We maintain cooperative relations with German and international companies as well as with research centers in the laser industry so that we can offer our customers one-stop solutions and provide our experts with access to an international network. Our partners reap the benefits of systematic networking with universities, associations, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, testing laboratories, trade fair companies and research ministries.


The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, based in Germany, is the world’s leading applied research organization. Prioritizing key future-relevant technologies and commercializing its findings in business and industry, it plays a major role in the innovation process. A trailblazer and trendsetter in innovative developments and research excellence, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft supports science and industry with inspiring ideas and sustainable scientific and technological solutions and is helping shape our society and our future.

At the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, interdisciplinary research teams work with partners from industry and government to turn pioneering ideas into innovative technologies, coordinate and implement system-relevant research projects and strengthen the German and European economies with a commitment to value creation that is based on ethical values. International collaboration with outstanding research partners and companies from around the world brings the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft into direct contact with the most prominent scientific communities and most influential economic regions.

Founded in 1949, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft now operates 76 institutes and research units throughout Germany. Currently around 30,800 employees, predominantly scientists and engineers, work with an annual research budget of about 3.0 billion euros, 2.6 billion euros of which is designated as contract research. Around two thirds of Fraunhofer contract research revenue is generated from industry contracts and publicly funded research projects. The German federal and state governments contribute around another third as base funding, enabling the Fraunhofer institutes to develop solutions now to problems that will drastically impact industry and society in the near future.

The impact of applied research goes far beyond the direct benefits to the client. Fraunhofer institutes strengthen companies’ performance and efficiency and promote the acceptance of new technologies within society while also training the future generation of scientists and engineers that the economy so urgently requires.

As a scientific organization, the key to our success is highly motivated employees engaged in cutting-edge research. Fraunhofer therefore offers its researchers the opportunity to undertake independent, creative and, at the same time, targeted work. We help our employees develop professional and personal skills that will enable them to take up positions of responsibility within Fraunhofer itself or at universities, within industry and in society at large. Students involved in projects at Fraunhofer institutes have excellent career prospects on account of the practical vocational training they enjoy and the opportunity to interact with contract partners at an early stage in their career.

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is a recognized non-profit organization named after Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787–1826), an illustrious researcher, inventor and entrepreneur hailing from Munich.

Fraunhofer Alliances and Fraunhofer Groups

In the Fraunhofer Groups, individual Fraunhofer Institutes pool their thematic expertise in order to jointly achieve outstanding research results. In the Fraunhofer Alliances, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft addresses innovative growth markets. Fraunhofer ILT is a member of the following alliances and groups:

Competence Networks

When faced with interdisciplinary issues, we can access the knowledge garnered by the R&D centers that cooperate with us. Consequently we are able to offer our customers one-stop solutions. Small and medium-sized enterprises are often eligible for support in rolling out high-risk processes through programs run by the ministries, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the banks. Fraunhofer ILT’s experts give our partners access to regional, national and international competence networks.

At local level we are cooperating with institutions such as the competence center automotive region Aachen e.V. and the Aachener Kompetenzzentrum für Medizintechnik e.V. At regional level we are actively represented in the IVAM Association for Microtechnology and in NeMa – Neue Materialien e.V. We support the networking of laser users, manufacturers and researchers at national level by participating in projects such as the Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik e.V., the Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft Lasertechnik e.V. as well as the Deutscher Verband für Schweißtechnik e.V. DVS. In international competence networks such as the Laser Institute of America LIA, we cooperate with foreign companies and research institutions in our branch and jointly set new trends.

Networking of Research and Industry in Aachen

The connection between applied research at Fraunhofer ILT and basic scientific research at the local universities with the involvement of industrial partners is an essential component of our activities. Fraunhofer ILT cooperates with RWTH Aachen UniversityFH Aachen University of Applied Sciences, the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT and numerous renowned industrial partners in various joint projects.

An example of this is the "ICTM International Center for Turbomachinery Manufacturing in Aachen", a cooperation of the Fraunhofer ILT with the Fraunhofer IPT and the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering of RWTH Aachen University WZL and the Chair for Laser Technology LLT at RWTH Aachen University with about 30 industrial partners from the field of turbomachinery engineering.

The Photonics Cluster at RWTH Aachen Campus

"Photonics Cluster" at RWTH Aachen Campus
"Photonics Cluster" at RWTH Aachen Campus

RWTH Aachen Campus brings together research and industry. Supported by the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF), a total of 16 clusters are being created on the Aachen campus, in which industrial questions for future technologies are being researched in the interaction of industry and science. The six starting clusters include the "Photonics Cluster", in which Fraunhofer ILT is involved with the "Center for Digital Photonic Production (CDPP)".

Further information on the goals and tasks of the individual centers can be found on the corresponding websites.

International Activities

The Fraunhofer ILT conducts both bilateral and collaborative projects with foreign companies and branches of German companies abroad. In Plymouth, Michigan USA, the Fraunhofer Center for Laser Technology CLT was established under the guidance of Fraunhofer ILT. The Fraunhofer ILT is conducting joint research projects with the Townes Laser Institute TLI in Orlando, USA. In addition, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft maintains liaison offices in the USA and Asia. Finally, the Fraunhofer ILT is a member of national and international associations such as the Laser Institute of America LIA.

Digital Photonic Production DPP Research Campus

The Digital Photonic Production DPP research campus establishes a new form of long-term and systematic cooperation between RWTH Aachen University, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and industry under one roof. With this project, the DPP research campus is part of the Germany-wide funding initiative "Forschungscampus – öffentlich-private Partnerschaft für Innovationen" of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF.

The DPP research campus offers its partners from science and industry a common location for inter- and transdisciplinary research. Due to the spatial proximity, not only explicit knowledge is transferred: Implicit knowledge, such as procedures, methods and culture, also boost innovative research work for digital photonic production.