Page 1




Andreas Vrabl, Head of Center for Vision, Automation & Control, Nicole Brosch, Junior Scientist und Petra Thanner, Research Engineer (r.).






Wolfgang Hribernik, new Head of AIT Center for Energy, and AIT scientists from the Electric Energy Systems unit in the SmartEST lab, from left to right: Antony Zegers, Johanna Spreitzhofer, Helfried Brunner, Friederich Kupzog, Wolfgang Hribernik, Johannes Kathan, Ksenia Poplavskaya and Tara Esterl. Friederich Kupzog (fourth from left) is assuming the position of Head of Competence Unit Electric Energy Systems, succeeding Wolfgang Hribernik.

At AIT’s Center for Energy, more than 220 employees are researching the future of sustainable energy pro- duction and supply, led by Wolfgang Hribernik. Many years of experience, scientific excellence and high-quality laboratory infrastructure, as well as global networking, combine to offer companies innovative and applied research services and to create distinct competitive advantages.

Photos und Coverphoto: PicturePeople

Wolfgang Hribernik has led the Center for Energy at AIT Austrian Institute of Technology since June 2018. In this role, he is responsible for the scientific, financial and strategic development of this Center. This is a task that the experienced energy expert and manager is proud to perform: “The energy sector is undergoing a drastic process of change. The transformation of the energy system is opening up completely new opportunities for successful market players to position themselves, and at the same time, it’s creating entirely new opportunities for products and offers.” This paradigm shift towards intelligent grid operation is increasingly shaping our energy consumption. For commerce and industry, the security of power supplies is a key element for competing successfully at a global level. This is where the Center for Energy, AIT’s largest Center with more than 220 energy researchers, comes in. “We are working on further developing our services for our clients and can draw on a very high level of expertise in research and application in doing so,” Hribernik explains. “We want to keep driving forward the transformation of the energy system and the development and integration of the technology this requires, while working together with research and industry.” The Center for Energy’s range of fields is oriented towards three central systems: sustainable energy infrastructure, decarbonisation of industrial processes and plants and innovative technologies and solutions for urban transformation (buildings, towns). AIT’s SmartEST lab – a unique development platform for smart grid technologies and system architecture in Europe – plays a vital role in these areas, not only for providing industrial partners with solutions and products, but also for AIT innovations that are subsequently brought onto the market. Thus, AIT supports the development processes of Austrian stakeholders, creates competitive edges and, at the same time, is visible at an international level with AIT technologies. Electri-


AIT energy researchers work on things including network planning studies for grid reinforcement, voltage range management and optimised power-flow calculation.

AIT is specialised in pre-qualification of system components.


At the AIT Center for Energy an interdisciplinary approach is consistently pursued.

up of system architectures and principles, as well as technology. These principles can be technical in nature, but they can also define the general conditions for participation in markets. “Only integrated system observations that can address all of these levels will be able to support the transformation of the energy system sustainably,” Wolfgang Hribernik explains. Therefore, AIT is also involved in areas such as data usage.

Photos: PicturePeople

In one current project, AIT teams are collaborating with the Nikola Tesla lab at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz). “The DC Lab project aims to develop test procedures and development tools for future DC systems and DC technologies,” Hribernik explains, “at the level of distribution systems – for example, in the field of application dealing with buildings supplied by direct current – AIT’s SmartEST lab and its associated extensions offer an ideal platform for development.” At the level of transmission and ultra-high-voltage grids, technologies have to be tested for the demands of the insolation systems in ultra-high-voltage areas. AIT has an international position in this field as a significant cooperation partner with interdisciplinary expertise.

cal energy storage systems and their current and future tasks within the energy system are currently among the most in-demand technologies. “We support system operators and manufacturers in practically all significant demonstration projects for utility scale battery systems using hardware in the loop (HIL) methods,” Hribernik explains. “Among the technologies we have developed, AIT’s Smart Grid Converter (ASCG) forms the core of the power electronics systems sector.” AIT has also been an internationally active hub for Smart Grid research for many years. As a founding member of DERLab, AIT actively participates in the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA), as well as in technology platforms involved with implementing the SET-Plan. “The goal of these activities is to shape research priorities together at a European level and to use and develop research infrastructure efficiently while supporting the mobility of researchers on the topic of Smart Grids,” Hribernik emphasises. This also boosts the appeal of the research site and brings significant competitive benefits in the highly competitive hunt for the best minds. As well as technical expertise, it is also important to take an interdisciplinary approach because energy systems are made

