AirGuide Photonics

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC)

Abstract

Optical fibres lie at the heart of our increasingly technological society, for example: supporting the internet and mobile communications that we all now take for granted, saving lives through medical diagnosis and interventions using fibre-optic endoscopes, and enabling the mass production of a huge array of commercial products through fibre laser based materials processing.

However, current fibre optics technology has its limitations due largely to the fact that the light is confined to a solid glass core. This places fundamental restrictions on the power and wavelength range over which signals can be transmitted, the speed at which signals propagate, and in terms of sensitivity to the external environment. These limits are now starting to impose restrictions in many application areas. For example, in telecommunications, nonlinear interactions between wavelength channels limit the maximum overall data transmission capacity of current single mode fibres to ~100-200 Tbit/s (for amplified terrestrial systems). Moreover, nonlinear, thermal and material damage thresholds combine to limit the maximum peak and average powers that can be delivered in a tightly focusable beam. This restricts the range of potential uses, particularly in the important ultrashort pulse regime increasingly used for a wide variety of materials processing applications

These limitations can in principle be overcome by exploiting new light guidance mechanisms in fibres with a hollow core surrounded by a fine glass microstructure. Such fibres are generally referred to as Hollow Core Fibres (HCFs). Within this Programme we will seek to reinvent fibre optics technology and will replace the glass core with air or vacuum to produce Optical Fibres 2.0, offering vastly superior but largely unexplored potential. Our ultimate vision is that of a Connected World, where devices, machines, data centres and cities can be linked through these hollow light pipes for faster, cheaper, more resilient and secure communications. A Greener and Healthier World, where intense laser light can be channelled to produce goods and run combustion engines more efficiently and to image cancer tissues inside our bodies in real time. And an Explorative World, where hollow lightguides will enable scientific breakthroughs in attosecond science, particle physics, metrology and interplanetary exploration. Our overall ambition is therefore to revisit the way we think about light guidance and to develop a disruptive technology that challenges conventional thinking.

The programme will provide the UK with a world-leading position both in HCF technology itself and in the many new applications and services that it will support.

Planned Impact

The beneficiaries of this research will be both the research communities and, in the longer term, the commercial sector. The research beneficiaries and the impact the Programme will have on them are largely described in the academic beneficiaries section.

In the area of commercial exploitation, the ORC has significant past experience and a track record of exploiting IP, both in terms of licensing to users and in the formation of spin-off ventures. In the Southampton area alone, a cluster of high tech, high value-added photonics spinout companies currently employs about 700 people and plays a major role in the regional and national economy. Exploitation will be through the form of IP generated or knowledge transfer. Where applicable, we will seek to exploit our results through new start-up companies, joint ventures or industry-led deals.

Research that has the potential for commercial exploitation will be reviewed on a quarterly basis, with invention disclosure forms documenting the names of inventors and their respective percentage contributions to the invention. Results of the research will be exploited via the University's Research Support Services, who provide valuable commercial and legal resources. We also work with the SETsquared Partnership, a successful entrepreneurship collaboration.

Throughout the course of the Programme, we will undertake the training and development of the next generation of scientists and engineers (starting with 5 new Postdocs and 12 Students) to expand the knowledge and skills-base, and through it the competitiveness of the UK economy. This will be carried out through the institution's graduate training programme and staff development schemes.

A marketing manager will assist in the communication and dissemination aspects of the Programme, to reach out to a wider audience and raise the visibility of the research. Where appropriate, PDRAs and students will be involved in the impact activities as part of their training and broader skills development, e.g., in user engagement discussions, writing of technical reports and research publications.

Organisations

 
Description The Airguide Project is concerned with developing a whole new generation of optical fibres with novel properties that originate from the fact that light propagates in a microscopic hole (i.e. a hollow core) in the centre of the fibre cross section and that extends along the full fibre length (which may be many kilometres long). This is in contrast to light propagating in a solid glass core as in current fibres. This radically reduces the glass light interaction.

During the course of this project we have achieved record parametric performance for hollow core fibres and have shown that they can out-perform current optical fibre technology in many application areas, including within telecommunications, laser power delivery and optical sensing of various forms. We have also developed novel ways of integrating hollow core fibres in to fibre systems and networks, achieving unprecedented levels of insertion loss and back reflection, developed novel optical fibre amplifiers and lasers (single and multicore) capable of exploiting the wide spectral band operation possible in this new class of fibres, developed a complete generation of hollow core integrated components and undertaken substantial application work both internally and externally with our project partners.

