SOPHIMA – Sono-photonics in metafluids

Topic: STEM impulses
Type of funding: Project funding programmes
Programme: CZS Wildcard
Funded institution:
  • Helmholtz-Institut Jena

Optical elements such as mirrors or lenses are typically made of glass. This leads to significant limitations of wavelength and power of the light. SOPHIMA aims to use ultrasonic waves in gases for contactless and low-loss manipulation of light.


The basic control and guidance of light beams, e.g. directional control using a mirror, is based on methods that use the interaction of light with solid matter and thus have significant limitations: They cause wavelength-dependent losses or even complete absorption of the light. Moreover, at large light power levels, the optical properties of solid materials change, limiting performance.

Therefore, the goal of SOPHIMA is the non-contact manipulation of light without interaction with solids. This endeavor will be made possible by using ultrasonic waves (sono) to control light in gases. SOPHIMA includes fundamental research to realize other novel methods such as sono-photonic optical waveguides, phase modulators, nonlinear and active optical elements, and novel non-reactive optical methods to measure acoustic phenomena and sensors in gases.

At the interface of nonlinear optics, laser physics and electrical engineering/ultrasonic technology, SOPHIMA opens up a new research field with great potential for scientific and industrial applications.

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Involved persons:

Dr. Phil-Alan Gärtig

Program Manager

Phone: +49 (0)711 - 162213 - 10


Dr. Christoph Heyl

Helmholtz-Institut Jena

Detailed information:

Topic: STEM impulses
Programme: CZS Wildcard
Type of funding: Project funding programmes
Target groups: Professors
Junior research group leaders
Junior professors
Funding budget: 750.000 €
Period of time: Januar 2023 - Dezember 2024

Funded institution: