Optics in Denmark

Optical fibers

In 1996, the Danish Optical Society published a white book, which described the most important research institutions, universities and companies working with optics in Denmark. The white book from 1996 furthermore contained a description of the Danish educational activities within the field of optics. An updated version of the whitebook was published in 1999 and the next step was the electronic version, which we are considering to continue here on this site.

The electronic version lacks an update of the description of the educational status in optics at the Danish universities, so below follows the description from 1999.

Danish initiatives in optics (1999)

During the past ten years many new Danish initiatives in optics have been established. Denmark now has significant activities within the following areas:

  • information technology,
  • telecommunication,
  • materials research,
  • materials processing,
  • manufacturing of optical components,
  • manufacturing of laser systems,
  • biomedical optics,
  • biotechnology,
  • optical sensors,
  • the food industry,
  • the printing industry,
  • optics in national defense.

The optical information industry is growing tremendously fast worldwide and optics is now the chosen technology for transmission of information over long distances. Semiconductor lasers, optical fibers and optical amplifiers play a key role in this technology. Denmark has a strong tradition for research and development in optical communication and materials. In 1998, a research center for communication, optics and materials (COM) was founded at the Technical University of Denmark with the aim of strengthening education and research in optics and communication.

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Biomedical optics is a relatively new field that is experiencing remarkable growth worldwide. Non-invasive measurements can be performed optically, a fact that paves the way for completely new and improved diagnostic methods, which may replace the use of ionizing radiation at national as well as international hospitals. In 1999 a new Danish initiative in biomedical optics, the BIOP center, was formed. In the BIOP center engineers, physicists, chemists, and physicians collaborate on the development of new biomedical applications based on the most recent progress in lasers and optical measurement techniques. Two research institutions, two hospitals, and four commercial companies participate in the collaboration.

The materials processing technology with lasers is well established in Denmark. Laser cutting, drilling, and welding are used at several Danish companies. Photolithography plays an essential role in integrated circuit processing and in the production of holographic optical elements. Finally, the printing industry, including manufacturers of commercial printing equipment with lasers, has a strong position in Denmark.

Hence, the Danish optics community encompasses such diverse areas as basic research, applied research and development, manufacturing and sales. To maintain our high research level and to continously increase the volume of Danish high-tech companies, increased interdisciplinary collaboration is necesary. Moreover, this will further increase areas and applications in which optics is used, and attract more students to the field of optics.

In all sincerity, it is my hope that this issue of "Optics in Denmark 1999" will stimulate collaboration between the optical community in Denmark and optical communities in other countries.

Paul Michael Petersen
Editor of Optics in Denmark 1999

The Danish educational program in optics

The Danish educational programs at advanced levels in optics take place at the Technical University of Denmark, Aalborg University, University of Aarhus, Copenhagen University, and Odense University. The specific university courses in optics include the following areas:

  • introduction to optics,
  • Fourier optics and holography,
  • laser techniques and laser physics,
  • semiconductor optoelectronics,
  • optical communication and systems for optical communication,
  • optical design,
  • quantum optics,
  • semiconductor optical devices,
  • fiber and integrated optics,
  • nonlinear optics,
  • biomedical optics,
  • optical materials,
  • laser chemistry,
  • advanced molecular spectroscopy,
  • femtosecond studies of molecules, atoms, liquids, and solids.

fiber_6_hAlthough a complete education in optics is not available at a single Danish university, it is clearly seen from the list above that it can be obtained by combining optical courses from different universities. There is definitely a need for better coordination between the educational programs at different universities and I strongly recommend the scientific communities at the Danish universities to work for such coordination of the educational activities in Denmark. Furthermore, I recommend students with interest in optics to use the guide in "Optics in Denmark 1999" to obtain an advanced and useful education in optics by combining courses at different universities. Now and in the coming years Danish industry will have jobs available for graduates with a competent education in optics. Education in optics at the Danish universities is extremely important for Danish industry and for the future of the Danish optics community.

In contrast to the 1996 version of "Optics in Denmark", the 1999 version is in English. It will allow researchers from other parts of the World to gain insight in the optical activities that take place in Denmark.