Development of fiber optic sensor technology

In industrial manufacturing, especially in automotive, microsystems and medical technology, there is an increasing trend towards filigree and complex structures. One example is injection holes of 150 microns and smaller, where the shape tolerances are in the submicrometer range. Sensitive microcomponents that must be assembled with positional accuracy are also used in microsystems technology. To ensure the quality of such components, measurement technology must also follow the trend towards miniaturization.

One approach to taking measurements in confined spaces is to use fiber optic distance sensors. The sensors offer great flexibility and are easy to integrate into production environments thanks to the small size of the probes. Because the measurement signals are transmitted purely optically in optical fibers, fiber optic sensors are insensitive to electromagnetic interference, exhibit negligible attenuation over long transmission distances, and can be used for multipoint measurements. In addition, they are flexible, have long-term stability and are resistant to a wide range of chemicals.

© Fraunhofer IPT
Faseroptische Sonde für die NIR-Spektroskopie

Fraunhofer IPT develops fiber-optic sensors for challenging measurement tasks such as measuring the smallest of boreholes. Using fiber-integrated beam steering and shaping, individual sensors up to a diameter of 80 microns can be manufactured. In cooperation with our spin-off company Fionec GmbH, we offer a comprehensive overall concept consisting of probes, evaluation unit and measuring device.

In addition to sensors for use in production measurement technology, Fraunhofer IPT develops and manufactures temperature and spectroscopy probes that can be used endoscopically in minimally invasive diagnostics, for example. In addition to the design, Fraunhofer IPT also takes care of the production and assembly of the sensors as well as their integration into machines and measuring devices.

Our service offer

  • Development of fiber optic sensors for industrial metrology and biomedical diagnostics
  • Optics design and simulation of fiber-optic and micro-optic systems
  • Grinding and splicing of fiber end faces for integrated beam deflection and beam shaping
  • Development of fiber optic measurement devices and multipoint measure-ment systems as well as machine integration
  • Development of assembly solutions for fiber optics

Our technologies in application

Fiber optic sensor technology can be used in many applications: from minimally invasive surgery and the measurement of narrow cavities to the monitoring of highly stressed structural components. Depending on the area of application, the light-guiding fibers perform various tasks, some of which we present here.


Automotive engineering

Fiber optic sensor technology allows the measurement of the shape of micro bores, for example for fuel injectors, where the space for the use of sensors is limited.

Microsystems technology

In microsystems technology, measurement with tactile sensors is often impossible. Fiber optic sensors offer miniaturization potential here and at the same time avoid damaging the component, for example for measuring the involutes of micro gears.

Medical technology

Endoscopic and minimally invasive optical measurement systems are used in biomedical diagnostics for the measurement of spectroscopic and tissue morphological quantities.


Structural monitoring of highly loaded components

Components that are exposed to heavy and regular loads can be continuously monitored with integrated fiber optic sensor technology.