Southampton lights up photonics research

Southampton lights up photonics research

SOR-Southampton

The next generation of ultra-fast Internet or ground-breaking circuits powered by light could very well be built on research carried out by Southampton, thanks to a joint venture between Southampton and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore to establish one of the most advanced institutes in the field today.

The $80 million SGD Photonics Institute at NTU is funded and supported by industry partners and national agencies, including A*STAR, DSO National Laboratories, the Economic Development Board Singapore, the Ministry of Education, and the National Research Foundation of the Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore.

The Institute is described as a ‘cradle of knowledge and intellectual property’ and a ‘focal point for ground-breaking applications of light-enabled technologies’, like those currently found in fibre-optic cables, lasers, and consumer products such as DVD/Blu-ray devices or remote control devices.

At the launch of the joint venture with Southampton, NTU President, Professor Bertil Andersson, spoke of photonics as an enabling technology with applications that span many industry sectors, from communications to manufacturing, and even space technology.

“Together with Southampton, our new institute aims to be become a focal point for photonics research in Singapore and to drive innovations on a global scale. This joint initiative is an important conduit for the transfer of scientific and technological knowledge, breakthroughs and industrial innovations between Singapore and the United Kingdom,” he said.

The ORC is is one of the largest university-based research institutes entirely devoted to optoelectronics in the world and the source of many inventions that power the ubiquitous fibre-optic Internet now found in most homes. It has built strong links with industry, research institutions and universities around the world, from informal collaborations to large-scale funding. Several spin-out companies, including: SPI Fianium, SENSA, Fibercore, and Stratophase have commercialised the fruits of ORC research; while its extensive outreach programme has brought lasers and optical fibres into schools across the country.

Professor Sir David Payne, Director of the ORC explained:
“Combined, NTU and the ORC have created the largest institute dedicated to the study and development of light technologies in the world. The Photonics Institute is a platform of excellence in photonics research, extending the reach and impact of our science worldwide; research without boundaries, if you will. We have the critical mass to address big challenges such as energy, pollution, the internet and the environment.”

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