Fraunhofer IPM relocates to new building at the Fraunhofer Center in Kaiserslautern
The Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM has relocated to a new building at the Fraunhofer Center in Kaiserslautern. The 1,500 square meter new-build was financed by the EU, Germany and the State of Rhineland-Palatinate at a total cost of 9 million euros and provides space for 50 staff.
At the official opening ceremony on April 14, Rhineland-Palatinate Minister for Education, Science, Further Education and Culture Vera Reiß, University President Helmut Schmidt and representatives of the city focused on the importance of application-based research to Kaiserslautern. »The recipe for success for Kaiserslautern as a location lies in the close networking of all parties – from research into basic principles to applied research and industry. The Fraunhofer facilities are a driving force for the transfer of knowledge and are therefore of central importance to the state’s innovation strategy. The new-build for the Material Characterization and Testing Department and therefore for terahertz research will not only strengthen the Fraunhofer Center and therefore the location as a whole, but is also another important building block in the expansion of the research structure throughout the state,« said Minister Reiß. Technical University President Schmidt highlighted the excellent networking between the university and Fraunhofer institutes which is beneficial to both sides. »As a member of the Science Alliance Kaiserslautern, the IPM is also helping to make Kaiserslautern attract national attention as a science center with its top class research and excellent training on a global level,« continued Mr. Schmidt.
In addition to offices and laboratories, the new-build also provides plenty of space for the »TeraTec« application center which supplies terahertz and microwave measuring equipment to industrial customers. »In the last few years, in particular, many promising applications for terahertz measuring technology have been identified, especially in the fields of analysis and coating thickness measurement,« explained Institute Director Karsten Buse. »The first few products, such as terahertz mail scanners which can detect drugs or explosives hidden in mail, have already been launched on the market with industry partners.« Georg von Freymann, Department Manager at the Kaiserslautern site, continued: »Terahertz measuring technology allows us to make very precise statements about the thickness of individual coatings in multi-layer coating systems, for example. This is very valuable, for example, in the automotive and aircraft industries, where every superfluous gram of paint means unnecessary weight and increased energy consumption.«
Fraunhofer IPM based in Freiburg has been conducting research at its Kaiserslautern site in the field of material characterization and testing based on terahertz and microwaves since 2005. The nucleus of the current department which comprises around 30 staff is the »TeraTec« project group which was established by former Institute Director Elmar Wagner to identify industrial applications for the much under-used terahertz frequency range. The Group has been expanded under the management of René Beigang and today it is a separate department of Fraunhofer IPM in keeping with the Fraunhofer model which is a strong partner both to the Technical University of Kaiserslautern and also for regional industry.