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:
- Spectroscopy identifies samples and characterises matter using the wavelength of light.
- Fibre Optic Sensors measure chemical, biological, and industrial processes in demanding environments. This enables process control and optimisation.
- Nanophotonics develops integrated sensor systems for chemical, biochemical, and physical parameters. We also study the possibilities offered by promising metamaterials.
- 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.
- 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:
- We have an outstanding track record in absorption spectroscopy in space, with 3 satellites that have been successfully launched and are all still operational.
- 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.
- For the oil and gas industry, we develop sensors that monitor a wide range of parameters, from acceleration to viscosity.
- We develop sensors for non-invasive medical diagnostics and disease monitoring.
- We apply spectroscopy for defence purposes, to locate roadside bombs.
- We work on optical simulations for improving the performance of photovoltaic cells.
- 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
You can read about how AI is educated in Chapter 1. How can we make clear to AI which goals we want to pursue as humans? Andhow can we ensure intelligent systems will always function in service of society?
Innovation with AI
What does that world look like in concrete terms? Using numerous examples, TNO has created a prognosis for the future in Chapter 2. Regarding construction, for example, in which AI will be used to check the quality, safety, and energy efficiency of buildings before they are actually built. Or healthcare, where robots will partly take over caregivers’ tasks and AI will be able to autonomously develop medicines.
Innovating with innovation AI
How AI will change research itself is explained in Chapter 3. For example, what role will AI be permitted to play in knowledge sharing? And what will happen when we make machines work with insurmountably large data sets?
David Deutsch on the development and application of AI
Peter Werkhoven, chief scientific officer at TNO, joins physicist, Oxford professor, and pioneer in the field of quantum computing, David Deutsch, for a virtual discussion. Deutsch set out his vision in 1997 in the book, The Fabric of Reality. Together, they talk about the significance of quantum computing for the development and application of AI. Will AI ever be able to generate ‘explained knowledge’ or learn about ethics from humans?
Rob de Wijk on the rise of AI in geopolitical context
Anne Fleur van Veenstra, director of science at TNO’s SA&P unit, interviews Rob de Wijk, emeritus professor of international relations in Leiden and founder of The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. Rob is also a much sought-after expert who appears on radio and television programmes. What does the rise of AI mean geopolitically and in armed conflicts?