Top experts at AIT Wolfgang Hribernik studied electrical engineering at TU Wien and in 2005, he became a research assistant at AIT. Before that, he had held various positions including as a PhD student and assistant professor in ETH Zurich’s high voltage technology specialist unit and was a visiting researcher in Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) in Portland, USA. In 2007, he completed his doctorate in engineering sciences at ETH Zurich. Since 2009, Hribernik has led the Competence Unit Electric Energy Systems and expanded the SmartEst (Smart Electricity System & Technology) lab. Hribernik is also active on numerous committees. Friederich Kupzog has been Head of Competence Unit Electric Energy Systems since August. He studied electrical engineering at RWTH Aachen University and over the last few years, he has been driving forward the topic of digitisation in electric energy systems ­through several research and implementation projects in his position as senior scientist at AIT. Kupzog previously held positions at places including the Institute for Computer Technology (TU Wien) and Siemens Cooperate Research, where he developed a test ­environment for intelligent low-voltage networks.


In mid-June, the Ranshofener Leichtmetalltage light alloys conference tookplace for the 10th time in Linz. Invited by the LKR Leichtmetallkompetenz­zentrum Ranshofen, more than 120 materials scientists and experts from the inter­ national light metal sector met for a two-day-long industry gathering and exchange of knowledge.

As a subsidiary of AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, the LKR Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum Ranshofen GmbH forms the Business Unit „Light Metals Technologies Ranshofen“ in AIT’s Center for Low-Emission Transport. The research focus is on the holistic view of lightweight design – from materials to process technology through to material-related structural design. The LKR can draw on more than 20 years of expertise in research and innovation for the lightweight design of the future and is now researching pioneering high-performance metals and process technologies.

Photo: AIT/LKR/Wenter



Director of the LKR, the celebratory event was, by all means, a complete success: “A unique range and high standard of quality for scientific presentations are the trademark signs of the Ranshofener Leichtmetalltage conference. Through the 10th conference, the current demands for high-performance materials and processing into components for low-emission transport, and thus, decarbonisation were fully met. Although it’s important to remember that we’re on the right path but we haven’t reached our goal yet!” Future trends and current research topics were presented on three central themes, including 3 keynotes, 19 presentations, 12 posters and one podium discussion as well as the active involvement of 16 sponsors. This year, the key topic was “High performance metals and processes for lightweight design of the future”. The constantly balanced mix of presentations from university, non-university and industrial research gave an up-to-date overview of the topics: • Materials development and characterisation: The keynote speech by Dr Werner Fragner of AMAG Austria Metall GmbH offered some interesting perspectives on this: “Provided that there is proper interaction between implementation and process, aluminium recycling alloys create that leap towards high-stressed applications that have previously been restricted to primary alloys. Through this, a new type of alloy is created,” Fragner commented, “our advanced, metallurgical expertise and understanding of processes make it possible to The exciting podium develop alloys with a high proportion of ­discussion introduced many recycled material that can equal the quanew aspects to the current lity of primary alloys.” topics of research. • Process development – experimentally and numerically: In his keynote speech, Professor Jürgen Hirsch, of Hydro Aluminium Rolled Products GmOur 50-strong team is working on efficient, safe and environbH, explored the prospects for aluminium as an industrial mentally compatible mobility solutions, focusing its strengths working metal: “Aluminium is now one of the most imon the light metals aluminium and magnesium for lightweight portant industrial working metals after iron and steel and design in the vehicle sector. Current topics of research inthis trend is increasing; this is because, for many areas clude cryogenic sheet metal forming of aluminium at -150°C, of application, it provides the right properties for optimal developing fire-resistant magnesium alloys or new, modified solutions in a variety of established and innovative applicaaluminium wires for additive manufacturing. tions. These include architecture, electrics, packaging and the transportation industry as a lightweight design materiTRENDS AND MARKET DEVELOPMENTS al – for example in automotive construction. It competes at a high level with other materials.” For Hirsch, aluminium is On the one hand, the Leichtmetalltage conference offered “a material with a great future” for this very reason. an opportunity to explore possible applications and progress • Future technologies in lightweight design: In her keynote in the LKR competence fields. On the other hand, it revealed speech, Dr Blanka Lenczowski from Airbus discussed the clear trends and expectations from the industry, which should most prominent challenges in the aviation industry: “Betbe taken into consideration. For DI Andreas Kraly, Managing


In keeping with the topic of light metals, there was a little memento for the attendees, made by LKR.

