50 years of Fraunhofer INT

As one of the most diverse institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Fraunhofer INT combines a wide range of different research topics and competencies. As part of its innovation research, the institute deals with future technologies and emerging technological trends. Based on this, the institute advises companies, ministries and other public bodies on decision-making.

Fraunhofer INT also conducts research in the field of nuclear effects. Using state-of-the-art measurement technology, the effects of ionizing and electromagnetic radiation on electronic components and various detection methods are investigated.

The portfolio of research topics at Fraunhofer INT has continued to grow over the years. In addition to the expansion of the original topics, research into the effects of nuclear weapons and technological trend analysis, research fields such as disaster management and aerospace have also come into focus in recent years.

Chronicle of Fraunhofer INT

Starting out as a working group for the investigation of nuclear weapons at Kiel University, the Institute was incorporated into the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in 1974 under its current name. Fraunhofer INT is thus celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The chronicle provides an overview of highlights, outstanding events and significant milestones that have taken place at Fraunhofer INT over the past 50 years.


The Fraunhofer INT has its origins in a working group at the Institute for Pure and Applied Nuclear Physics at Kiel University, which dealt with the detection and effects of radiation caused by nuclear weapons. The working group is transferred to the Institute for Radiation Protection and a "Trend Analysis and Prognoses" department is established.

Branch of the Institute for Pure and Applied Nuclear Physics


On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Defense and with administrative support from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a working group is founded at the Institute for Pure and Applied Nuclear Physics at Kiel University. The working group, headed by Prof. Dr. Erich Bagge, has the task of carrying out fundamental investigations into the propagation, detection and effects of neutron and gamma radiation from nuclear weapons. The reason for this research is joint armaments projects between the Federal Republic of Germany and its allies.


A branch of the Institute for Pure and Applied Nuclear Physics is established in Stohl near Kiel to strengthen national judgment in the field of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapon effects.

The range of tasks is expanded, in particular to include the nuclear electromagnetic pulse (NEMP) as an additional component of the effects of nuclear weapons. In this context, the first German NEMP-simulator for laboratory tests is being developed.


The branch office in Stohl near Kiel is organizationally separated from Kiel University and henceforth operates under the new name "Institute for Radiation Protection (IfS)". At the same time, negotiations are initiated regarding a possible admission to the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.


A new department called "Trend Analyses and Forecasts" is being set up to support the responsible department of the Federal Ministry of Defense in preparing the defence technology forecast.

Establishment as a Fraunhofer-Institute and relocation to Euskirchen

In its first years as an institute of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Fraunhofer INT moved to Euskirchen, where it first had to replenish its staff resources, which had shrunk considerably as a result of the move. These years were also characterized by numerous conversion and expansion projects

Dr. Gerhard Locke
Dr. Klaus Grünewald
X-ray flash system


Establishment of Fraunhofer INT

The Institute for Radiation Protection officially becomes part of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and receives institutional funding from the Federal Ministry of Defense under the new name "Fraunhofer Institute for Technological Trend Analysis (INT)". At the same time, talks are initiated about relocating the Institute to the greater Bonn area.


Dr. Gerhard Locke is appointed the first Director of Fraunhofer INT.


The Institute is involved in the US-German study on the tactical, structural and military-strategic effects of future weapons technologies. This includes the development of reconnaissance and target engagement models and the elaboration of the mini-scenario concept.


The increased integration of all Fraunhofer INT work areas into the planning activities of the Federal Ministry of Defense makes it necessary to relocate the Institute. The decision is made to move to the premises of the former Belgian officers' quarters in Euskirchen. Corresponding building applications are submitted and renovation work begins.


The institute in Stohl is closed. The relocation of Fraunhofer INT will result in the loss of around 40 percent of the scientific staff and 70 percent of the non-scientific staff.


Dr. Klaus Grünewald becomes the new director of the Institute.

The official inauguration of the Institute takes place on November 10, 1982, after the construction and expansion work has been completed. This restores the Fraunhofer INT's experimental working capacity.


After the move, operation of the neutron generator and the X-ray flash system for investigating the radiation sensitivity of optical fibers and optoelectronic parts and components will resume.

Expansion in the field of radiation effects

Fraunhofer INT is further expanding its experimental capabilities for investigating radiation effects. This is particularly important in light of the reactor accident in Chernobyl.

Cobalt-60 irradiation facility
Dr. Klaus-Dieter Leuthäuser


As a result of the Chernobyl reactor accident on April 26, 1986, measurable amounts of radioactive fallout also occur in the Euskirchen district. Thanks to its expertise and the measuring equipment available, Fraunhofer INT can support the local authorities in their risk assessment.

A cobalt-60 irradiation facility for long-term gamma irradiation with high dose values is installed in the shielded area of the experimental hall.


Prof. Dr. Hans-Werner Gottinger becomes the new Director of Fraunhofer INT.


After almost 10 years, the final operating license for the neutron generator is granted.


Dr. Klaus-Dieter Leuthäuser is appointed head of the institute.


Activities to investigate the threat posed by high-power microwaves to electronic devices and systems begin.


