The University of Southampton

Formed in 1989 as an interdisciplinary research centre, the Optoelectronics Research Centre is one of the world’s leading institutes for photonics research.

We have a vibrant community of PhD students and researchers, led by some of the leading figures in the field of photonics. We have contributed significantly to the remarkable growth of the photonics industry, including the optical telecommunication technology that underpins the internet as well as many solutions in medicine, biosciences sensing, security and manufacturing.

Professor Sir David Payne

Professor Sir David Neil Payne CBE FRS FREng is a leading Professor at the University of Southampton and Director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre. A world class pioneer of technology, his work has had a great impact on telecommunications and laser technology over the last forty years.


We have very strong links with local, national and international industries, and collaborate with many other university groups as well as other departments within the University of Southampton.

In 2014 the ORC opened The Photonics Institute with collaborators at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, further establishing the ORC as global leaders in the field. Closer to home, our staff are encouraged to pursue industrial links and entrepreneurial activity. To date the ORC has produced three highly-successful spin-offs contributing not only to scientific progress but the wider economic success of the local economy.


Our staff are working at the cutting-edge to deliver impact in the real world

Postgraduate MSc

Enhance your employability with our rigorous one-year MSc courses

Postgraduate PhD

Our PhD programme will give your career the best possible start.


We collaborate and forge partnerships with leading industry names

Key ORC facts

We are the largest photonics group in the UK

Our entrepreneurial researchers have founded 11 companies, generating revenue in excess of £100M and creating over 500 jobs

Our world-changing inventions navigate airlines, cut steel, manufacture life-saving medical devices and power the Internet

Fibres invented and made in Southampton are on the Moon, Mars and the International Space Station

We achieve some £15M of grant income annually, and hold 5 flagship EPSRC programme grants

Our researchers publish over 300 journal papers and file 10 patents each year

We have over 100 industrial and academic partners around the globe

Our dual-site research centre in Singapore has a $150M research portfolio

Key photonics industry facts

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