STÖBICH awards Kaiser Friedrich Research Prize in Hanover

STÖBICH awards Kaiser Friedrich Research Prize in Hanover

Every two years, STÖBICH honors innovative research projects in the field of optical technologies. This year, the Kaiser Friedrich Research Award went to the OPTIMUS team at Leibniz Universität Hannover for excellent environmental and climate protection.

With obvious pride, Prof. Bernhard Roth, member of the Cluster of Excellence PhoenixD at Leibniz Universität Hannover, accepted the research prize endowed with 15,000 euros, also on behalf of his colleague Dr. Ann-Kathrin Kniggendorf, who was unable to attend the event. The award ceremony, which is otherwise traditionally held in the Kaiserpfalz Goslar, had already been postponed twice and now took place during the 4th OptecNet Annual Conference at Expowal Hannover. Jörg Schiebel, CEO of the STÖBICH Group, presented the coveted trophy on Nov. 24, 2021, in a festive atmosphere: The company founder and innovation driver Dr.-Ing. Jochen Stöbich, who passed away in the spring, had initiated the Kaiser Friedrich Research Award at the time.

The fact that the award ceremony had to be delayed by a year due to the pandemic does not detract from the outstanding achievements of the prize-winning scientists. The team led by Dr. Ann-Kathrin Kniggendorf and Prof. Bernhard Roth of the Hanover Center for Optical Technologies (HOT) has developed a method that uses optical technologies to detect microplastics in water. The plastic particles, some of which are microscopic, enter the environment, our drinking water and food, and thus ultimately our bodies via various pathways. The detection and elimination of these unwanted particles is thus also a high priority for society - and this is where the OPTIMUS project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, comes in:
Where previously complicated samples were required, the mobile measurement system uses laser light to determine within milliseconds how heavily the water is polluted with which type of microplastic. As a result, not only can any damage to health be averted more efficiently; the cause of the contamination can also be determined more precisely and, at best, remedied promptly. This makes OPTIMUS "a real innovation in the field, as currently such investigations can only be carried out using expensive analytical methods in the laboratory," says Roth. "The system works with purely optical measurement methods," explains Dr. Ann-Kathrin Kniggendorf, group leader at HOT in the area of environmental analysis. "In operation, therefore, there are no further costs apart from the cleaning and operating current required everywhere."

An ingenious idea that would certainly have appealed to our company founder, Dr.-Ing. Jochen Stöbich. He was convinced that light as a tool has a special significance as a cross-sectional technology and an important key for innovations in numerous branches of industry.

We congratulate the research group on this important invention, which is at the same time a sustainable contribution to the protection of nature and the quality of life for all of us. More information is available here: https://www.phoenixd.uni-hannover.de/.