Lots of women from research and industry took part in the Leichtmetalltage conference, including Grazyna Mozdzen from AAC Aerospace & Advanced Composites.

The audience of experts was inspired by the lectures and ­keynotes and also by the new concept behind the conference.

ter– Faster – Cheaper – Lighter – Eco. It is imperative for future aerospace products that innovative technologies are developed with economic and ecological factors in mind. As such, the key emphasis for future materials technologies lies in weight reduction.”

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS The new features of the conference’s concept were well received by the participants. This years, in order to include conference participants and industry exhibitors in the discussion, the sponsors ALUWAG AG, AMAG Austria Metall AG, CEST Kompetenzzentrum für elektrochemische Oberflächentechnologie GmbH and Zwick GmbH & Co. KG were invited onto the stage to have their say for the first time. They gave concise three-minute presentations about their companies or their products. These three-minute pitches, under the slogan “Industrial excellence on stage”, were exciting, informative and varied. A digital conference tool allowed more audience interaction as the conference participants were able to use a smartphone or tablet to actively ask the speakers and host questions during the session or the podium discussion. The idea was rated very highly in the feedback survey.

A definite highlight of the event was the exciting podium discussion with five industry experts discussing the topic “Magnesium – niche product or a ray of hope?” The host Andreas Jäger (ORF III) tackled various points of discussion critically and teased apart very concrete statements from the participants in the discussion. According to Professor Jürgen Hirsch, of Hydro Aluminium Rolled Products GmbH: “Sophisticated simulation models now make through-process modelling possible – the key term here is Industry 4.0 – and they help to save on expensive operational trials and dramatically reduce the associated development times and costs.” Professor Ulrich Kainer, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht noted that there simply is no “one material science”: “There will always be competition between materials. Magnesium can better position itself in its specific field of application among metallic materials and composites as the range of properties of wrought and cast materials and alloys is developed further.” This is also what Kainer indicated in his presentation, “Magnesium: major issue or base material for modern challenges in various applications”, in which he explained “In recent years, magnesium materials have been established in the application areas of the transport sector. The lightweight design potential of this group of materials suggests an increased interest in their application. Although they have been in use for years, there is still a lack of knowledge about the potential of magnesium alloys.” Professor Helmut Antrekowitsch of Montanuniversität Leoben University made an important observation: “The economic application of magnesium in the form of industrial uses will be significantly improved if comprehensive recycling concepts are established for magnesium materials.” This makes it clear that the research expertise of the LKR team will be highly important in the future as well.

Photos: AIT/LKR/Wenter


Performance & Success


AWARD FOR REINHARD KÖNIG The Best Paper Award by the Symposium on Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design (SimAUD) at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) has been awarded to Dr Reinhard König, Principal Scientist of Cognitive Urban Design Computing at AIT, Dr Sven Schneider, visiting professor, and Martin Bielik, research assistant at the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Bauhaus University, Weimar. Their collective article “System Dynamics for Modeling Metabolism Mechanisms for Urban Planning” introduces a new approach for simulation, with which the complex interplays between land utilisation, transport network, traffic volume and economic and social potentials can be analysed in the early stages of urban planning.

Principal Scientist Reinhard König is a

Photos: GettyImages/Just Super, AIT/Zinner

leading expert in the urban planning sector

AIT’s aim is to develop new applications and the most up-to-date 5G technologies.