Fraunhofer INT investigates technologies related to nuclear weapons in emerging countries and at the same time researches options for the conversion of nuclear weapons material.


Investigations into the coupling and sensitivity of high-power microwaves from intelligent munitions begin.

As part of the "Verification of nuclear weapons" project, the procurement of detectors and a transportable neutron generator begins.


For the first time, the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag has commissioned Fraunhofer INT to write a report on the general social consequences of the development of new materials.

Focus on defense and security research

Fraunhofer INT celebrates its 25th anniversary. By founding and joining the Fraunhofer Group for Defense and Security, the Institute intensifies its activities in this field.

Prof. Dr. Uwe Wiemken


The first book on technology foresight  "Neue Werkstoffe Überblick und Trends" is published. 


As an extension of the nuclear radiation simulation possibilities, a proton irradiation station is set up at Forschungszentrum Jülich to simulate the radiation exposure of satellites in orbit.

In the same year, a mobile high-power microwave irradiation facility is set up and put into operation. Fraunhofer INT also participates in a study in the field of electromagnetic compatibility.


Fraunhofer INT celebrates its 25th birthday as a Fraunhofer-Institute in the presence of the President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Prof. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Warnecke.


Prof. Dr. Uwe Wiemken becomes head of the Institute.


Foundation of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft's "Defense and Security" Group. Fraunhofer INT is a founding member.

The first "nuclear and radiological weapons" symposium for officials from the national security sector is held.

Growing interest in aerospace at Fraunhofer INT

The topic of aerospace becomes more and more present at Fraunhofer INT - the workshop series "Herausforderung Weltraum" and the Fraunhofer Space Alliance are launched.

Groundbreaking by Prof. Dr. Uwe Wiemken
Prof. Dr. Dr. Michael Lauster


During the Football World Cup in Germany, Fraunhofer INT is providing the public security authorities with measurement equipment and personnel to ensure security against nuclear terrorist threats. Operational readiness is ensured in a large number of field exercises and during the World Cup there was an on-call service.


On November 13 and 14, the first workshop "Herausforderung Weltraum – Unterstützung bei der Umsetzung von Strahlungsanforderungen an Raumfahrt-Komponenten" will take place.


Developments in the HPM-detector are published for the first time at a conference.

The Fraunhofer INT expands. Groundbreaking ceremony for the new office building by Prof. Dr. Wiemken.


The acquisition of two EU projects (ACRIMAS and ETCETERA) marks the Institute's successful entry into the EU research framework program in the field of civil security research.


Prof. Dr. Dr. Michael Lauster becomes head of the Institute.


A cryostat is being used for the first time to study radiation at low temperatures.

From September 17 to 19, Fraunhofer INT will be hosting the first national "Future Security - Forum for Security and Defense Research" for the Fraunhofer Group for Defense and Security Research in Berlin, chaired by Prof. Lauster.


Fraunhofer INT publishes the study "Pandemic Influenza in Germany 2020 - Scenarios and Options for Action".

Foundation of the Fraunhofer Space Alliance with the task of bundling the diverse space activities within the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The Alliance acts as a central point of contact for customers and project partners. Prof. Dr. Dr. Michael Lauster becomes spokesperson for the Alliance.

Expansion and flood disaster

Fraunhofer INT continues to grow. A new experimental hall is built and the modernization of the Institute's experimental infrastructure begins as part of an investment program with the Federal Ministry of Defense. The flood disaster in 2021 interrupts these initiatives for a while until reconstruction work can begin.

Picosecond laser
Flood disaster
Onboard Radiation Sensor


Certification for compliance with the ISO 9001:2008 quality management standard. The certificate relates to "Scientific work on the effects of nuclear and electromagnetic radiation as well as the implementation and development of methods for their characterization".

In addition, the first series of tests with the picosecond laser for mapping single event effects are launched.

Receipt of a grant of 1.2 million euros from the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support for the KATI assistance system.

This year also sees the founding of the "Fraunhofer Group for Innovation Research" to strengthen its role in the research, technology and innovation policy dialog with industry, politics and society. Fraunhofer INT is one of four founding members.


The Institute organizes the "F&T-Zukunftslagekonferenz" for the first time on behalf of and chaired by the Director of Research at the Federal Ministry of Defence with 70 participants. The conference has been held annually since then, with the exception of the years of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Start of construction work to extend the experimental hall. The largest part of the extension is taken up by a new anechoic chamber, in which 170 m³ are available for investigations in the field of electromagnetic compatibility.


Fraunhofer INT and Digital Science combine Technology Foresight Tool KATI and Dimensions data, making the KATI-system commercially usable outside Fraunhofer INT.

On the night of July 14-15, a tidal wave floods Euskirchen. The entire Institute site is flooded. At times, the buildings are up to 86 cm under water and the basement area is completely flooded.


Fraunhofer Space Alliance becomes Fraunhofer AVIATION & SPACE. The SPACE office remains at Fraunhofer INT.


The Onboard Radiation Sensor (FORS) developed at Fraunhofer INT will start its mission in space on the Heinrich Hertz satellite on July 5, 2023.