The Optoelectronics Research Centre at ECOC 2023
The European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC) was held in Glasgow this year. The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), based at the University of Southampton, had a strong presence at the conference, bringing many of its leading academics and showcasing two flagship programmes: CORNERSTONE and the Future Photonics Hub.
Professor Will Stewart – a Visiting Professor at the ORC – was a driving-force in the organisation of the conference this year. Serving as co-chair on the organizing committee alongside Professor David Richardson, former Deputy Director of the ORC, will also chaired many of the public sessions, including the opening and closing ceremonies.
Expressing his enthusiasm, Will said: “ECOC, now in its 49th year, continues to be as exciting and novel as ever with over 900 submitted papers (a record!) and around 6000 people present. It is amazing that new and important work keeps coming in, not least on hollow core fibres from Southampton, but also on quantum and free space communications. I was involved in the very first meeting in London and still find it as fascinating as ever.”
Professor Francesco Poletti, leader of the ORC’s Hollow Core Fibre group, also contributed to the conference's organization. He acted as the chair of the fibre subcommittee, helped to shape the technical programme of the conference and chaired the scoring of papers.
Professor Graham Reed, Director of the ORC, delivered a talk celebrating the achievements of CORNERSTONE, an open source, license free, silicon photonics rapid prototyping foundry which has evolved into one of the ORC’s largest EPSRC (UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) programmes. The response to his talk was overwhelmingly positive.
Dr. Ramsey Selim, the Business Development Manager for CORNERSTONE, reflected on the event: “There was a real buzz at ECOC this year – it really felt like a return to the pre-Covid era. Graham’s talk raised our profile, prompting attendees to find our stand and say hello.”
The Future Photonics Hub, another major EPSRC-funded initiative, also had a stand at ECOC. The ORC shared the stage with the National Epitaxy Facility, based in Sheffield, to raise awareness of their collaborative programme, focused on partnering with industry to facilitate the commercialization of cutting-edge photonics technologies. Both universities boast unique facilities that captured the curiosity of conference attendees.