOMCA: tissue-optical analysis of wearable medical sensors


Accurate and reliable wearable sensors used as medical devices. TNO supports partners with the design and optimisation of wearable optical sensors.