Hanau company equips ESA satellites –
“Unique in Germany”
05. December 2018. Großauheim
With its work and research in the field of high-frequency technology, ACST GmbH is doing pioneering work. The company.”
In the future, the Hanau location is to be expanded even further. Completely hidden in an industrial park on Joseph-Bautz-Strasse in Großauheim sits a highly innovative high-tech company that regularly equips ESA (European Space Agency) satellites with important electronic components. ACST GmbH works and researches in the field of high-frequency technology, also known as terahertz technology. With their highly specialized technology components they supply ESA, Nikon, Airbus and other well-known technology groups all over the world.
Lord Mayor Claus Kaminsky and Economic Development Officer Erika Schulte now paid a visit to ACST GmbH to learn more about their work. Managing Director Dr.-Ing. Oleg Cojocari explained the origins of the company: “I started researching high-frequency technology as part of my doctoral thesis at Darmstadt Technical University,” he reported. In 2006, he said, ACST was spun off as an offshoot of the research department and finally moved to Hanau in 2013. Also to be in close proximity to other world-leading materials technology specialists.
“Our foundation took place within the framework of ESA’s technology strategy, which wanted more independence from technology sources outside ESA countries. Until ACST GmbH was founded, the special components were only available from an American company. We were the first company in Europe to develop, build and sell Schottky diodes for terahertz applications,” explains Cojocari. These special diodes can be used to build measurement instruments that use high-frequency radiation (100-2000 gigahertz), he further explains. “Terahertz radiation can be used to detect the density and composition of a material from a distance. That’s why it’s used in space, for example.” ESA, he said, uses the ACST devices (Schottky diodes and detector modules for frequency channels from 89 GHz to 660 GHz) for its weather satellites, for example. The goal, he said, is even more reliable weather forecasting and further research into the Earth’s climate.
Very important in the security sector and in medicine
“But measuring instruments with terahertz radiation can also be very important in the security sector and in medicine,” Cojocari reports. For example, the radiation could make it easier to detect altered cells under the microscope, as well as to scan objects and people. High-frequency waves could also play a major role in radio data transmission in the future, as they can be used to transmit large amounts of data, says Cojocari. However, he said, the new technology is still in the growth stage and is currently too expensive for general use. “But that will change in the coming years, because research in the field is going full steam ahead,” he predicts.
Cojocari sees the ACST company on a good path: “Here, we develop the diode technology exactly according to the wishes of – and often in close cooperation with – the customers, manufacture it ourselves and test it on site,” he explains. The closed development chain allows ideal influence on every single process step, he adds. “In the fast-growing, promising high-frequency technology sector, we serve the demand for components, modules and systems. With the product range from single diodes to systems, we are unique in Germany and one of the world’s leading companies in the field in terms of performance,” explains Cojocari.
For the coming years, ACST GmbH plans to further expand its production and development site in Hanau. Cojocari therefore wants to strengthen his team, which is currently 14 strong, in order to be able to meet the increasing demands of customers: “We are urgently looking for electronics engineers and people with a degree in electrical engineering. Experience with high-frequency technology is desirable, but not a prerequisite,” he says. He promises, “The work here is very diverse and challenging!”
Mayor Claus Kaminsky and Economic Development Officer Erika Schulte were impressed by ACST GmbH’s innovative work. “It is fantastic that such a highly specialized company, which is unique in Germany, has its location here in Hanau,” the Lord Mayor was pleased to say. “You are doing very impressive pioneering work here and I hope to hear a lot more from you in the years to come!” (lj)