Specific highlights include:
• The demonstration of record low optical attenuation levels in different spectral regimes, in particular in the near-to-mid IR (extending to regions in which silica glass itself is opaque) and at short wavelength within the visible,
• The demonstration of ultralow interconnection losses between solid and hollow core fibres (<0.15 dB) facilitating integration into fibre optic systems,
• The achievement of record values of gain and noise figure for optical amplification in different spectral windows in the near IR using new laser dopants and fibre designs,
• Transmission of pulsed laser light over long distances at vacuum light speed (30% faster than in solid fibres),
• Transmission of kW-scale average power laser light over km distances,
• New world records for data transmission in hollow core fibres over long (>2000km) distance scales,
• Simultaneous transmission of quantum and classical information channels over fibre for secure networks
• Data transmission over ultrawide bandwidths spanning more than an octave in frequency,
• The demonstration of ultra-stable fibre sensors and interferometers exploiting the low thermal sensitivity of hollow core fibres (as extensively studied in this programme).
• The development of a detailed understanding of gas dynamics and light/gas/glass interactions in hollow core fibres, facilitating their application in gas sensing applications.
Exploitation Route As a result of the project the UK has now established itself as the world leader in this radically new fibre type, with commercialisation in train through a local spinout company - Lumenisity Ltd. The team are also working with a large team of collaborators and partners on application of the technology across diverse academic and industrial fields.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Security and Diplomacy

URL https://www.airguide.soton.ac.uk/
 
Description The University of Southampton has now established itself as the world leader in this radically new fibre type, with commercialisation in train through a local spinout company - Lumenisity Ltd.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Economic

 
Description : Industrial-grade fibre optic component development for next-generation specialty optical fibres (Impact Acceleration Award - PI Y: Jung)
Amount £40,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2018 
End 08/2019
 
Description Controlling the Optical Properties of Hollow Core Fibres using Differential Refractive Index
Amount £359,933 (GBP)
Funding ID URF\R\211014 
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2022 
End 04/2025
 
Description EPSRC Prosperity Partnerships: Transformative Imaging for Quantitative Biology (TIQBio) Partnership
Amount £2,134,258 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/V038036/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2021 
End 05/2025
 
Description Fibre laser based mid infrared source development
Amount £25,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 2278015 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2019 
End 03/2023
 
Description High Power Laser Applications of Hollow Core Fibres
Amount £25,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 2278720 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2019 
End 03/2023
 
Description II-VI PhD studentships (x2)
Amount $300,000 (USD)
Organisation II-VI Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United States
Start 09/2018 
End 09/2021
 
Description Lighting the Way to a Healthy Nation - Optical 'X-rays' for Walk Through Diagnosis & Therapy
Amount £5,577,754 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/T020997/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2020 
End 05/2025
 
Description Lighting the way to a healthy nation - optical 'X-rays' for walk through diagnosis & therapy
Amount £5,446,592 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/T020997/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2020 
End 05/2025
 
Description National Dark Fibre Facility
Amount £4,900,552 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S028854/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2019 
End 05/2024
 
Description RAEng Senior Research Fellowship (March 2018 - Feb 2023), 'Thermally-insensitive Hollow Core Optical Fibres, RCSFR1718\6\15
Amount £188,960 (GBP)
Funding ID RCSFR1718\6\15 
Organisation Royal Academy of Engineering 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2018 
End 02/2023
 
Description Research on the optical and laser properties of praseodymium doped fluoride crystals
Amount £12,000 (GBP)
Funding ID RS International Exchanges 2018 Cost Share (June 2019 to June 2021) Title: Research on the optical and laser properties of praseodymium doped fluoride crystals 
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2019 
End 09/2020
 
Description Self-organized light in multicore optical fibers: a route to scalable high-power lasers and all-optical signal processing
Amount £668,181 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/T019441/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2020 
End 03/2023
 
Description Self-organized light in multicore optical fibers: a route to scalable high-power lasers and all-optical signal processing
Amount £821,840 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/T019441/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2020 
End 03/2023
 
Title Dataset for "Theoretical analysis of backscattering in hollow-core antiresonant fibers" 
Description Dataset for "Theoretical analysis of backscattering in hollow-core antiresonant fibers" in APL Photonics 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? Yes  
URL https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/451532/
 
