The University of Southampton

Duke of York receives enduring gift from the Optoelectronics Research Centre

Published: 10 February 2012
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His Royal Highness, The Duke of York received a unique and enduring gift during his visit to the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton this week.

His visit to the university was focused towards seeing how the UK's leading universities are contributing to the UK’s economic recovery through engineering and technology.

His Royal Highness particularly sought to explore‚ first hand‚ the close working relationships between the University of Southampton, one of the UK’s foremost research universities, and industry and to encourage scientists and entrepreneurs to partner the discovery and development innovations as a catalyst for economic growth.

“I came to the university to see what they are doing and to understand the world-class research that is going on here, especially in optoelectronics in which it is a global leader,” he said.

The Duke of York formally opened the 2012 Engineering and Technology Careers Fair during which he met representatives from ORC spin-out company SPI Lasers, a leading laser technology developer who contributed to the unique and lasting gift that was presented to His Royal Highness during his visit.

Dr Stephen Norman, Chief Technical Officer of SPI Lasers remarked "SPI was delighted that the Duke of York had supported the Careers Fair. These fairs form an essential component of SPI’s strategy for recruiting the highest calibre students. We were very pleased in the interest his Grace displayed in our products and their applications."

The visit concluded with a tour of the world-leading Optoelectronics Research Centre focusing on photonics and fibre optics during which he was presented with a unique and enduring gift from Professor David Payne, ORC Director; the so-called 'Superman memory crystal.' This five-dimensional nanostructured fused quartz invented by the ORC’s Professor Peter Kazansky contained an image of the Duke of York imprinted by a femto-second laser which is able to record vast quantities of data and will hold the image for over a thousand years. This was combined with a special, laser-etched plaque produced courtesy of SPI. David was delighted to be able to present a gift which demonstrates two of the leading technologies that the ORC and its partners are developing.

"The Duke was fascinated by our start-up record and mused on the merits of inward investment regarding organic growth to create the major British companies of the future. He noted the success of SPI in particular, having met them at the careers fair," said David.

"He also wanted to know how we protected our ideas and ensure they were available for exploitation in the UK. He was very impressed with our record of invention and innovation and loved seeing how our world-leading fibres are made."

Find out more about innovation at the ORC.

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