First-Stage Success in the Excellence Initiative "PhoenixD"

The application for the Cluster of Excellence PhoenixD was positively reviewed by the Excellence Commission of the Federal and State Governments (LINK) on 27 September 2018. The funding will cover seven years starting from 1 January 2019. In addition to researchers from Leibniz Universität Hannover, the project involves the TU Braunschweig, the Laserzentrum Hannover and the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) Hannover. 

The PhoenixD research vision is to implement precision optical systems resource and cost-effectively by using additive manufacturing technology. For this purpose, researchers from mechanical engineering, physics, electrical engineering, computer science and chemistry intend to work together on the simulation, production and application of optical systems. So far, such systems usually consist of glass-based components tediously assembled in small batches, often even by hand. Experts from the various disciplines will aim to work together on a digitized production system that can realize individualized products.

The system opens up far-reaching possibilities for applications. In agriculture, for example, the use of chemicals could be minimized or even eliminated. The new systems to be developed incorporate sensors to detect weed infestation which is then addressed using laser light. For such potentially high-volume applications, classical optical components are currently too expensive. Another application example is in the field of individualized optics for medicine. Here, a near-patient blood analysis for the diagnosis of diseases is an attractive goal.


The organizational and management structure of the Cluster will be based on the General Assembly of all Principle Investigators, Participating Scientists, and members of the different Research Areas and Task Groups. The General Assembly elects all members of the Board, the Extended Board, and the Steering Committee for a term of four years.

The scientific responsibility for the Cluster lies with the ten voting members of the Steering Committee (SC) being responsible for the definition of the scientific objectives and strategic measures. The Board (B) with three voting members (Extended Board: five) is the governing executive body of PhoenixD. For decisions that influence the training of young scientists and the variety of opportunities, the two additional members of the Extended Board (EB) will be included. They are the Head of the PhoenixD Research School PRS and the Equal Opportunities Coordinator. An elected Coordinator, heading PhoenixD and representing its interests both inside and outside the university, represents the Board. For operational duties, the Coordinator will appoint a professional Chief Operating Officer (COO) as Head of the PhoenixD Office. The office comprises the secretarial staff, financial accounting, science communication, the PRS administration, non-scientific IT administration, and the technical management of the research building.

The whole Cluster is actively accompanied, monitored, and advised by the International Advisory Committee (IAC). It comprises world-leading national and international scientists on PhoenixD topics plus representatives of leading national and international companies in optics. The IAC will advise the Cluster on an annual basis. SC and IAC will strive both for mutual exchange, and transfer of knowledge and experience between academia and industry.