Nanopta GmbH receives second prize in the Lothar Späth Award 2018

December 20, 2018
“What you want to do, you can do.” In celebration of the simple motto of Lothar Späth, the former minister president of Baden-Württemberg, and his wisdom and energy, the Lothar Späth Award was presented on Saturday evening. The prize, which is being awarded this year for the first time, went to three cooperative innovations from industry and science. In the presence of almost 300 invited guests, the winners from Baden Württemberg and Thuringia were handed prizes totaling 40,000 Euros for particularly future-oriented projects. Among them were the Nanopta, represented by managing director Klaus Weishaupt and head of technology Zhaolu Diao, both of whom are in the department of Cellular Biophysics at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg. They shared the second prize with their innovation partners Prof. Robert Brunner (Ernst Abbe Hochschule, Jena) and Prof. Joachim Spatz, director at the MPI for Medical Research.

NanoAR – biomimetic nanostructures for high-performance optics

NanoAR looks to Nature for inspiration. The company, together with its partners, the Ernst Abbe Hochschule in Jena and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, received the award for the development of biomimetic nanostructures for high-performance optics. The eyes of insects that are active in the dark have the property that light falling on them is hardly reflected. The prizewinners have developed a process, the nanoAR technology, for simulating this property and applying it to surfaces. These tiny nanostructures make optical components non-reflective, thus permitting a high optical quality, which is important for producing lasers systems, for instruments for medical diagnosis or therapy, for optical sensors and for high-quality photography. “The world is full of secrets everywhere, which we want to explore to meet the challenges of the present age. One of these has now been revealed”, said Dr. Julia Späth-Zöllner, daughter of Lothar Späth and a member of the jury. 

The Nanopta GmbH

The Nanopta GmbH was founded in 2018 by the researchers involved, with the aim of making the nanoAR technology commercially viable. The company focusses on applications of high-end photonics, aiming at an industry that is prominent in Baden-Württemberg and Thuringia: microscopy, endoscopy, sensors, laser processing of materials, lithography for the semiconductor industry, and optical systems for mobility and security.


The Max Planck Institute for Medical Research

At the MPI for Medical Research, physicists, chemists and biologists create knowledge of long-term relevance to basic medical science. The unifying theme of our research is to observe and manipulate the vastly complex molecular and cellular interactions that are the basis of life.


The Lothar Späth Award

The Lothar Späth Award Foundation, which is currently being established, offers the Lothar Späth award in the federal states Baden-Württemberg and Thuringia, in recognition of the immense achievements and remarkable personality of Lothar Späth in industry, politics and society.

Detailed information on the Lothar Späth Award can be found here:


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