Photonics and Environment

A department in the field of processes

We want to sustainably secure safe access to the resources light, water, air, energy or nutrients for production sites. Thus, we develop process and production systems, which are efficiently and flexibly adaptable and increase the efficiency and functionality of materials and components.

We are optimizing state of the art environmental applications such as water treatment and adsorption processes application-specifically. Fraunhofer UMSICHT is one of the pioneers of building integrated food production systems in Germany. Within the department Photonics and Environment we have been developing the basics for flexible systems using mass and energy sources of metropolitan regions from a very early stage. Hence, our competences reach from process engineering, adsorption technology for gases and fluids, micro‑structuring to optical technologies.

Light – Structuring and Effects

The overall topic light as a resource includes methods and processes developed amongst others in a laser and LED laboratory which apply light as a tool in a broad variety of production processes, e.g. laser processes in material structuring, as additive technologies for 3D print processes or also as lighting systems in plant growing or in decontamination. The biologic effect of light (human centric lighting) e.g. at the workplace is examined amongst others by the use of novel experimental lighting systems.

Water and Adsorption Technologies

We develop treatment systems for fluid and gaseous. Thus, we focus on the development or rather adaption of adsorption materials and advanced processes for water and waste water technologies with the priorities on decontamination, recycling and resource recovery. At present, we are developing very intensively new modular activated carbon processes with local regeneration units. In addition, we are working on the fact-based discussion around the topic of microplastics.


Decreasing yields in the conventional cultivation of vegetables as well as further loss of cultivation areas, and impacts of the climate change lead to a steadily growing need for greenhouses worldwide. We use the flexibility of urban material flows for the developing of novel approaches, processes, and products for indoor-cultivating systems basing on the inFARMING® concept.

Information material of the department Photonics and Environment

You will find the complete press releases at the respective links marked (press release).


nANO meets ...

Nanotechnologies for water treatment



Sustainable approaches for urban hoticulture production

Building untegrated system solutions



Development and optimization of tailor made separation processes



Ultrashortpulsed laser for surface microstructuring


To new materials with our SLS Test-Rig

Flexible and efficient to the new material. Time and cost saving material development with our SLS test rig.

Reference projects of the department Photonics and Environment



Medical aids in the 3D printer

Individually adapted medical aids for rheumatism patients. Designed by sufferers, manufactured decentrally using state-of-the-art digital production processes.



Tire and road wear
particles in Germany

The spread of tire and road wear particles in Germany is being investigated, modeled and presented based on extensive mobility, geo and weather data.



Insoles for diabetes

Complete digitalization of the production of insoles for diabetes patients - from measuring the foot to producing the insoles and subsequently evaluating the orthopedic product.


Bionic Manufacturing

Production of biomimetic components

New manufacturing technique for biomimetic components and the development of a prototype of a cantilever chair using selective laser sintering SLS.



Filters for textile

The development of a filter module for washing machines is intended to reduce microplastic emissions from textiles during washing in order to protect the environment. During development, bio-based materials and biological models will particularly be taken into account.



Identification and
quantification of plastic films used in agriculture

Method development for the identification and quantification of microplastics and agricultural plastics in soils and their effect on soil ecosystems, with focus on mulch films.