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Optics Exceptional expertise – wanted world-wide.

Industry Profile Optics Industry

High-powered diode lasers, laser scanning microscopes and aspherical lenses for special optical filters are prime examples of sophisticated Thuringian-made technology. Global players such as ZEISS, Schott and JENOPTIK got their start in Thuringia and set the international standard for optics.


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
  • 16,200 employees
  • Around 2,300 students majoring in optics, laser engineering and related fields
  • Roughly 1,600 employees employees at private and university research institutions
  • Over 500 trainees in optic-related professions
  • 67% export quota
  • EUR 3,3 Billion in revenue
  • 10 % of German Photonics companies are located in Thuringia

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 

Thuringian universities have Special degree programs and Departments:

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 put a high priority on ongoing employee training. For example, the Jena Training Center - a Joint venture of Schott, Carl Zeiss and Jenoptik - produces highly trained specialists.

Various universities provide relevant continuing education programs. Also, OptoNet organizes JENA Optics Colloqium with support from Carl Zeiss AG, JENOPTIK AG and Thuringian research institutions.

Research and development

Selected Companies

The Free State is home to world-class companies that set international standards in optical technologies.

ZEISS is a global leader in the optical and optoelectronic industry. The company, which was founded in Jena in 1846, is now headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. Jena plays host to all four ZEISS divisions: Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Medical Technology and Research Microscopy Solutions, the Planetariums unit and Central Research. It is also home to the central provider of production services for the ZEISS Group. The company is investing over € 300 million in a new integrated high-tech site in Jena.

Jenoptik is a globally active technology group that operates three photonics- based divisions – Light & Optics, Light & Production and Light & Safety – as well as VINCORION or mechatronics solutions.

LEONI Fiber Optics GmbH
LEONI Fiber Optics GmbH is a leading provider of fiber optic cables for special applications in manufacturing, sensor technology, analytics, science, communications and laser medicine.

Docter Optics SE
Docter Optics is the international market leader in optical glass projection lenses for automotive applications and a recognized supplier of optical components and systems to premier OEMs in various industries, including biometrics, digital projection, printing and machine vision.

GÖPEL electronic GmbH
Jena-based GÖPEL electronic GmbH is one of the leading providers of testing and inspection systems for electronic assemblies and printed circuit boards used primarily in the automotive, aviation, medical device and industrial electronics industries.

Jena-Optronik GmbH
Products and technologies from Thuringia play key roles in space missions that are as spectacular as they are pioneering. Customers around the globe trust Jena-Optronik GmbH to supply highprecision sensors for satellite attitude and orbit control and optical components for Earth observation. Over 300 satellites have Jena-made technology on board.

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.