Large window sections and dark labs

Wednesday 26 Apr 17


Lars-Ulrik Aaen Andersen
Head of Department
DTU Fotonik
+45 45 25 38 16
Students and researchers can draw inspiration from each other in a newly erected building devoted to research into light. Here you will find ultra-modern, sophisticated facilities—both below and above ground.

The official inauguration of three-storey tall Building 340 in the spring will also mark DTU Fotonik’s opening of Denmark’s largest collection of optical instruments for research, education and innovation in the field of communications technology, lasers, LED lighting, and optical fibres. It will see DTU Fotonik bring together several new interrelated laboratory facilities, which have been divided into a dark and light environment.

Photo: Adam Mørk

The majority of the laboratories are located underground, as a large part of the research requires a dark, dust- and vibration-free environment. The rest of the building is characterized by brightness and a high degree of transparency. Through windows that run from the basement up to the ground floor, you can see into the new drawing tower, where glass materials are drawn into long optical fibres. Other parts of the building provide peepholes into state-of-the-art laboratories.

On the main internal thoroughfare—‘Line of Light—featuring large glass windows and LED lights, practice laboratories, auditoriums, and laboratories are located side by side. En route between them, the students meet in their breaks or in connection with group work.

"The new education and research building encourages students and researchers to inspire each other and share knowledge about light and light’s applications."
Lars-Ulrik Aaen Andersen, Head of Department, DTU Fotonik

Photo: Joachim Rode

Visible to students

“The new education and research building encourages students and researchers to inspire each other and share knowledge about light and light’s applications,” says Lars-Ulrik Aaen Andersen—head of department at DTU Fotonik. He emphasizes the importance of the activities in the building being visible to the students, but equally to researchers and the business community.

Photo: Adam Mørk

“DTU Fotonik is not featured on DTU’s introductory courses. Nor have we previously had our own dedicated student facilities where the students were a natural part of our research environment. Moving the student facilities and practice laboratories closer together with our other laboratories brings the researchers closer to the students, opening up the possibility of involving the students in projects with an innovative or commercial focus.”

“At the same time, the new coherent laboratory facilities enable researchers to exchange ideas with colleagues from other subject areas. Finally, we also want to encourage industry to get close to the students through a new innovation hub type environment. Hopefully, this will help to promote new ideas, research results, and start-ups.”

Photo: Adam Mørk



Photo: Joachim Rode  

Drawing tower


Researcher Christos Markos standing behind the large windows facing onto the fibre-drawing tower, where the building’s occupants will be able to see how the glass materials are drawn out into long fibres like sweets from a sugar mass.

The six-metre high facility will allow DTU Fotonik to play a leading role in infra-red light research, currently a major growth area. Infra-red light can be used to analyse foods.

Quantum optics 


An information network, secured against hacking, will play a decisive role in the next generation of the internet.

Associate Professor Nika Akopian conducts research into quantum information networks based on artificial atoms that can be built into an optical chip.

  Photo: Joachim Rode 

Photo: Joachim Rode  

Ultrafast optics


Light impulses are also used to investigate how a molecule changes shape when illuminated.

In time, the aim is to use the technology to selectively break down material, so that in future it would be possible to render explosives harmless by means of irradiation, for example.

Finally, the short light pulses are used to identify layers of paintings in much the same way as ultrasound scans.


Optical communication


Professor and group leader Leif Katsuo Oxenløwe conducts research into creating a more energy-efficient communications infrastructure using optical communication.

The aim is to reduce the internet’s massive total energy consumption.

The research is anchored at the basic research centre SPOC (Silicon Photonics for Optical Communications) and the VKR Centre of Excellence, NATEC (Nanophotonics for Terabit Communications).

   Photo: Joachim Rode