Internet amplifier pioneer honoured on 25th anniversary


Professor David Payne, Director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton has been honoured this week at Photonics 2012, Chennai, India for leading the team that discovered the Erbium Doped Fibre Amplifier (EDFA) – the ‘booster engine’ of the Internet. 

In the first of two events marking the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the EDFA, IITM (Indian Institute of Technology Madras) organisers of Photonics 2012; and OSA (Optical Society of America) co-sponsors, honoured Professor Payne for leading pivotal research developing the world’s first practical optical amplifier. The EDFA is a crucial component used in the fibre optic transmission systems which form the backbone of the World Wide Web. David explained:

"Today, optical fibres transport vast quantities of data around the world, but they are imperfect and the optical signals require boosting when the light dims after a 100km or so. 

“When we developed the EDFA in 1987, we underestimated the enormity of its impact on telecommunications. It has made possible the explosive growth in the Internet through its ability to transmit and amplify vast amounts of data. Our lives today would be unimaginable without it. I am proud to see its benefits 25 years on.” 

The second event that Professor Payne is to be honoured at is the Photonics Global Conference in Singapore later this week, Professor Bishnu Pal, for IIT Delhi, attending, explained: “We are keen to show young scientists and students the exciting opportunities that optics and photonics provides. Exposure to role models such as Professor Payne, will inspire and motivate them.” 

Find out more about David Payne's work

Photonics 2012

Photonics Global Conference

Published: Thursday 13 December 2012

Copyright University of Southampton 2006