The roots of the Laser Component Department can be tracked back to the beginning of the 70s, to the working group “di-electrical coatings” of the former Institute for Applied Physics of the University of Hannover. In the course of almost four decades of research activities in the field of high quality coated components, important contributions to ion assisted deposition processes (IAD) and ion beam sputtering (IBS) processes as well as highly precise control of coating processes and characterization of laser components could be made. The extensive lab- and clean room infrastructure holds, besides the coating area standardized characterization facilities for transfer properties from the VUV to the FIR spectral range, optical losses, laser-induced damage thresholds and the stability of optical components.
Current research activities of the Laser Components Department include complex coating systems for high-power laser systems, optical metrology and inspection metrology. Apart from process concepts and innovative control procedures for coating processes, the LZH is also a competent partner for programming optical monitoring systems and for building high-precision equipment controls. Using these developments, new paths for the controlled production of ternary coating phases and for structures with a continuous variation of the refractive index could be opened. Many approaches in the field of fundamental research concentrate on understanding the characteristics of coating structures and defined mixing phases, which have to date not been thoroughly researched. Also, optimization of process development is supported through diverse optical characterization techniques, which are also offered to quantify optical losses, laser-induced threshold damage and other quality characteristics. Based on the complete range of experience gathered in all the fields of research, coatings according to customer specifications can also be offered in small quantities.
Especially VUV spectral photometers, wide-band spectrometers for process control and set-ups according to ISO standards from the department can be found in industries and research groups throughout the world. The department is also active in developing standards for examining optical components. Last not least, a working group “Advanced Materials” within the framework of the cluster of excellence QUEST (Quantum Engineering and Space Time Research) was started, which concentrates on basic research in the field of ion beam sputtering processes.