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January 12, 2023

DIHP Elevator Pitch 2023

On January 12, 10 idea teams presented their innovative research and business projects at the fifth edition of the “DIHP Elevator Pitch”. The jury, consisting of representatives from various business and science institutions, awarded prizes for a wide variety of ideas. These included, for example, a project to curb bee mortality, as well as projects from the fields of bioanalytics and medical technology.


Here are the five winning teams of DIHP Pitch 2023:

  • Laser-Flow - Dr. Tino Schenk and Dr. Sven Stengel (Abbe Center of Photonics)
  • CompCam - Dr. Günter Weber, Dr. Uwe Spillmann and Wilko Middents (Helmholtz Institute Jena)
  • On-site Sensorik (SustainIR) - Steffen Biermann (Leibniz-IPHT) and colleagues for Micro-Hybrid Electronics GmbH, Hermsdorf
  • ProDICAN - Christin Reimer, Dr. Johann Kufs and Prof. Falk Hillmann (Leibniz-HKI)
  • BeeSupervisor - Philipp Landwehr, Albert Dehne and team (Fraunhofer IOF)

May 23, 2022

DIHP Elevator Pitch 2022

At the fourth DIHP Pitch Event, innovative ideas leveraging optics, photonics and biophotonics were awarded. The winning teams were thrilled to invest their new research budgets at one of the five partner institutes to advance their ideas. For a thorough and differentiated evaluation of the projects, the jury was composed of representatives of different institutions from industry and science, transfer experts of the participating institutions, as well as experienced founders.


The following ideas were selected and won a research budget. They will now be further developed at the five research institutes in Jena which are part of the DIHP consortium:

  • Industrial Emission Monitoring – Qualivon Ltd., Orissa, Indien
  • Microbial monitoring of bioreactors – FluIDect GmbH, Jena 
  • ProDICAN – Christin Reimers, Johann Kufs and Falk Hillmann, Jena
  • Deep&Chronic - DeepEn –  Sergey Turtaev, Patrick Westermann, Jiri Hofbrucker and Hana Cizmarova, Jena 
  • AWARE – Advanced Wavefront Retrieval – Joachim Hein, Jena

January 11, 2022

2021 Recap

2021 was another eventful year in terms of start-up activities in optics and photonics. We had two new start-ups, Quantum Optics Jena GmbH (QOJ) from the Fraunhofer IOF and Xsight Optics GmbH from the Institute of Applied Physics (IAP).

The DIHP teams flourished and were able to attract additional attention and funding. IDLoop had the chance to participate in the regional accelerator program TRIP in autumn, and SPACEOPTIX GmbH (SPX), our spin-off from Fraunhofer IOF, pitched at the Thuringian Investor Days after participating to the TRIP.  SPX was ranked as the 6th most promising start-up in Germany (out of 50). Another team took part in the Fraunhofer AHEAD accelerator program. ROBUST AO GmbH not only successfully participated in the technology competition getstarted2gether, winning €2,000,000 for prototype development, but also won the ThEx Award 2021.

Furthermore, ROBUST AO successfully entered the next development phase by receiving venture capital from beteiligungsmanagement Thüringen GmbH (bm-t) and the Fraunhofer Technology Transfer Fund GmbH (FTTF). These investors are also on board with QOJ, supplemented by ELAS Technologies Investment GmbH. Last but not least, Xsight has also gained a strategic investor in X Life Science AG.

November 8, 2021

Research collaboration between the Fraunhofer Institutes IOF and EMI and their respective spin-offs and DIHP-Pitch winners SPACEOPTIX and ConstellR

The collaboration team developed a telescope with metal optics that will observe the Earth from the International Space Station (ISS), providing insights into a more efficient use of water in agriculture. It will be brought to the ISS in 2022 for an extensive “in-orbit demonstration”. 

Read the press release to know more about it.

September 1, 2021

Follow-up funding for the DIHP

The successful DIHP model will be continued! The acquisition of € 1.2 million from the State of Thuringia (TMWWDG) / The Thüringer Aufbaubank (TAB) enables the further development of the Digital Innovation Hub Photonics (DIHP). In 2022 and 2023, successes will continue within a consortium with the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT), the Leibniz Institute of Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute (HKI), the Helmholtz Institute Jena (HI-J) and the Abbe Center of Photonics (ACP) at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. 