Title Dataset for "Thinly-coated hollow core fiber for improved thermal phase-stability performance" 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? Yes  
URL https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/451533/
 
Title Dataset for article: 'Low loss, high-performance interconnection between standard single-mode fiber and antiresonant hollow-core fiber' 
Description Dataset underpinning research paper 'Low loss, high-performance interconnection between standard single-mode ifber and antiresonant hollow-core fiber' in Scientific Reports. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? Yes  
URL https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/451047/
 
Description Collaboration on multicore fibre transmission (NTT Japan) 
Organisation Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation
Country Japan 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Development of a few mode/multi-core erbium doped fibre amplifier for amplified high capacity data transmission experiments.
Collaborator Contribution Systems test of amplifier
Impact Several high profile publications as detailed in individual grant publication list.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration with Bristol University (Dr George Kanellos) on Quantum Communication demonstrations on WDM systems using Hollow-core fibres (Aiguide Collaboration fund project) 
Organisation University of Bristol
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Hollow-core transmission fibre offered for quantum communication demonstrations.
Collaborator Contribution Inclusion of novel fibre in quantum communication testbed and demonstration of communication system experiments based on this transmission fibre.
Impact Technical outputs anticipated.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Collaboration with CTU, Prague 
Organisation Czech Technical University in Prague
Department Faculty of Electrical Engineering
Country Czech Republic 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provided state-of-the art hollow core fibre samples, visiting the collaborating partner to teach them how to handle hollow core fibres, as well as help to manufacture components made of our hollow core fibre samples.
Collaborator Contribution Developed a new interconnection technique of standard and hollow core optical fibres. This technique showed record-low loss of such interconnection (0.15 dB). It was also modified to provide very low back-reflection level (below -60 dB) or high-reflection to make Fabry-Perot etalons with finesse over 100.
Impact Several conference papers and two journal paper (Photonics Technology Letters, Journal of Lightwave Technology). Two more journal manuscript under preparation.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration with DESY Synchrotron, Hamburg 
Organisation Deutsches Electronen-Synchrotron (DESY)
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Providing state-of-the-art hollow core fibre samples to test for precise (fs-level) timing distribution in large physics infrastructures. Visiting the partner and teaching them how to handle the hollow core fibre.
Collaborator Contribution Measuring timing jitter of signal distributed by our hollow core optical fibres using balanced optical cross-correlators (the most sensitive timing detectors in existence today).
Impact We are in process to patent the joint technology. Measurement of jitter with hollow-core fibre distribution has been compared to that of single-mode optical fibres. Currently under preparation for publication.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration with Focus Sensors, Ltd. 
Organisation Focus Sensors Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We provided samples of connectorized hollow core fibres, as well as information regarding coiling of the fibre.
Collaborator Contribution Tested our hollow core fibre samples in their sensor test bed and fed results back to us, enabling us to develop improved fibre connectorization.
Impact No specific outputs yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration with Fujikura Ltd on multicore doped optical fibres 
Organisation Fujikura
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The development of rare earth doped multicore fibres and associated beam combined fibre laser demonstrations.
Collaborator Contribution Supply of high concentration ytterbium doped preforms with excellent length homogeneity.
Impact High profile academic papers anticipated.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration with HUST, Wuhan, China (Visiting PhD student) 
Organisation Huazhong University of Science and Technology
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are hosting a 12-month visiting student Cong Zhang, which works with us on novel technique to interconnect hollow core and standard optical fibres
Collaborator Contribution Sent one of their last-year PhD student to work on Airguide Programme
Impact We have submitted one CLEO paper and are in preparation of JLT submission
Start Year 2021
 