RELIABLE AND SECURE 5G WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY AIT is improving its research in the field of 5G and forming a critical mass of technical expertise in Austria in close cooperation with internationally renowned industrial and academic partners from Austria, Europe and the USA. As such, AIT is working alongside Nokia and AVL in the field of autonomous and connected vehicles in the research project MARCONI as part of the FFG programme “ICT of the Future”, sponsored by Austria’s Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT). Together, they are developing special 5G-based multiple-antenna systems to ensure reliable communication even in vehicles travelling at high speeds. Together with Siemens Österreich, AIT is developing very robust 5G wireless technology for the shortest latency periods within the UNWIRE project as part of the FFG programme “Production of the Future”, sponsored by the BMVIT, in order to allow highly precise and reliable control of production machines and robots wirelessly. As part of the AGENT project by “eurostars”, AIT is collaborating with the Austrian GmbH and the German Heidelberg Mobil International GmbH to develop a radio-based indoor localisation solution. Through international research cooperation with Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), Brno University of Technology and the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California, AIT is combining its 5G expertise with the knowledge of international partners. This means that models of radio wave propagation in frequency ranges exceeding 28 GHz are being researched and innovative measuring technologies are being developed. With reliable communication between vehicles, it should be possible to ensure accident-free autonomous driving.



BERNADETTE FINA WINS ­ THE SESWA NEXT GENERATION AWARD When does the use of renewable energies in rented homes become profitable as well? How economical is a “landlord-to-tenant electricity supply model”? Bernadette Fina, a young researcher at AIT, won the “Smart Energy Systems Award” in the “Next Generation” category with her answer to these questions, earning her one of four prizes from the Smart Energy Systems Week, which, in addition to outstanding academic work and research projects, also rewards tangible

Project Manager Tara Esterl: “We focus on the prosumers’ self-interests and comfort requirements.”



Alfred Einfalt, Siemens AG Österreich; Robert Grüneis, Aspern Smart City Research GmbH; Ralf Gazda, InnoSense AG; Norbert Hofer, Federal Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology; Petra Busswald, akaryon GmbH; Vera Enzi, Roger Hackstock, Verband Austria Solar; Bernadette ­Fina, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH (from left to right)

demonstration proposals and start-ups. The PhD student at AIT was given the award for her innovative optimisation model that allows investments in various electricity and heating technologies for buildings containing multiple homes to be assessed for cost efficiency. Background: Before July 2017, the use of self-generated electricity and heating was only legally possible in detached houses. Through a change of legislation (the Electricity Industry and Organisation Act, or EIWOG, amendment), which allows communal use of energy generating systems in buildings containing multiple homes, the foundation was laid for an increase in the proportion of renewable, decentralised energy and heating generation.

Photos: photo simonis, AIT/Sophie Menegaldo

Components like heat pumps, boilers, photovoltaic storage systems and electric cars are now able to store energy and give it back when required or to delay the time of consumption. Through the targeted use and marketing of this flexibility, fluctuating renewable energies can be better integrated into an electricity system. As part of the “Flex+” project, which is sponsored by the Climate and Energy Fund, a consortium of research institutes, manufacturers and energy suppliers are developing concepts for the flexible and sustainable future of energy under AIT’s leadership. Flexible components like heat pumps, boilers, photovoltaic storage systems and electric cars can be controlled automatically. “This means that their flexibility can also have an economic benefit for specific markets, including the commercialisation of spot and control energy markets,” explains project manager Tara Esterl from AIT Center for Energy. “Private households are changing from passive consumers to ‘prosumers’, meaning active participants who either feed electricity into the network themselves or who offer flexibility. The concepts and algorithms developed in the “Flex+” project aim to guarantee that the processes required for this change run automatically and cost-effectively, which will make the commercialisation of this flexibility more attractive for private households.

Performance & Success

EGU 2018




Recently, Matthias Schlögl, a PhD student at AIT Center for Mobility Systems, presented a study on future developments in landslide incidences influencing transport infrastructure in Central Europe as part of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2018. Gravitational natural hazards present a significant natural threat to transport infrastructure, particularly in the Alpine region. Over the course of progressive climatic change, it should be expected that instances of extremely heavy precipitation will increase throughout Europe (becoming a possible cause for landslides). Using a collaborative study, researchers at AIT Austrian Institute of Technology and the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) have therefore examined the ways in which instances of precipitation that trigger landslides may develop in Central Europe in the coming years. The results show that the exposure of road and rail infrastructure to extreme instances of precipitation which could trigger potential landslides will generally increase throughout Central Europe. The extent of this increase, however, will vary greatly depending on the specific area. While flat, low-lying regions will only see a minor increase, higher, hilly and mountainous regions will be more severely affected. This general geographical distribution will become evident in the near future (as early as 2021-2050) but will emerge even more drastically in the distant future (2071-2100). Matthias Schlögl: “With this study, we hope to contribute to increasing the resilience of transport infrastructure in the face of natural events and at the same time, we want to support decision makers in implementing adaptation measures.”

