Optical Systems

In more than 30 years, Fraunhofer IMS has built up a wide range of competencies and comprehensive know-how in the field of optical sensors and optical sensor systems and thus has the perfect basis for the development of customized solutions. The know-how comprises the optical sensor element itself, the sensor readout circuit as well as the signal processing in the chip and the downstream computer-aided processing. We offer a wide range of technologies, from extremely efficient analog solutions to artificial intelligence, to develop the optimal optical system for you. Holistic system solutions are just as feasible as customized optical sensor elements that go far beyond the state of the art.

Our focus is on application fields of optical sensors in which no "off-the-shelf" sensors are available due to high demands on sensitivity and dark current  or extreme requirements on speed. Such image sensors are used in a wide range of applications from autonomous driving to industrial applications such as high-precision distance measurement and quantum technology.

By combining high-performance photosensitive devices such as pinned photodiodes (PPDs), single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs) or charge-coupled devices (CCDs) with specially developed readout circuits and clever algorithms, we develop application-specific solutions for optical systems that go far beyond the current state of the art. Current development focuses at IMS can be found in particular in the areas of high-speed sensing and 3D sensing (LiDAR) as well as the temporally precise detection of single photons for scientific applications such as "quantum imaging" or biophotonics.

Based on our in-house technologies, we also develop manufacturing processes for next-generation optical sensors, such as for embedding CCDs in the CMOS process (embedded CCD), for image sensors in space, or the fabrication of so-called backside illuminated (BSI) image sensors using innovative wafer interconnection techniques.

We offer our customers specific optical systems based on in-house fabrication at Fraunhofer IMS, but also based on other foundry processes. Furthermore, our offer includes special services in the field of wafer post-processing, process optimization and electro-optical characterization. If you need an application-specific image sensor or optical systems with special performance features and the solution goes beyond the current state of the art, we are your partner and gladly accept the challenge!

Silizium Photomultiplier IC
© Fraunhofer IMS
Silizium Photomultiplier IC

Our technologies - Innovations for your products


High-performance image sensors with high time resolution provide an optimal basis for reliable distance determinations

High-Speed Imaging

High-resolution and high-frequency optical sensor systems allow ultra-fast measurements of profiles and surfaces

Low Light Detection

Highly sensitive image sensors can detect single photons with spatial and temporal resolution without loss of information

Our technology areas - Our technologies for your development

Integrated Sensor Systems

Covers all electronic components for sensor signal conditioning and readout.

Wireless and Transponder Systems

Incorporates the wireless acquisition of sensor and ID-data even in passive systems.


Smart Sensor Systems

Here you can get back to the overview page of the core competence Smart Sensor Systems (SSS).