The University of Southampton

Compound Glass and Fibres

PhD Projects:

Mid-IR soft glass hollow core fibres

Supervisor: Prof Francesco Poletti
Co-Supervisor: Dr Walter Belardi, Dr Joris Lousteau

In this project we aim to develop reliable mid-IR delivery fibres that circumvent the lack of durable and low-loss glasses at these wavelengths. The student will develop a manufacturing platform for compound-glass-based hollow-core fibres based on novel air-guiding designs and made of lower phonon energy, ‘softer’, glasses. Through design optimisation we expect to push the transparency window of hollow fibres made of tellurite, fluoride, and chalcogenide glass to ~7μm, 9μm and 15μm, respectively.

The fibres are expected to offer extremely good modal qualities, leading to unprecedented performances in this wavelength range. Combined with the development of high-power mid-IR III-V semiconductor lasers fabricated at partner centre in Sheffield and with techniques for low cost coupling, this mid-IR platform of flexible sources and single-mode, hollow delivery fibres will open up a host of novel opportunities in gas sensing and spectroscopy.

Novel active glasses, fibres and amplifiers

Supervisor: Prof Francesco Poletti
Co-supervisor: Dr Joris Lousteau

In this project we aim to develop novel glasses for short pulse amplifiers, with the aim of generating unprecedented high peak power in ultrashort ps/fs pulses. This would be of interest, e.g. in the generation of supercontinuum radiation, nonlinear microscopy or industrial manufacturing. By employing glasses with better solubility for rare-earth doping than silica, we will develop very short amplifying fibres, thus allowing the fabrication of compact active devices with very high optical gain per unit length.

Glass systems of particular interest are: 

1) phosphate glasses for amplifier/laser operation at 1μm and 1.5 μm wavelengths where numerous material processing and biomedical applications take place, 
2) germanate glasses for amplifier and laser operation in the 2 μm region for surgery, CO2 sensing and LIDAR and 
3) fluoride glasses that offer high-power fibre lasers at longer, mid-IR wavelengths.

This work will exploit a collaboration with the EPSRC National Centre for III-V Technologies the University of Sheffield aimed at integrating amplifiers with state of the art laser sources.

Low-cost, high performance optical fibres for short-reach interfaces

Supervisor: Prof Francesco Poletti
Co-supervisor: Dr Joris Lousteau

The demand for high resolution and high frame rate face-to-face communication and high definition 4K/8K television requires wave-guided communication channels with ultra-high data transmission rate. Standard electronics cables like HDMI interfaces cannot keep up with such a steady increase in bandwidth demand, and low-cost high-performing optical fibres will need to be developed for this purpose. In this project we will investigate the fabrication of potential candidate fibres based on glasses and polymers, arranged on a novel architecture pioneered within the group. The student will learn and develop advanced simulation tools to design and optimise the fibres, and a range of fibre fabrication techniques to produce them. He will work with different materials and characterisation tools in a vibrant and stimulating environment. If successful, the project has the potential to impact an important sector in the short reach data transmission consumer electronics, where volumes of billions of cables are manufactured each year.

Compound glass fibres, fibre bundles and devices

Supervisor: Prof Francesco Poletti
Co-supervisor: Dr Joris Lousteau

From manufacturing to sensing and telecommunications, optical fibres underpin many strategic services in our society and are a technology in constant need for improvement. In the last ten years the Soft Glass Fibre group at the ORC has pioneered several innovative fibre structures, glass compositions and fabrication procedures for applications in nonlinear optics, sensing and mid-infrared transmission and spectroscopy.

This project will continue along these lines and investigate the development of novel fibres, including designs incorporating dopants, metals, semiconductors and polymers within the cross-section, and using various fabrication techniques to create multi-functional fibres and fibre bundles. Strong existing interaction with application groups at the ORC in the areas of fibre lasers, ultrafast nonlinear optics, telecommunications and sensing will ensure a high potential impact.

Although this is a fabrication oriented project, the interested student will be offered the possibility to learn state-of-the-art numerical simulations to support and drive his 

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