The University of Southampton

Quantum 'wow'-students look into integrated photonics manufacturing

Published: 3 February 2016

Researchers working in the area of integrated photonics at the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) have hosted a group of 14 sixth-form students from the Godolphin School, Salisbury.

The visit inside the Integrated Photonics Cleanroom at the University of Southampton is one of a series of outreach events organised by James Gates and Matthew Posner as part of the National Quantum Technology Programme. The visit by the all-girls school was part of an initiative to encourage more young women to pursue studies in science and engineering.

Dr James Gates, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre, said: “A key part of the National Quantum Technology Programme is establishing the pipeline of young people, and women in particular, to build the UK’s future industry in this area. This event allows students to see first-hand what they could be doing in a few years, enthuse them and find out about the skills required to develop careers in photonics manufacturing for Quantum Technology.”

The visit is the last in a busy calendar of outreach and education events celebrating the 2015 International Year of Light; the year-long celebration concludes this week with a ceremony in Mexico, which will include a talk by ORC director Professor Sir David Payne. ORC researchers have worked with more than 2000 students from over 50 different schools, hoping to inspire young people to pursue careers in photonics and engineering at a time when UK companies are reporting they are unable to fill vacancies due to skill shortages.

Students of the Godolphin School described the day as “magnificent”, “educational”, “unforgettable” and “inspiring”. Dr Chris Hillman, Head of Physics at the Godolphin School and ORC Alumni, commented: “The tour was great and had a lovely mix of ‘way-out’ stuff with bells and whistles and other material that the students could really get a grip on. The cleanroom was a real ‘wow’ moment – they loved it. We have a lot of girls interested in engineering courses, and this visit has certainly broadened their horizons”

Find out more about the EPSRC funded National Quantum Technology Programme.

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