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Optics Unique know-how – in demand world-wide.

Industry Profile Optics Industry

World-renowned companies such as Carl Zeiss, Schott or Jenoptik began in Thuringia and today they set international standards in the field of optical technologies.


Nearly three quarters of the companies are located in the technology region Jena-Erfurt-Ilmenau and Gera. Here, multinational powerhouses such as Carl Zeiss and JENOPTIK work in close proximity with a number of highly innovative hidden champions as well as excellent research Institutes.

Facts & Figures

  • 187 companies
  • 15,800 employees
  • About 1,300 employees at 9 university and non-university research institutions
  • Around 5,000 students in optics and laser technology
  • More than 500 apprentices in optics-related professions
  • 66% export quota

Key products and technologies

  • Wide-ranging expertise is available in virtually all aspects of optical technologies.
  • Good manufacturer-mix: From makers of circuit elements and components to optical design specialists right up to system suppliers, you are guaranteed to meet the right partner in Thuringia.
  • Manufacturers cultivate close ties with the biotechnology, controls, instrumentation and medical technology industries.


As a traditional optics stronghold, Thuringia has a deep pool of specialists for all aspects of optical technology.

University education 

First-rate universities with relevant majors and departments lay a solid foundation for success. This includes:

Vocational and further training

In Thuringia specialists are trained in the following professions i.a.:

  • Precision opticians and mechanics
  • Mechatronics technicians
  • Optometrists
  • Microtechnologists
  • Process mechanic in glass technology
  • Physics laboratory assistants

Thuringian companies attach great importance to constant training and further education of their workforce. For example, the Jena Education Center with its shareholders Schott, Carl Zeiss and Jenoptik, trains highly qualified specialists.

Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the TU Ilmenau and Ernst Abbe University of Applied Sciences Jena also offer various continuing education programs. Together with Thuringian research institutions, Carl Zeiss AG regularly host the JENA Carl Zeiss Optics Colloquium on various topics.

Research and development

Selected Companies

Successful in Thuringia

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      Thuringia offers about 400 fully developed and immediately available industrial and commercial sites of all sizes. Our online database gives you an overview of potential properties. In combination with our Company Database, that lists more than 4,000 approved profiles of Thuringian companies, you can also check which companies are located at your chosen site. In addition, this search function is also available for research institutions.