This year’s YEAR Annual Conference took place on 11-12 June at AIT’s new location in Giefinggasse and was organised by Young AIT and the YEAR Network. At this event, talented young scientists can come together to improve their interdisciplinary skills, to network and to develop project ideas. The interactive format offers them the opportunity to develop innovative ideas in teams using co-creative methods and, at the same time, to learn key pitch techniques. The ideas workshop was led by professional trainers and concentrated on the topic of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, the NGO “Sense about Science” was invited to further develop the project ideas in a workshop on the topic of “Public Engagement”.

The interactive format went down well with the participants.


Photo: Vanessa Schuster

INNOVATIVE ICE PROTECTION FOR AEROPLANES The EU’s CleanSky 2 project InSPIRe (“Innovative Systems to Prevent Ice on Regional Aircraft”) held its first meeting alongside colleagues from the CIRA Icing Wind Tunnel facility in the Aircraft Division of Leonardo in Pomigliano d’Arco, Naples, Italy, on 7-8 March 2018. As part of the project, which is forecast to run until February 2021, an innovative electrothermal ice protection system with low energy consumption will be drafted, developed and ultimately presented to the CIRA for future regional aircrafts. The InSPIRe consortium is made up of two Austrian high-tech SMEs, Villinger GmbH and Peak Technology GmbH, one prestigious ice expert, AeroTexUK, and two Austrian RTOs, CEST and AIT. AIT’s Center for Low-Emission Transport acts as a coordinator in this project, cooperating with various stakeholders from the aviation industry.



TEAM-BASED ACTIVE GAMES Digital movement games are becoming more and more popular. However, exercise and sports often require coordination of visual perception and reaction, which represents a barrier for blind and visually impaired people. POINTS set itself the goal of creating new, team-based games promoting physical activity together with blind and visually impaired students and developing the necessary gaming devices.

The “VR Planning” research project is spon­ sored by the BMVIT as part of the “Mobility of the Future” programme.



Trial subjects can now be loaded with forces of up to 160 kN for short-term shock tests with up to 100 G.


SHOCK AND VIBRATION TESTS FOR PRODUCTS AND COMPONENTS AIT Austrian Institute of Technology has many years of expertise in taking measurements and conducting simulations of vibrations as well as assessing the impacts of these. With this background, AIT is conducting certified shock and vibration tests for products and components that will be exposed to dynamic stress. Items undergoing testing such as electronic and electrical parts, machinery and equipment as well as superstructures for vehicle components will be subjected to stress and tested using an electrodynamic shaker with or without temperature effects through vibration and shock tests. The tests will also be implemented in a test station accredited in accordance with Austrian Electrotechnical Association (ÖVE)/Austrian Standards Institute (ÖNORM) ISO/IEC 17025 standards, if necessary. They can be conducted as shortterm or endurance tests, wherein the environmental impact through temperature and humidity can be superimposed onto vibrations using climate chambers. Customers also have the option of following and monitoring the functionality of their test items directly during these tests. Experts at AIT offer advisory support in the selection of tests, as well as the creation of a testing concept and plan. They might also contribute some suggestions for improvement at the product development stage or simply carry out user acceptance tests for certification. In July 2018, AIT’s test facility gained an additional shaker, which increased the testing capacity increased while also broadening the performance range.

Photos: AIT, AIT/Johannes Zinner

Using virtual reality (VR), it is possible to make tomorrow’s traffic zones into something that can be experienced realistically. During the VR planning research project, VR will be investigated as an innovative new opportunity for improved participative planning that will be assessed using real examples of use. VR enables users to explore public spaces, buildings or mobility hubs virtually and to give instant feedback within a virtual environment. As such, street designs can be experienced realistically, improving both cooperation between planners and politicians and public involvement. The VR test environment has already been assessed in Seestadt Aspern, where it facilitated a virtual tour around the planned road spaces in the “Am Seebogen” district. During this, it was possible to switch between two different design options, to experience the road space from the perspective of a child and to observe the different vegetation and positions of the sun at different times.


