TU Dresden: ERC Consolidator Grant supports development of minimalistic photonic information technology

Prof. Sebastian Reineke from TU Dresden has been awarded a Consolidator Grant of the European Research Council (ERC) in the amount of 2 million euros for his research project SLOWTONICS. In this project, he wants to initiate a paradigm shift in modern technology by developing and using biocompatible components. The project will start in January 2024.

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Modern technology has fundamentally changed our lives in recent decades and permeated almost all areas of our lives. Communication, transportation, energy, industry or health – in these and many other sectors, modern technology has optimized processes and opportunities, often even revolutionizing them. However, research into new, modern technologies now focuses not only on improving the efficiency of components, but also often follows sustainable and minimalist design principles in order to reduce the ecological footprint.

Particularly photonic applications, for example for information processing in logistics or sensor systems, currently require increasingly complex technological solutions to accelerate data storage and processing. In conventional technologies, this involves the use of numerous non-reusable materials and highly complicated systems. With the new Consolidator Grant project “SLOWTONICS – Slow excitonics for minimalistic and sustainable photonic and optoelectronic systems” – Prof. Sebastian Reineke and his LEXOS group at TU Dresden aim to achieve a paradigm shift based on biocompatible organic optoelectronic and photonic components in this field over the next five years.

“At the core of SLOWTONICS, we combine the principle of digital luminescence developed by my research group in conjunction with long-lived excitonic states with lifetimes of milliseconds or longer to create a flexible and sustainable photonic framework for future applications,” explains Reineke, who has held the professorship of Organic Semiconductors at TU Dresden since 2016. By using organic semiconductors, such systems offer a low environmental footprint, low material consumption and a high degree of material tunability for tailored technological solutions. The focus on comparatively slow processes (> microseconds) brings the major advantage that information processing is significantly simplified, eliminating the need for complex hardware. Initial prototypes of programmable luminescent labels have shown the potential of this technology, but the prerequisites for industrial application are still lacking. “Based on my research group’s existing expertise in organic optoelectronics and spectroscopy of organic functional materials, SLOWTONICS will overcome current limitations to realize industry-relevant systems for optical data storage and exchange, and expand the application of digital luminescence toward luminescent security labels with enhanced security features and multicomponent sensor systems. Having developed novel communication components, we will seek to realize these designs using only naturally occurring materials. This is an essential final step, because a world with an ever-increasing demand for information requires systems that provide functionality and enable responsible use. Our approach aims for systems that have a material footprint of < 0.1 mg/system, making them truly minimalist and sustainable,” said Reineke, describing the long-term goal of the project.

About the Light-Emitting and eXcitonic Organic Semiconductor (LEXOS) Group.

The LEXOS group is part of the Dresden Integrated Center for Applied Physics and Photonic Materials (IAPP) and the Institute of Applied Physics at the Dresden University of Technology and is led by Prof. Sebastian Reineke. One research focus of the LEXOS group is the study of excitonic and luminescent systems based on organic and organic-hybrid materials. The group has strong expertise in optical spectroscopy of such systems. A recent example is the study of organic biluminescence, where luminophores exhibit both fluorescence and phosphorescence at room temperature. Furthermore, the LEXOS group has long-standing expertise in research and development of Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs). Current research activities in this OLED field include device development, device optics, charge carrier transport and recombination studies, long-term stability investigations, material development and device integration.


Prof. Sebastian Reineke
Professorship of Organic Semiconductors
TU Dresden
Tel. +49 351 463-38686

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