Group Members

Prof Gilberto Brambilla
tel: +44(0) 23 8059 2696

Dr Mohammad Belal
tel: +44(0) 23 8059 7673

Dr Jing He
tel: +44(0) 23 8059 2634

Ali Masoudi
tel: +44(0) 23 8059 4531

Prof Xiujuan Jiang
tel: +44(0) 23 8059 2634


Rand Ismaeel
tel: +44(0) 23 8059 2634

Muhammad Imran Mustafa Abdul Khudus
tel: +44(0) 23 8059 2956

James Bremner
tel: +44(0) 23 8059 9253


Dr Natasha Vukovic 


Prof. Fei Xu 

Narjing University, China 


Fabrizio Renna 

Selex Galileo, Italy 

Dr Roberto Lorenzi 

University of Milan, Italy 

Prof. Zhanqi Song

Changsha University, China

PhD projects with this group

Click here to find out more

Optical Microfibre Devices and Sensors

Our group works on the fabrication of devices and sensors based on optical fibre nano-/micro-wires, fibre tapers and couplers, and their exploitation in sensors, devices and frequency converters for UV and IR generation. Our research interests include also the design and fabrication of fibre sensors based on rare-earths doped fibres for X-ray detection, the fabrication of fiberised components for high power fibre lasers and their combination and multimode couplers for mode division multiplexing.

Central research themes include: 

  • Frequency conversion
  • UV generation
  • IR generation
  • Sub-wavelength focusing 
  • Sensing 
  • High-Q microcoil resonators 
  • Mode filtering 
  • Fabrication of silica optical fibre nanowires 
  • Manufacture of compound glass optical fibre nanowires 
  • Singlemode excitation of multimode fibres 
  • Optical handling of microparticles 
  • Supercontinuum generation 
  • Nanowire handling and preservation 
  • Characterisation of glass nanowire properties 

In particular, micro- and nano-fibers are of interest for a range of emerging fibre optic applications since they offer a number of enabling optical and mechanical properties: 

1) Large evanescent fields. A considerable fraction of the transmitted power can propagate outside the OMNF physical boundary. 

2) High nonlinearity. Light can be confined to a very small area over long device lengths allowing the straightforward observation of nonlinear interactions at relatively modest power levels. 

3) Strong confinement and flexibility. Because of the small size, OMNFs can easily be bent and manipulated. Bend radii of the order of a few microns can be readily achieved with relatively low induced bend optical loss allowing for highly compact devices with a complex geometry. 

4) Low-loss interconnection to other optical fibres and fiberised components. OMNF preserve the original optical fibre dimensions at their input and output allowing easy interconnection to optical fibre components. 


Research facilities:

Our group has two laboratories which provide 1) tapers from both silica and compound glasses, from few mm to several meters long; 2) embedded microcoil resonators 3) multifibre devices and 4) long period gratings.

Unique equipment include a customised recoater capable to coat long tapers with a selection of fluoro/chlorinated or acrylic coatings and a high energy fs laser with doubling and trebling capabilities.

Available instrumentation include a laminar flow cabinet and conventional equipment used for the characterization of optical devices (SC sources, light sources, OSAs) and multifibre devices (microscopes, IR camera, diameter gauge).



Current research projects:

Fibre nanowire sensors

(EPSRC, Mar 2008-Feb2011)

Much effort has been devoted recently to developing compact devices for chemical and biological sensing, in particular for environmental, aerospace and security applications. The double goal is to increase the sensitivity while simultaneously reducing the size of the devices. Here we propose to apply the emerging technology of optical nanowires to this task, which could reduce device sizes from approximately ten centimetres to the sub-millimetre range combined with unprecedented detector sensitivity.

Exploiting Optical fibre Nanowires: from nano to bio

(Royal Society, Oct2007-Sep2012)

This project relates to the scientific investigation of optical fibre nanowire properties, and the development of novel devices. There is a particular stress to evaluate whether the small size can be associated to exceptional physical properties observed in other type of nanowires.

Carbon nanowires have attracted a tremendous interest in the last decade also because of their outstanding mechanical properties. The molecular bonds in silica are of comparable strength to the carbon bonds in carbon nanotubes and thin silica nanowires could compete with the well established carbon nanowires for strength. The possibility to manufacture extremely long nanowires (as in the case of silica fibres) would revolutionise the field of high-strength materials. Applications to biology will be investigated, including cell sorting and manipulation of biological entities.


Recent research projects:

The fabrication and applications of fibre nanowires and related devices

(EPSRC, Mar 2005-Aug2009)

This EPSRC project is meant to explore the manufacture and exploitation of optical fibre nanowires. The broad aim of this project is to develop nanowire technology and to begin to investigate the use of this know-how in a number of key application areas. Specific targets include: (1) the investigation of the limits in terms of minimum nanowire loss and length for silica nanowires produced using the flame brush technique, (2) the development of the technology to manipulate, handle and preserve nanowire devices; (3) the study, design and manufacture of devices for applications in telecommunication, optics and sensing in biology/chemistry.



Fibre pump bundle arrays

(SPI Optics)



Internal (ORC and UoS):

• Advanced Fibre Technologies & Applications (DJR)

• Computational Nonlinear Optics (PEH)

• Distributed Optical Fibre Sensors (TPN)

• Integrated Photonic Devices (JSW)

• FAST lab


• RAL (UK)

• Politecnico di Torino, Turin (Italy)

• Cristal Growth Centre, Anna University, Chennai (India)

• University of Luoyang, Luoyang (China)

• University College of Cork (Ireland)

• University of Surrey (U.K.)

• DSI (Singapore)

• Universita’ di Milano Bicocca, Milan (Italy)

• University of Tartu (Estonia)

• University of Sheffield (U.K.)


• Atlas (U.K.),

• Starlite (Italy),

• Zeiss (Germany)


Work with us:

Please contact Dr Gilberto Brambilla if you would like any further information about the work of our Optical fibre nanowires and related devices group or would be interested to work with us.


Copyright University of Southampton 2006