Astrophotonics is a rapidly emerging field that uses frontier technologies from physical, optical and photonic sciences to improve the performance, utility and versatility of modern astronomical instruments and observational procedures. This area of research has emerged over the past decade in response to the increasing demands of astronomical instrumentation. Recent examples are robotically positioned optical fibers for spectroscopic measurements in advanced astronomical optical telescopes, planar waveguides for the combination of signals from widely spaced telescopes in stellar interferometry, frequency combs for high precision spectroscopy for the detection of planets around nearby stars, and large mode area fibers to generate artificial stars in the upper atmosphere for adaptive optics correction. Future projected applications of astrophotonics include fiber Bragg gratings, holographic imaging filters and gratings, and miniature photonic spectrographs to access and manipulate light paths in astronomic instrumentation.


Interferometric combination of beams from three different astronomical telescopes in an array of evanescently coupled laser written waveguides for the retrieval of the relative phases between the signals of the telescopes.

In strong collaboration with the Astrophysical Institute of the Physical-Astronomical Faculty at the University of Jena and different international observatories, our main research activities are focused on the experimental realization and evaluation of optical measurement schemes that can be readily transferred to state-of-the-art astronomical instrumentation. Recent examples include two-dimensional arrays of coupled waveguides to determine the phase and amplitude of the correlation function between any pair of three telescopes of an astronomical interferometer and the stabilization of fiber-based interferometers by means of on-chip integrated electro-optical modulators which can be used for the compensation of mechanical vibrations in telescope mirrors.