Description Collaboration with Herio Watt University (Dr F Belli) on light sources using HCF technology (Airguide Collaboration Fund Project) 
Organisation Heriot-Watt University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Design and supply of bespoke hollow core fibres for laser applications
Collaborator Contribution Requirement specification, fibre test and laser system implementation using the novel fibres provided.
Impact Technical publications anticipated.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Collaboration with Heriot-Watt University (Dr Ross Donaldson) on quantum communications using Hollow Core Fibres (Aiguide Collaboration fund project) 
Organisation Heriot-Watt University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Supply of UV-guiding Hollow Core Fibre (HCF) for quantum communication applications
Collaborator Contribution Quantum communication experiments using the novel fibres supplied. Demonstration of the performance benefits offered by the new technology.
Impact Technical publications anticipated.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Collaboration with Heriot-Watt University (Professor Derryck Reid) on remote gas sensing using Hollow Core Fibres (Aiguide Collaboration fund project) 
Organisation Heriot-Watt University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Supply of mid-IR Hollow Core Fibre (HCF) for gas sensing applications. Training on cleaving and launching light into HCF
Collaborator Contribution Gas sensing measurements in HCF. Analysis of propagation losses and gas content in fibres.
Impact Submission of a technical paper to the CLEO 2020 conference. Further technical outputs anticipated.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration with LIG NEX1 on doped fibre characterisation 
Organisation LIG Nex1
Country Korea, Republic of 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Characterisation of doped fibre samples
Collaborator Contribution Consultancy with University/lead researcher.
Impact Confidential reports produced and provided to LIG Nex1
Start Year 2018
 
Description Collaboration with Laval University, Quebec City, Canada 
Organisation University of Laval
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provide samples of state-of-the-art hollow core fibres, teaching how to interconnect them and how to handle them, including precise spooling.
Collaborator Contribution Characterize back-reflection from NANF-type of hollow core fibres (published in Optica in Feb 2021), measuring thermo-conductive noise of hollow core fibres (journal manuscript under preparation)..
Impact Measurement of back-reflection from NANF-type hollow core fibres (published in Optica). Measurement of the lowest-ever measured thermo-conductive noise in optical fibres (manuscript under preparation).
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration with Nanyang Technical University (Singapore) on fibre fabrication 
Organisation Nanyang Technological University
Country Singapore 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Laser and amplifier development work - in particular thulium doped fibre amplifier and laser studies, testing of large mode area ytterbium doped fibres and associated laser development, hollow core fibre studies.
Collaborator Contribution Fabrication of various bespoke fibres including thulium doped fibres of varying designs and compositions, large mode area high concentration ytterbium doped fibres and various hollow core fibres. Provision of two visiting PhD students ( two x 2 years stay at Southampton).
Impact Various high profile papers as listed in the individual supporting grants
Start Year 2014
 
Description Collaboration with National Physical Laboratory 
Organisation National Physical Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have provided expertise knowledge on properties of coatings of optical fibres, relevant to both, standard and hollow core optical fibres to be used for interferometric metrology
Collaborator Contribution Provided expertise as how to stabilize interferometers at uK temperature level to stabilize lasers.
Impact No outputs yet
Start Year 2013
 
Description Collaboration with Shanghai University (visiting PhD student) 
Organisation Shanghai University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Research on components for space division multiplexing - access to novel fibres and fibre characterisation laboratories
Collaborator Contribution 1 year visit of CSC funded PhD student (Yaping Liu)
Impact Several high profile technical papers anticipated.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration with Tianjin University (visiting PhD student) 
Organisation Tianjin University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Support of research on spatial mode shaped fibre lasers..
Collaborator Contribution CSC funded visiting studentship for 1 year (Teng Wang)
Impact Technical papers anticipated.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration with UCL 
Organisation University College London
Department Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Providing state-of-the-art hollow core fibre samples, visiting the partner for joint experiments.
Collaborator Contribution Implementing hollow core fibres in their test-bed to demonstrate synchronous packet-switched optical networks, relevant for data centre traffic.
Impact We have published several conference papers, including top-scored presentation at ECOC2019. We have published a journal paper (Journal of Lightwave Technology). We have submitted a joint, follow-up EPSRC grant proposal (LoLCo).
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration with University of Bath on tapered fibres 
Organisation University of Bath
Department Department of Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The development of tapered few mode fibre devices based on logarithmic fibres
Collaborator Contribution Supply of a sample of fibre with a logarithmic refractive index profile.
Impact Two high profile publications.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration with University of Cambridge (Dr Marlous Camp) on nano-optic applications using Hollow Core Fibres (Aiguide Collaboration fund project) 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Supply of hollow-core fibres that meet the design specifications for experiments at the collaborator's experimental systems.
Collaborator Contribution Fibre specification; design and implementation of experiments.
Impact Technical outputs anticipated.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Collaboration with University of Cambridge (Dr Tijmen Euser) on spatially resolved sensing using Hollow Core Fibres (Aiguide Collaboration fund project) 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Supply of hollow-core fibres supporting high-order modes for sensing experiments at Cambridge Univ.
Collaborator Contribution Specification of fibres required; characterisation and testing of fibres; application in spatially-resolved sensing systems.
Impact Technical outputs anticipated.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Collaboration with University of Enschede 
Organisation University of Twente
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We analysed impact of thermal sensitivity of optical fibres to RF photonics and demonstrated it on an RF photonics filter made of hollow core fibre. This has been published in JLT. We are further collaborating on RF photonics link made of hollow core fibre, preparing a manuscript for a journal publication
Collaborator Contribution Provided expertise in RF photonics, being the world-recognized leader in this field.
Impact We are in preparation of a journal publication (to be submitted to Journal of Lightwave Technology).
Start Year 2018
 
