The University of Southampton

Experience the power of light at The Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition

Published: 24 June 2008

The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton will be hosting an interactive display at this year’s Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition which will allow people to personalise their very own coaster or card holder by using a high power fibre laser.
The laser marking machine is just one of the many exciting visual displays the ORC will be exhibiting during the Exhibition between 30 June and 3 July 2008.
Other aspects of the exhibit include: a hands-on demonstrator illustrating the operating principles of the high power fibre laser, and a chance to see various examples of fibres and components used to construct lasers for both telecommunications and high power applications. In addition, various videos showing fibre laser technology used in industrial materials processing will be showing.
“We have tried to come up with hands-on activities that will teach the public more about the power of light and how fibre lasers are transforming numerous industrial and scientific disciplines,” explains Professor David Richardson from the ORC.
”Today fibre lasers are being used world-wide on the manufacturing floor. Not only can they be used to cut inch thick steel, fibre lasers can also be used to weld your car during its manufacture, perform delicate eye surgery or even to mark the date on fruit you buy in the supermarket.”
Researchers at the ORC also pioneered the world’s first practical optical fibre amplifier which enabled light to travel further and faster in fibre-optic cables and helped make today’s Internet possible.
To meet the team that made broadband possible and discover the latest applications for revolutionary high power fibre lasers visit Stand 17.

Notes to editors:
About the ORC
The Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton is one of the largest university-based research groups entirely devoted to optoelectronics in the world, and has maintained a position at the forefront of photonics research for over four decades. Its long and well established track record in the fields of optical fibre, lasers, waveguides, devices and optoelectronic materials has fostered innovation, enterprise, cross-boundary and multi-disciplinary activities. It has built strong links with industry, research institutions and universities around the world, from informal collaborations to large-scale funding. Several spin out companies, including SPI Lasers Plc, Stratophase Ltd, Fibercore Ltd and ChG Southampton Ltd, have commericalized the fruits of ORC research; while its extensive outreach programme has brought lasers and optical fibres into schools across the country.

About the University of Southampton
The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship.
This is one of the country's top institutions for engineering, computer science and medicine, and home to a range of world-leading research centres, including the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the Optoelectronics Research Centre, the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, and the Mountbatten Centre for International Studies.
We combine academic excellence with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to research, supporting a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of learning.
As one of the UK's top 10 research universities, we offer first-rate opportunities and facilities for study and research across a wide range of subjects in humanities, health, science and engineering. We have over 22,000 students, around 5000 staff, and an annual turnover in the region of £325 million.

About the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition
The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition is held annually at the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science. The event is free and open to the public. This year, 23 interactive exhibits will be on show presenting the best of UK science, engineering and technology. During the four days of the event, more than 4,000 people are expected to take up the opportunity to explore the exhibition.
The Exhibition runs from Monday 30 June to Thursday 3 July 2008
Press preview: 15.00 – 17.00 Monday 30 June
Exhibition opening times:  
Monday 30 June 18.00pm - 21.00pm (late opening)
Tuesday 1 July 10.00am - 21.00pm (late opening)
Wednesday 2 July 10.00am - 16.30pm
Thursday 3 July 10.00am - 16.30pm
Last entry 30 minutes before closing

Further information can be found at

The Royal Society can be found at 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG. Nearest tubes are Piccadilly Circus or Charing Cross.

Further information

Professor David Richardson, ORC

(tel: 023 8059 4524, mobile: 07834 409 490,  email:

Sue Wilson, Communications, University of Southampton,

(tel. 023 8059 5457, email:


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