May 11, 2021


As part of the MPSP Spring School, the DIHP offers the workshop “Entrepreneurship – turn your research into a business”.

April 7, 2021

"Scaling up your team"

A workshop on the topic of "Scaling up your team" was organized for the TRIP class. The issue was discussed through different questions: In what dimensions does a start-up grow? What challenges arise in the process? How can coordination and team dynamics succeed?  Dr. Sebastian Händschke (DIHP project manager) and Stefan Kermas (Olympic champion, coach and team designer) provided various answers and impulses, with also a sport reference.

February 10, 2021

Quantum start-up secures investors

The Quantum Optics Jena GmbH (QOJ) Team announced its seed investment round this week. Quantum Optics Jena is a cyber security spin-off that emerged from the Fraunhofer IOF. It focuses on a groundbreaking encryption technology based on quantum physics, with which it aims to offer services for tap-proof communication in the age of quantum computing. 

Founded at the end of 2020, Quantum Optics is the fifth team since the Digital Innovation Hub Photonics (DIHP) was founded in 2019 and the first time that a DIHP team’s business project has been supported with venture capital, here by bm-t beteiligungsmanagement Thüringen GmbH, FTTF and ELAS Technologies Management GmbH.

Congratulations to the QOJ team: Dr. Kevin Füchsel, Dr. Oliver de Vries, Dr. Erik Beckert, Dr. Markus Gräfe, and Dr. Fabian Steinlechner.

Press release "Quantum Optics Jena": Fraunhofer IOF’s quantum technology start-up successfully completes seed funding for the development of highly secure communication systems.

January 28, 2021

Congratulations to the winners of our "Digital Pitch '21"!

The jury awarded three innovative ideas:

  • 1st place (research budget of €50,000)
    Specto Photonics Srl. from Milan with their on-chip spectroscopy for the non-invasive biomedical diagnosis (Giuseppe Antonacci, Dario Polli, Riccardo Magno et al.)
  • 2nd place (research budget of €40,000):
    "QuSense" enables quantum imaging for many fields, including biomedicine and quality assurance from Quantum Optics Jena GmbH (Dr. Kevin Füchsel, Dr. Oliver de Vries et al.)
  • 3rd place (research budget of €30,000):
    "IDloop" is a technology that enables contactless 3D fingerprint recognition (Jörg Reinhold and Dr. Tom Michalsky)

Many thanks to everyone who supported the DIHP Digital Pitch 2021!

Special thanks to our jury members who contributed their different perspectives and expertise from entrepreneurship, investment, research, and start-up support.

January 1, 2021

Start of business operations by mcd – modern camera designs GmbH

November 25, 2020

Technical article for founding team

The UC2 team publishes "A versatile and customizable low-cost 3D-printed open standard for microscopic imaging" in Nature Communications. Congratulations!


November 24, 2020

The DIHP at the InnoCon 2020

Presentation of the DIHP at InnoCon 2020 organized by the Thuringian Cluster Management (ThCM) on behalf of the Ministry of Economics.


October 6, 2020

DIHP at the Photonics Days of Optec BB

Invited to the event by the organizers, Dr. Sebastian Händschke will present the DIHP at the workshop "Entrepreneurship in Quantum Photonics" at the Photonics Days of Optec BB.


October 1, 2020

Own company building for start-up team

SPACEOPTIX GmbH moves into its own premises in Isseroda.


September 14, 2020

Start-up team founds company

We congratulate Robust AO team, Dr. Claudia Reinlein, Immanuel Burckhardt and Marlies Gier, on founding a company in Jena. 


April 1, 2020

EXIST foundation grant for start-up team

The team of the former Fraunhofer employees (Marlies Gier, Immanuel Buckhardt and the initiator Dr. Claudia Reinlein) receives an EXIST foundation grant together with the K1 start-up service of the FSU for its business idea of Robust AO, designed for series production of deformable mirrors.


March 25, 2020

Start-up team founds company

Congratulations to SPACEOPTIX GmbH team (Marcel Hornaff, André Urbich, Mathias Schulz and Dr. Matthias Beier) on founding their company in Leipzig.



March 4, 2020

Award for start-up team

At the award ceremony at the Abbe Center of Photonics, Jan Sperrhake (co-founder of Xsight Optics) receives the "Edmund Educational Award" in the Gold category.