Description Collaboration with University of West Attica 
Organisation University of West Attica
Country Greece 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Experimental implementation of machine learning concepts at 1300nm.
Collaborator Contribution Development of machine learning algorithms for application in 1300-nm transmission systems.
Impact Work currently in progress.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Collaboration with the Department of Chemistry (University of Southampton - Dr Russell Minns) in the area of Frequency Upconversion using Hollow Core Fibre Sources for Ultrafast Chemistry and Microscopy (Airguide Collaboration Fund Project) 
Organisation University of Southampton
Department Chemistry
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Design and supply of bespoke hollow core fibres for ultrafast frequency up-conversion of light
Collaborator Contribution Nonlinear light generation experiments using ultrafast lasers + proof of principle application experiments.
Impact Multidisciplinary research (photonics + chemistry) Ongoing work with technical publications anticipated.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration with the Institute for Life Sciences (University of Southampton - Prof. Sumeet Mahajan)) in the area of endoscopy using hollow core fibres (Airguide Collaboration Fund Project) 
Organisation University of Southampton
Department Institute for Life Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Design and supply of bespoke hollow core fibres for endoscopic applications
Collaborator Contribution Requirement specification, fibre test and imaging trials using the novel fibres developed.
Impact Collaboration is multidisciplinary (photonics + medicine/biology) Technical publications anticipated.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Component development with Phoenix Photonics 
Organisation Phoenix Photonics Ltd.
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The development of various components for commercialisation by Phoenix Photonics Ltd
Collaborator Contribution Assistance with packaging and device design. Consultancy arrangement with key team team member.
Impact Various joint papers between research team and company. Various new products developed for Phoenix Photonics.
Start Year 2014
 
Description HiLase research Facility, Institute of Physics, Czech Academy of Sciences 
Organisation HiLASE Centre of the Institute of Physics AS CR
Country Czech Republic 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provided hollow core fibre sample for beam delivery of coherently-combined laser beam at 1550 nm. These are tests to develop next-generation systems for Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) Beamline EU facility. Mutual visits to discuss opportunities. Memorandum of Understanding signed between the University of Southampton and the Institute of Physics.
Collaborator Contribution Expertise into needs of ELI infrastructure technology and its next-generation upgrade
Impact No outputs yet.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Quantum technologies at 2 microns wavelength 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Supply of fibre sample
Collaborator Contribution Quantum experiments (ongoing)
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2021
 