AIT’S FIRST TIME ON THE PODIUM AT THE BANKNOTE CONFERENCE IN TEXAS The Banknote Conference is an international platform for representatives from politics and industry, who come together every two years to share ideas about the latest technology trends in their sector. The largest banks in the world are represented, as well as international companies such as PayPal. Putting together the panel is a process that follows extremely strict criteria; only the biggest names in the industry are invited. This makes it even more exciting that AIT was able to send a speaker for the first time this year. Andreas Vrabl, Head of Center for Vision, Automation & Control, discussed the topic “Sensor Development and How is it Evolving?” with representatives from the Reserve Bank of Australia, Authentix, G&D Currency Technology and Cash Processing Solutions. How are the requirements of central banks changing and how does the further development of banknotes impact necessary continued development of sensors? “We have more than 30 years of experience and we established the ‘ABCS Austrian Banknote Checking System’ in the mid1990s, a system which is now in use in many banknote producers throughout the world,” Vrabl explains.

INNOVATION CALENDAR 26-31 August 2018 // CIGRE SESSION Leading event on the topic of energy systems. Location: Palais de Congrès, Paris AIT contact: Wolfgang Hribernik Details:

4 October 2018 // VÖSI SOFTWARE DAY The latest trends and developments in the IT sector. Location: Vienna, Austrian Economic Chamber AIT contact: Michael Mürling Details:

3-6 September 2018 // MOBILE HCI 20th international conference on Human Computer Interaction. Location: Barcelona AIT contact: Raimund Schatz Details:

5 October 2018 // GIRLS! TECH UP OVE platform for women in technology. Location: Vienna AIT contact: Michael Mürling Details:

4-5 September 2018 // DACH SECURITY Event on the topic of security with a presentation of current work. Location: Gelsenkirchen, Germany AIT contact: Stefan Schauer Details: dachsecurity2018 12-14 September 2018 // STI CONGRESS Conference on Science and Technology Indicators, co-organised by AIT. Location: Leiden, Netherlands AIT contact: Thomas Scherngell Details: 18-21 September 2018 // INNOTRANS BERLIN International trade fair for road and rail engineering. Location: Berlin AIT contact: Florian Hainz Details:

Photo: Currency Research

19-20 September 2018 // OESTERREICHS ENERGIEKONGRESS 2018 Industry event on the e-economy, central topics include: decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitisation. Location: Pamhagen, Austria AIT contact: Wolfgang Hribernik Details:

AIT appeared at the Banknote Conference as an important player in the field of banknote inspection.

24-26 September 2018 // AAL FORUM Europe’s largest networking event for the active and assisted living community Location: Bilbao, Spain AIT contact: Angelika Rzepka Details:

9–11 October 2018 // ALUMINIUM 2018 The entire range of aluminium products in one event. Location: Düsseldorf, Germany AIT contact: Stefan Gneiger Details: 11 October 2018 // CAREER FAIR FH WELS Fair for jobs and internships in technology and environmental sciences. Location: FH Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences, Wels AIT CONTACT: Richard Kretz Details: 16-17 October 2018 // IKT SICHERHEITSKONFERENZ (ICT SECURITY CONFERENCE) Topics include man-in-the-middle attacks, hacking, counterintelligence and drones. Location: Alpbach, Austria AIT contact: Michael Mürling Details: 17 October 2018 // EARPA FORM FORUM “The Future Of Road Mobility Forum” conference, organised by EARPA. Location: Brussels, Belgium AIT contact: H. Oberguggenberger Details: 19 October 2018 // POST BITCOIN CRYPTOCURRENCIES SYMPOSIUM Special event on the topic of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Location: Museumsquartier, Vienna AIT contact: Bernhard Haslhofer Details:


ERC STARTING GRANT FOR AIT RESEARCHER The ERC Starting Grant supports outstanding young researchers to construct a research team. AIT researcher Bernhard Schrenk received one of the highly sought after grants for his research into a new method of coordinating independent optical signals precisely to be consistently coherent and at the same wave length. This should allow 5G networks to become more effective.

Bernhard Schrenk: “This new method of signal detection promises significant advancements in various fields of optical signal transmission and signal processing.”

