The University of Southampton

Westminster unveil Britain’s future photonics researchers

Published: 5 March 2010

Three of Britain’s future photonics researchers have been given the opportunity to promote their research to members of parliament at the SET for Britain event at the House of Commons on 8th March.

Early career photonics researchers, based at the Optoelectronics Research Centre; Behrad Gholipour,Christopher Holmes and Richard Parker, will present their latest research in the fields of chalcogenide glasses and planar optical materials.

The next energy revolution will be illustrated by Behrad, a first year PhD student. His current research in chalcogenide glasses with Professor Dan Hewak could potentially allow the realisation of solar cells that work both in sunlight and in the dark as well as a system of producing electricity from the heat dissipated from anything such as households, cars and jet engines.

Christopher, who was awarded a PhD plus award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in 2009, will present his pioneering work on the fabrication of optical devices using an ultra-precision micromachining technique - a new avenue of optical material processing, allowing rapid prototyping of miniaturised health care diagnostic systems.

Richard has also recently been awarded a PhD plus for his joint research with the School of Chemistry. He will present his research in optofluidic sensors for chemical detection. Sensors play an essential role in modern life, monitoring industrial processes and environmental change to detecting pathogens and biomedical diagnosis. Integrated optical devices miniaturise and integrate multiple optical functions within a single smart device, while microfluidics enables small scale fluid control and analysis. The combination of these to form “lab-on-a-chip” optofluidic devices is an emerging technology that is changing the future of sensor design.

SET for Britain is an annual poster exhibition organised to encourage, support and promote Britain’s early-stage and early-career research scientists engineers and technologists. The event is split into three two-hour poster and judging sessions. The three researchers from Southampton will present their work during the Physical Sciences section and will be competing for a prestigious Medal and monetary prize which will be awarded during a reception and prize-giving at the end of the day.

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