Company Name LUMENISITY LIMITED 
Description Lumenisity Limited was formed in 2016 and received first funding in early 2017 an is a spin-out from the University of Southampton looking to commercialise breakthroughs in the development of hollowcore optical fibre. The company have built a team of industry leaders and experts to realise the goal of becoming the world's premier high-performance hollowcore fibre optic cable solutions provider, offering their customers reliable, deployable, low latency and high bandwidth connections that unlock new capabilities in communication networks. Lumenisity is well funded by a consortium of industrial and private investors. The company recently relocated its headquarters to Romsey, UK after a substantial investment was made in developing a manufacturing and testing facility. 
Year Established 2016 
Impact Lumenisity provides ground-breaking fibre optic cable solutions for advanced communication and network applications. As the light propagates in air, their hollowcore fibre based optical cable allows the data to travel 50% faster than in traditional solid core fibre which results in a 30% reduction in latency between nodes, data centres or exchanges. With 1000x reduction in power induced non-linear effects and broad spectral bandwidth, NANF® based hollowcore cable can carry more WDM channels and hence higher capacity per strand. It offers the promise of extended reach compared to conventional solid silica-based fibre optic cables, with virtually no limits on the launch power and the large channel count capability due to the almost non-existent nonlinearity. Lumenisity's CoreSmart® and Hollowcore TradeSmart® NANF cable solutions offer significant advantages over conventional fibre optic cable, unlocking new levels of performance in critical parts of existing and next generation communication networks. Their products are of particular interest in: * Financial trading applications where low latency cross connects between data centres and exchanges is critical to complement and enhance the optimised wireless networks. Metro distances are also now possible with Lumenisity's CoreSmart solutions. * Webscale and data centre architecture where Lumenisity's CoreSmart NANF cable solutions provide increased data capacity per fibre and a 30% reduction in latency between data centres. Applications include cross campus interconnect and the flexibility to increase the separation of critical data centres in the core network (2x geographic coverage). This is done while maintaining the latency envelope required for synchronous backup and disaster recovery between data centres. * 5G mobile networks for extending the separation of Remote Radio Units (RRU) and Base Band Units (BBU) within the network, whilst maintaining a low latency envelope enabling consolidation of key equipment shared between multiple radio masts.
Website https://lumenisity.com/
 
Description 2020/21 Partner Update - Brochure format due to COVID stopping us from meeting in person 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The following email was sent from PI, Professor David Richardson to project partners from industry (Feb '22) with a brochure including technical project updates from all work packages.

*********************************************************************************

Dear Partners

We have missed getting together with you in person in 2020/21 to share research results in the usual way - unfortunately COVID 19 has made that impossible.

We have plans to convene later in the year and very much look forwards to seeing you there.

In the meantime, we've prepared a brochure to update you, our partners, on the progress of hollow-core fibre research at the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton. The technical reports cover research in each of the work packages within the Airguide Photonics programme as well as within the complementary sister programme Lightpipe.

We have continued to establish many world records for HCF and optical amplifier performance and have provided a range of application demonstrators, most notably in the area of telecommunications and laser technology.

As we look to the future, we aim to work with you to ensure that the UK maintains a world-leading position both in the technology itself and in the many new applications and services that it will support.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to discuss ideas for collaboration. There are contact details of the relevant academic leads within each of the technical sections of the report.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Airguide Photonics announces research projects that place UK at the forefront of a new era in fibre optics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The multimillion-pound Airguide Photonics programme, led within the University of Southampton's Zepler Institute, is funding five ambitious research projects that will help unleash the next generation of hollow-core fibre technology.

The Airguide Photonics Collaboration Fund is investing in some of the UK's leading fibre optics researchers to make further strides in its research challenge and identify new real-world applications.

Currently, the performance of fibre optics technology is limited in many instances due to the fact that the light is confined to a solid glass core, which places fundamental restrictions on the power and wavelength range over which signals can be transmitted, the speed at which signals propagate, and its sensitivity to the external environment.

Airguide Photonics, hosted at the Zepler Institute's Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), is an EPSRC-funded Programme Grant unlocking the vastly superior but still largely unexplored potential of hollow-core fibres.

The £6m programme is exploring the performance limits of these fibres, creating innovative means of manufacturing preforms, establishing ways to reliably interconnect to conventional fibres and devices and developing application-specific fibres while engaging with academic and industrial partners worldwide.

Professor David Richardson, Deputy Director of the ZI and Airguide Principal Investigator, says: "As hollow-core fibre technology matures the Collaboration Fund is proving an incredibly effective mechanism to empower the next generation of leaders to uncover new areas of application.

"The Fund has already opened up a raft of new, unexpected opportunities that integrate well with other key areas of UK research expertise and investment and is already generating publications and additional research grant income - including a recent Prosperity Partnership grant that places Southampton at the heart of innovative drug development."

The latest Fund has awarded grants to the following five projects and the Airguide team is excited by the prospects of working with these new collaborators on these new topics:

Federico Belli, Heriot Watt University: Advanced hollow-core fibre based light sources for science and technology. Short and powerful flashes of light - lasting only one millionth of a billionth of a second - will be combined with the unique guiding properties of hollow-core fibres. The research will determine the upper limits of the light intensity that can be delivered on target, before exploring different frequency conversion schemes. The research marks a first step toward a new generation of compact, robust, and bright lasers sources.