The renowned ERC Starting Grant is a special recognition of Bernhard Schrenk’s many years of research, which is among the very best in Europe. At the same time, Schrenk can now expand his team in AIT’s Competence Unit Security & Communication Technologies, aided by the five-year grant for excellence from the European Research Council for young researchers in fundamental research – and as such, he can create important momentum for further developing base technologies in the field of telecommunications and information processing. This European sponsorship prize is also a very special distinction for AIT Austrian Institute of Technology as an application-oriented research and technology organisation. Schrenk has been working with photonics at the AIT Center for Digital Safety & Security since 2013. His research interests include the fields of optical telecommunications, integrated optoelectronic circuits, quantum technology and sensor

technology. Coherent detection, which is planned for optical signal detection, has already been long established in radio technology. Every very high frequency radio makes use of this detection method to select the station to be received. This method involves a signal generated far away and a local reference signal being on exactly the same wave length. This allows not only filterless selection of one of several simultaneously transmitted signals, but it also provides receiving sensitivity that is at least 100 times higher and gives access to additional signal properties. “However, in photonics the procedure of coherent signal detection is a very complex matter,” Schrenk explains. His research is investigating to what extent equally independent optical signals can be coordinated precisely to each other. In order to master this challenge, he has received the five-yearERC grant for excellence COYOTE – “Coherent Optics Everywhere: a New Dawn for Photonic Networks”.

ERC Starting Grant

VASTLY MORE EFFICIENT The use of light as an information carrier for electrical signals allows the optical carrier wave to have a frequency that is increased by a factor of 10,000. As a result, an inconceivable amount of up to 10 petabits of data can be transmitted every second through a single fibre optic. However, this can only work using coherent signal detection. Achieving this in photonics is tremendously complex. Despite the comprehensive presence of photonic networks, which transmit around 90% of data inconspicuously across distances of up to 10,000km, lots of the systems in use actually use direct signal detection because of this complexity. “However, direct signal detection collects only the intensity of the light signal and is blind to other properties, such as phase or polarisation. Direct signal detection thus represents a barrier for energy and cost efficiency in telecommunications infrastructure and data centers,” Schrenk explains. With his purely optical approach that avoids the weaknesses of electronic methods, signals can now be synchronised directly on an optical level. Even at extremely high carrier frequencies of around 190 terahertz, there are no frequency deviations. As the transmission of information is possible without additional corrections, despite coherent transmission, no energy-demanding digital signal processing is required, which would also need quite a bit of band width as well. This significantly increases energy efficiency. Another advantage over direct signal transmission is that the dimensions of phase and polarisation can also be analysed alongside light intensity in order to ensure scalability in relation to the data rate. As such, the optical spectrum can be put to the best possible use.

Photos: AIT/Michael Mürling, Peter Rigaud c/o Shotview Photographers

SIMULTANEOUS SENDING AND RECEIVING However, Schrenk is going one step further towards photonic communication technology that is not tied to a fixed transmission direction. This allows it to send and receive simultaneously. “This is similar to if you could hear with your mouth at the same time – and it was even better than using your ears,” Schrenk explains. These pioneering innovations help not only in traditional cable and wireless telecommunication networks, but cloud data centers and high performance computing also benefit from the unique opportunity of implementing coherent detection in the most simple, yet efficient, way. The innovative coherent transmission of signals between an electrical and optical level, whilst simultaneously preserving signal integrity without further digital processing, can be used in applications in fibre optic sensors, such as in transport infrastructure. However, it can also be used for secure information-theory production of keys in quantum communication, for example.

The ERC Starting Grand awarded to Bernhard Schrenk is exactly the academic heights we are aiming for. Wolfgang Knoll, Managing Director AIT

Using an early proof of concept experiment within the research area of the ERC grant, Bernhard Schrenk had already gained widespread recognition at the beginning of 2018. He succeeded in giving the world’s first demonstration of a simple laser light source that can simultaneously emit and receive a data stream of 10 Gb/s. At the OFC Conference (Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition) in San Diego, attended by more than 15,000 people, the experiment was judged as one of the top three out of a total of 800 scientific contributions and was classed the best contribution in optoelectrical systems for optical telecommunications.