March 3, 2020

Network meeting in the DIHP Club

First meeting of all DIHP start-up teams to get to know each other and exchange experiences over breakfast.


February 25, 2020

Start-up team travels internationally

The SPACEOPTIX team pitches and exhibits at the "Paris Space Week 2020" on the grounds of the "Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace" (Air and Space Museum), accompanied and supported by Sebastian Händschke. 


January 30, 2020

DIHP start-up selected to pitch at the HHL SpinLab Investors Day

The DIHP-supervised team SPACEOPTIX has been selected from many applicants as one of the five teams to present its concept at the HHL SpinLab Investors Day. The founding idea of Dr. Matthias Beier (from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF) and his team focuses on the production of optical components for satellites. There is a prize money of €3000 and many opportunities to talk to investors. The SpinLab in the old cotton mill in Leipzig, is one of the three largest and most successful accelerator programs in the whole Germany. Good luck to the team!


January 27, 2020

DIHP-Elevator Pitch "First Call 2020"

The project and start-up ideas selected in the application process for the DIHP Elevator Pitch "First Call 2020" will present their concepts.


January 15, 2020

Application deadline for the DIHP Elevator Pitch

End of the application phase for the DIHP Elevator Pitch "first Call 2020".


November 28, 2019

DIHP teams pitch their start-up ideas at the "Unhide the Champions: Optics" event in Jena

Two DIHP-supported teams pitched their business ideas at the event organized by HighTech Startbahn. Dr. Claudia Reinlein’s team from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF was selected was selected to present their business idea for the manufacture and sale of robust optics ("Robust AO").

© Frank Grätz/ HighTech Startbahn Netzwerk e.V.
Claudia Reinlein during her pitch.
© Frank Grätz/ HighTech Startbahn Netzwerk e.V.
Joint pitch by Ria Krämer (right) and Daniel Richter (left)

November 21, 2019

DIHP team member awarded

Jan Sperrhake wins the "Edmund Optics Educational Award" in the Gold category with a total value of €7000. Jan Sperrhacke is a research assistant at the Institute of Applied Physics (IAP) at Friedrich Schiller University Jena and is currently being supervised at the DIHP, together with Maria Nisser (Jena Unioversity Hospital), on the possibilities of founding a company with their concept of contactless vital parameter measurement. 


November 13, 2019

Presentation of DIHP at the InnoCON Thuringia 2019 "Intelligent. Digital. Networked"

Project manager Dr. Sebastian Händschke presented the Digital Innovation Hub Photonics (DIHP) together with the coordinator of the Center of Excellence in Photonics, Dr. Robert Kammel, at the InnoCON Thuringia 2019. The focus was on the DIHP’s approach to finding, developing, and supporting start-ups and spin-offs at the Center of Excellence in Photonics.

© LEG Thüringen
Sebastian Händschke (left) presents the DIHP at the Center of Excellence in Photonics together with Robert Kammel (right).

October 18 and 19, 2019

DIHP delegation at the Entrepreneurship Summit in Berlin

A small delegation from the Digital Innovation Hub Photonics (DIHP) traveled to the Entrepreneurship Summit in Berlin. Here, Prof. Günter Faltin (known in the start-up scene for his book "Kopf schlägt Kapital" i.e., "Brain versus Capital") organizes an annual two-day conference at the FU Berlin on the topics of start-ups and start-up motivation. The DIHP participants came from the Institute of Applied Physics (IAP) at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF and Jena University Hospital (UKJ). The program included presentations on various start-up-related topics ranging from "I want to start a business: How do I find an idea?" to workshops on the development and elaboration of a concrete business model.

May 15, 2019

"Elevator Pitch 2019" – Internal call for proposals at the Center of Excellence in Photonics

In the first internal competition for the DIHP Elevator Pitch at the Institute of Applied Physics (IAP) at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF, two teams have won substantial research budgets: Ria Krämer and Daniel Richter from IAP and Dr. Markus Gräfe and Dr. Erick Beckert from the Fraunhofer IOF.

May 3, 2019

Start-up team founds a company

We congratulate Dr. Frank Wipppermann and Jacques Dupparé on the founding of mcd – modern camera designs GmbH in Jena.