Ross Donaldson, Heriot Watt University: Airguide Quantum Communications. This research project will investigate the feasibility of using hollow-core optical fibre for quantum communications at visible and near-infrared wavelengths. An in-lab experimental demonstration with a low-loss hollow-core fibre will be also be performed to verify the simulations.

George Kanellos, University of Bristol: Hollow-core fibre for quantum secured short optical WDM links. Quantum communications rely on single photon transmission that makes it extremely difficult to manipulate with conventional fibres. The aim of this project is to offer a proof-of-concept demonstration that hollow-core fibres may be a better medium than classical single-mode fibres for quantum communications applications.

Tijmen Euser, University of Cambridge: Spatially-resolved sensing using higher-order modes in optofluidic fibres. The channel running along their centre of hollow-core fibres can hold tiny amounts of chemical reagents. Guiding light down these fibres creates highly efficient optofluidic 'microflow reactors' with applications including photocatalysts for solar fuel generation and production of pharmaceuticals. This project will apply novel holographic wavefront shaping techniques to enable a better understanding of surface adhesion and molecular transport in these microreactors.

Marlous Kamp, University of Cambridge: Cascaded Nano-Optics in Hollow-Core Fibres. This project will generate new insights into the interaction of light with plasmonic nano-assemblies inside optical fibres. The work is expected to improve remote SERS-sensing which can then be implemented in several existing techniques. The project has the potential to improve efficiencies of nano-optical applications and may lead to further miniaturisation of micron-scale optics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://airguide.soton.ac.uk/news/7025
 
Description Airguide phd event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Airguide PhD event in November 2018. Promoted to specific third and final year undergraduate students studying physics, maths, engineering and computer science at the University of Southampton. 11 of our target audience attended.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Airguide website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact airguide website news pages
1,789 unique visits, 28% bounce rate
Most popular pages /news /research /phd
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://www.airguide.soton.ac.uk/
 
Description BBC Radio Solent - Dr Natalie Wheeler, Interview on Women in Engineering Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact On International Women in Engineering Day in June 2020, early career researcher Dr Natalie Wheeler, spoke to BBC Radio Solent about her research into next generation of optical fibres. Radio Solent has a weekly audience of 205,000 listeners in Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Covid activity - Photonics researcher and Southampton makerspace 3D printing thousands of COVID-19 face shields 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Patients, carers and/or patient groups
Results and Impact A postdoctoral researcher from the Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics is helping produce thousands of face shields for health and care workers in Hampshire through a growing community-based makerspace.

The So Make It non-profit group is 3D printing over 400 face shields a day and has supplied over 3,000 items to Southampton General Hospital, the Royal South Hants Hospital and local care homes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://airguide.soton.ac.uk/news/6691
 
Description Early Career Researcher Networking Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Interactive, online space brought X early career researchers and PhD students together.
Virtual networking
Poster presentations
Competition for ECRs to have research poster produced by a professional illustrator
More interactive than Teams or Zoom
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Edinburgh Fringe appearance 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact - Edinburgh Fringe - Airguide sponsored Dr Matthew Partridge's two stand-up performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, in August 2018, titled 'Fibre optics can save the World!'. 250 Airguide-branded fliers were distributed and 50-60 people attended the two shows. Matthew was also interviewed twice by BBC Radio Solent Breakfast Show. Around 10,000+ social media impressions were created.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Festival of Doctoral Research Showcase, Sugar Fibre Drawing Tower 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Sugar Fibre Drawing Tower
During the Doctoral Research Showcase, a live demonstration was given of how optical fibre is made and works but using sugar!
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Greek National Radio Network ERT - An interview with Professor Periklis Petropoulos on the possibilities a new generation of optical fibres 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Greek National Radio Network ERT
An interview with Professor Periklis Petropoulos on the possibilities a new generation of optical fibres will bring.
Boosted on social media channels LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Had exhibition stand at Materials Research Exchange 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Exhibition stand at Materials Research Exchange Exhibition in the London Business Design Centre over two days.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Hollow core optical fibre video 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Produced a 2 minute video tour of the optical fibre facilities including the lathes and fibre drawing towers with narration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xx0OsvDuTRA
 
Description Hollow-core fibre discovery wins Best Student Paper at Advanced Photonics Congress 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Postgraduate research student Shuichiro Rikimi from the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) has drawn praise at The Optical Society's Advanced Photonics Congress for identifying how post-fabrication treatment could extend the lifespan of hollow-core optical fibres.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://airguide.soton.ac.uk/news/6831
 
