Without light, life on Earth as we know it would be inconceivable. Light is not only a basic necessity of life for humans, animals, and plants, it is also an essential element for all our achievements in science and culture. In recognition of the importance of light, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies.
Light also plays a key role at Heraeus. Here, light is not limited to the production of energy: The radiation pressure from light can also move matter. Among other things, Heraeus uses light to generate energy and produce various forms of radiation, as well as to transmit information.
For Heraeus, light is not just energy, but also material.
Photovoltaic technology makes it possible to generate solar energy from sunlight. Heraeus is developing a number of products for PV systems: coatings, integrated circuit technology, and heating technology. Key products include silver-based metallization pastes, which are used to make solar cells highly efficient.
In order to generate energy and convert it into radiation, light is first "captured." While shortwave radiation generates UV light, long wave infrared radiation produces heat. UV light has an antibacterial effect and is used to sterilize water. Infrared radiation, in contrast, can be used to help coatings dry faster and to weld plastics.
Light even helps us to transmit information (e.g. on the Internet): Heraeus developed optical fibers made from quartz glass that are as fine as a hair, which transport data at a rate of more than one terabyte per second.