The University of Southampton

New grant for photonic technologies

Published: 14 October 2011

A grant awarded to the University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) will provide a platform for the development of the next generation of cheaper, faster and greener devices.

The ORC has just been awarded a £1.4 million platform grant by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in the area of integrated photonics which will lead to the development of new devices including new kW-class lasers, compact on-chip amplifiers and biosensor arrays for infectious diseases.

High-power lasers, the size of a fingernail for machining and laser-processing applications, pollution sensors to monitor climate change, early threat detection security devices and fast universally accessible disease screening, will all be made possible throughout the four-year period of the grant.

The investigating team are Professor Rob Eason as Principal Investigator, with co-investigators, Professor James Wilkinson, Dave Shepherd and Peter Smith and Dr Jacob Mackenzie, who are working with seven external partner organisations and each responsible for specific areas of interest.

"We have been working in integrated photonics for 20 years and we will now use this technology to focus on healthcare, sensing and telecommunications,” said Professor Rob Eason

The grant will make it possible for the ORC to carry out feasibility studies for industry and provide a rapid response.

“Platform funding will enable a rapid response to the needs of industry,” said Professor Eason. “It will make it possible for a targeted end application to be designed, developed and demonstrated in a matter of weeks to months, compared to the more usual months to years under current funding. Industry often needs ‘instant’ solutions to problems and this grant should go a long way to meeting this need. ”

During the course of the grant, the investigators will develop new technologies which they will then test with the industrial partner organisations.

The seven companies involved in the project are:

  • Covesion Ltd
  • Stratophase Ltd
  • Gooch and Housego
  • Element Six Limited
  • Ocean Optics
  • US Air Force
  • Defence Science and Technology Lab


Published: 2 November 2011

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