Light is the most important carrier of information. We experience our environment mainly optically. Traditional applications as image collection, recognition and evaluation are still a major field of optics. However, since the invention of the laser optics has entered completely different fields as well. If we make a phone with a mobile or a cell phone the generated data stream travels most of its journey as a sequence of extremely short pulses in a silica fiber. Optical technologies allow us to measure 3d shapes with high speed and nanometer precision without even touching them. The application of high power solid state lasers for welding has revolutionized automotive engineering and shipbuilding.
Those examples demonstrate how optics is on the way to penetrate all areas of modern society including our daily live. The foundations of this amazing development were already laid in the 19th century. But, only nowadays our understanding of light propagation and our abilities to model the field evolution have developed so far that a broad application of optics has become possible. Computers are now an essential tool in design, modeling and managing of all these application of optics. This development was recognized by the introduction of the subject (Technisches Anwendungsfach Optik) TAF Optics into Computational Engineering.
|Laser welding in automotive engineering||Numerical modeling of an optical objective|
TAF Optics is based in both faculties that of engineering and that of natural sciences. Students having chosen optics specialize on the modeling of light propagation in optical systems. In addition to the standard curriculum students learn about the basics of physics in about 15% of their time during the Bachelor course. This percentage is increased to about 30% in the Masters course. It now includes lectures on modern trends of optics and photonics.
Students who are interested in the TAF Optics should enjoy numerical modeling as well, but should also have a certain interest in physics and in particular in optics and wave propagation.