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Division 4

Division 4 which is responsible for optics is home to three base units: that of length, time and luminous intensity. On this basis, standards and measuring methods of highest accuracy are developed for various optical quantities.



Division "Optics" supports industry, science and society by providing measurement services, research and development in the field of optical technology. Based on the SI units of length, time and luminous intensity different units are realized and disseminated. Further more, accurate standards and measurement techniques are developed.

The division realizes the time scale UTC (PTB), which is the legal time in the Federal Republic of Germany, performs precision measurements in different fields of optics and cooperates in international standardisation and certification.

4 Abteilungsbericht aus dem Jahresbericht 2020

Der Initiates file downloadAbteilungsbericht gibt einen Überblick über die wichtigsten Nachrichten und Ereignisse der Abteilung „Optik“ des letzten Jahres und ergänzt somit den Opens internal link in current windowJahresbericht-2020 der PTB.


The gravitational wave (GW) observatories calibrate interferometer displacement using photon momentum, with laser power serving as the measurand. These observatories are traceable to the International System of Units through a primary standard maintained by the US’s National Metrology Institute (NMI), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The bilateral degree of equivalence of laser power measurements for various NMIs indicated in the 2010 EUROMET.PR-S2 supplementary comparison reveals scale realization uncertainty unacceptably large for GW event parameterization. We offer here an analysis to identify the source of the discrepancy between the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and NIST results. Using an improved transfer standard in a bilateral comparison, with representatives of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) receiving results prior to their comparison, NIST and...

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We apply an InGaAs quantum dot based single-photon source for the absolute detection efficiency calibration of a silicon single-photon avalanche diode operating in Geiger mode. The single-photon source delivers up to (2.55 ± 0.02) × 106 photons per second inside a multimode fiber at the wavelength of 929.8 nm for above-band pulsed excitation with a repetition rate of 80 MHz. The purity of the single photon emission, expressed by the value of the 2nd order correlation function g(2)(τ = 0), is between 0.14 and 0.24 depending on the excitation power applied to the quantum dot. The single-photon flux is sufficient to be measured with an analog low-noise reference detector, which is traceable to the national standard for optical radiant flux. The measured detection efficiency using the single-photon source remains constant within the measurement uncertainty for different photon fluxes. The corresponding weighted mean thus amounts to 0.3263...

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Im Rahmen des BMBF-Projektes SiM4diM entwickelt die PTB zusammen mit den Firmen JCMwave und Carl Zeiss IMT sowie der Hochschule Aalen neue Verfahren zur vollständigen Modellierung mikroskopisch-bildgebender Messsysteme auf der Grundlage rigoroser Beugungsrechnungen. Ziel ist es, mit diesem „virtuellen Mikroskop“ die bildbasierte industrielle Messtechnik signifikant zu verbessern und die Unsicherheit dimensionaler Metrologie auch im industriellen Umfeld um mehr als eine Größenordnung zu verringern.

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Offers for Students

As is the case at PTB in general, in Division Optics there is the possibility to write a student thesis, to complete an internship or to participate in research as a working student. If you are interested in the topics and projects of the working group, you can first contact the Opens external link in new windowcentral contact persons and mention the working group as a request.
Offers for Doctoral Candidates

As at PTB in general, Division Optics is active in many collaborations (with link to new Div. collaboration page) with universities, research institutions, industry and other metrology institutes worldwide. These collaborations support many exciting third-party funding opportunities for PhD students to become involved in PTB research. If you are interested in the topics and projects of the working groups, you can first inquire at the Opens external link in new windowjob postings.