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High-Tech Optics from Heidelberg

14 February 2008

Major orders for the S-DH GmbH from the USA, the UK and Japan – Spin-off company from the University of Heidelberg asserts itself against international competition

In the last 12 months the S-DH company (Heidelberg) has received its first major orders from the United States, the UK and Japan. To get them, the spin-off company from the University of Heidelberg had to assert itself against international competitors. "Our new developments over the past few years are starting to bear fruit,” says managing director Harald Häse. The company now has a staff of 15 and will be investing in a new vacuum coating plant in the coming year.

It all began 12 years ago with a diploma thesis written under the supervision of Prof. Dubbers at Heidelberg University’s Institute of Physics. The really big step was taken in 2000 with the establishment of a limited company, quickly followed by the move to premises in the Pfaffengrund district of Heidelberg. "We were given ideal support by the University,” say company founders Harald Häse and Andreas Knöpfler. "Without that we’d never have managed it.”

The portfolio of the Heidelberg company encompasses all the components needed for neutron optics. These products are required by major research institutions producing neutrons (so-called neutron sources) and in the manufacture of medical equipment for the treatment of tumours.

Neutron guides are S-DH’s main product, optical systems providing scientists with neutron beams in connection with a neutron source. With the help of these neutron beams, researchers in all branches of the sciences investigate very small structures ranging from human DNA to data carriers for PCs. Only neutrons can penetrate matter and at the same time show up the subtle interplay between atomic spatial structure and temporal dynamics.

In December 2007 S-DH installed a supermirror neutron guide at the ISIS neutron source near Oxford, UK. "At present, the new guide system is the most modern of its kind in the world and the flagship of ISIS,” says Dr. Frank Lang of S-DH. "We’re proud that it was made in Heidelberg.”

Please address any inquiries to
Dr. Jörg Kraus
University of Heidelberg
Department of Research
Seminarstr. 2
D-69117 Heidelberg
Phone: 06221/542204, fax: 543599

Dr. Michael Schwarz
Public Information Officer
University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 542317
Editor: Email
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