Dr. Michael Steinke
Group Leader
Dr. Michael Steinke
Group Leader

Who are you and what is the topic of your research group?

I am a physicist and my research is focused on optical fiber technology. At the Hannover Institute of Technology (HITec) our group operates clean room facilities with unique and complex large-scale equipment for optical fiber fabrication. Starting with a chemical vapor deposition process, we can produce fused silica glass with the highest possible purity. During that process, the glass can be doped with passive elements such as Germanium for flexible waveguide design. A twelve-meter high speciality fiber draw tower allows us to draw fibers with diameters of a few hundred micrometres. With our unique expertise and equipment, we cover the complete designs, fabrication, and characterization process of optical fibers and we also use them in promising applications.

Which research question are you working on?

For example, we are investigating novel multicore fibers with thousands of individual waveguide elements for minimal-invasive 3D endoscopy. Here, the vision is to realize an optical fiber that behaves like a meter-long optical lens, through which 3D imaging can be done regardless of the endoscope bending during medical surgeries.  Another research focus is based on interdisciplinary combinations of fiber and nano-technology. Here, we want to combine the best aspects of these intrinsically very different worlds. For example, we are implementing nanoparticles such as colloidal quantum dots in hollow-type fiber. Thereby, we enable novel functionalities and applications such as fiber-integrated single-photon sources.

What makes this topic special/exciting for you?

Fibers find widespread applications throughout different disciplines, ranging from conventional data transmission to quantum technologies and photochemistry. I am most excited about the interdisciplinary and application-driven nature of our research.

How does your topic help to push the boundaries of what can be measured?

Our multicore fibers will significantly enhance imaging modalities in (bio)medicine and life sciences. For example, corresponding endoscopes will allow for in-vivo biopsy of carcinogenic brain cells. Nanoparticles inside fibers can either be used as novel quantum-emitters (for example of individual photons) or as quantum sensors, which can be superior to conventional sensing concepts.

What is special about participating in the QuantumFrontiers cluster of excellence?

The broad network of experts from various disciplines and how it enables scientific solutions that are more than the sum of the individual contributions.