Recognition for top researchers at AIT Bernhard Schrenk, 36, has been a scientist at the Center for Digital Safety & Security in AIT Austrian Institute of Technology for five years, working with photonics, optoelectronics and high frequency technology. During his master’s degree in 2007, he contributed towards implementing the first network demonstration of a quantum key distribution system based on entangled photons as part of Professor Zeilinger’s group at the University of Vienna. Before his career at AIT began, he held a senior position at the National Technical University of Athens. During his professional career, Schrenk has been awarded a number of grants and prizes, including the Marie Curie CIG grant and the Student Innovation Award from the European Technology Platforms Photonics21, and was also elected to the Photonics21 Board of Stakeholders. He holds a number of patents together with colleagues. He graduated with distinction from his master’s degree at TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology). He graduated cum laude from his doctorate in the field of signal theory and optical telecommunications at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona (Polytechnic University of Catalonia).





The use of equivalent circuit models for simulating the operating behaviour of lithium-ion batteries is now well established. However, finding the correct parameter set for these models is still a challenging task. This research paper proposes a comprehensive methodology for estimating the required, temperature-dependent simulation parameter from battery measurements. Based on a specific load current and prior system knowledge, an algorithm first analyses the correlation between current jumps and the measured terminal voltage. Then, a combination of particle swarm optimisation and the Gauss-Newton algorithm fits the initially estimated parameters from the first algorithm to the measurement data. Finally, the dependency of each simulation parameter on both the state of charge and the battery temperature is determined, whereby the ageing effects deliberately disregarded in this article. The validation against measurement data proves that the parameter set generated can reproduce the operating behaviour of the chosen battery with a high degree of accuracy. Applied to a lithium-iron-phosphate cell, the comparison between measurements and simulations in standardised real-life automotive driving-cycles (Artemis, FTP75 and WLTC) shows a terminal voltage deviation of less than 1.09 % within the typical operation window between states of charge at 0.15 and 0.95.

Virtual reality (VR) is used for a variety of applications ranging from entertainment to psychological medicine. As ethanol is ubiquitous and forms a part of daily life, understanding the effects of ethanol on presence and user experience, the attitudes and emotions about using VR applications is important. It is clear that cognitive functions are influenced by drugs such as ethanol which can confound cortical plasticity, also in VR. The explorative study investigates how low-dose ethanol intake influences presence, user experience and their relationship in a validated VR context. This found that low-level ethanol consumption did influence presence and user experience but on a minimal level. In contrast, there was a strong influence on the correlation between presence and user experience. Ethanol consumption may therefore alter cognitive and perceptive functions related to the connections between presence and user experience.

Against a background of various transformational forces and processes, a rapidly changing environment and strong competitive tensions, people in cities are asking with increasing urgency: What instruments and opportunities can be identified for managing urban structures and development by means of urban policy? The current shift from top-down oriented city administration and planning towards participatory governance suggests that cities are facing new challenges and demands that are closely associated with a political dimension. This article discusses the possibilities of influencing and managing urban development through urban planning and policy, as well as participation, presenting these as one element of such management options. Furthermore, the role and scope of “new urban governance” is considered.

Dvorak Dominik, Bäuml Thomas, Holzinger Alexandra, Popp Hartmut: ”A Comprehensive Algorithm for Estimating Lithium-Ion Battery Parameters From Measurements”.

M. Lorenz, J. Brade, L. Diamond, D. Sjölie, M. Busch, M. Tscheligi, P. Klimant, C. Heyde, N. Hammer: “Presence and User Experience in a Virtual Environment under the Influence of Ethanol: An Explorative Study” Scientific Reports, 8 (2018), 6407; P. 1 – 16.

Haindlmaier, G.: Participation and urban policy-making in a network society – a theoretical outline on new urban governance. Public Philosophy & Democratic Education, 2017

Legal: Editorial management: Michael H. Hlava, ­Production management: Daniel Pepl, Editorial staff: Angela Balder, Florian Hainz, Silvia Haselhuhn, ­Michael Mürling, Fabian Purtscher, Vanessa Schuster, Pia Stangl, Juliane Thoß. Please send your feedback to: :

Profile for AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH

Tomorrow Today 02/2018 (english)  

Tomorrow Today 02/2018 (english)  

Profile for ait_cc