Description Industrial Demonstration of HCF at BT Centre 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited to demonstrate hollow core fibre to a conference organised by BT for both staff and industry on the future of telecommunications

This event was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. We are in discussions about when the rescheduled event will happen.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2021
 
Description Influencing the national technology agenda - A series of talks, presentations, pod casts and reports 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Bessemer Society Keynote: Building a resilient future for telecoms. Professor Sir David Payne.
IET & The House Magazine: Engineering a Better World podcast. What does Britain's 5G future look like? Professor Will Stewart.
Ofcom presentation and co-authored report: Emerging Technologies, Professor Will Stewart.
PLG: Horizons for Photonics Research: Workshop, report, 2 conference presentations at SPIE Photonex Conference. Natalie Wheeler.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description International Day of light event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact - International Day of Light event 'Fibre optics can save the World!'. This event was promoted across the whole University, particularly to undergraduate students. Over 40 of our target audience attended.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Involvement in a BBC 4 Documentary 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact - Hollow core fibres and an interview with Professor Francesco Poletti, featured on BBC4 documentary 'The Secret Story of Stuff', aired on 31st October 2018, with estimated viewing figures of up to 3M (part of a 12minute ORC focus)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bqjrpt
 
Description Online chats - I'm a scientist, stay at home 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Online chats inspiring school children to consider going into photonics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Outreach - A range of community outreach activities to widen participation in photonics in schools and science festivals 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Community outreach from in person to online
- Noel Turner Science Festival workshops
- Southampton Science and Engineering Festival goes virtual
- I'm a ScientistsStay at home, online chats
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Outreach - An audience with Professor Sir David Payne at Harrow 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Delivered an inspirational talk to 300 year 10 pupils at Harrow school which sparked fascinating ideas and discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Outreach - Christmas Lecture, How Fibres can save the world 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Christmas lecture, How fibres can save the world, University of Portsmouth,
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Outreach - IoP Light and Optical Fibres 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Speaker: Prof. David Richardson (U. Southampton)
The use of light to transmit data worldwide along optical fibres has revolutionised communications and made the world-wide-web truly worldwide. In the first part of the talk Professor Richardson FRS will survey the underlying physics and the earlier developments in the technology. He will then discuss recent developments, including those involving Southampton, and likely future developments in both transmission range and bandwidth.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://events.iop.org/light-and-optical-fibres
 
Description PhD Student Recruitment Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Airguide Student Recruitment Event, Highfield Campus, Dec 18
23 registered, 11 attended (48%)
Aero & Astro Engineering 3rd year UG
Mech Engineering 3rd year UG/Masters
Electronic Engineering 3rd year
MSc Photonics x 2
Physics x 3
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description PhD Student Recruitment Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact University Student Recruitment Event, May 19
34 registrations - 19 attendees (56%)
38% 2nd year UG students
Matthew Partridge opened with a relaxed and light-hearted presentation
Students asked relevant questions and there was a nice buzzy atmosphere
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Pint of Science, UNESCO International Day of Light 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Pint of Science, UNESCO International day of light,
Light in shining armour: moulding the flow of light inside hollow optical fibres
Francesco Poletti (Professor)
When we stream data from Alexa, or ask Google a question, data from our phone travels wirelessly through the air, and is transformed to an optical signal. It then flies through a hidden web of tiny glass pipes (optical fibres) to a remote datacentre hundreds of kilometres away and returns with the information... in the blink of an eye! Streams of invisible photons carry billions of thoughts, secrets and photos every day through a hyperhighway of optical fibres criss-crossing the Earth.
Here we will review this amazing light-guiding technology and the way researchers are trying to improve it
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://pintofscience.co.uk/event/day-of-light
 
Description Plenary and Invited talks at conferences - A range of in person and online as a result of COVID 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The team demonstrated leadership in the field, delivering a series of keynotes, plenaries, invited talks and presentations
- Keynotes / Plenaries: OFC, SPIE Photonics West, CRU Wire & Cable, ICIN
- Invited Talks: OSA Advanced Photonics Congress, SPIE Photonics Europe
- Post-Deadline Presentations: Hat trick at OFC
- Contributed Papers: CLEO, SOF
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Press - Southampton's finest invention and it's pioneer tech start-ups 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact National press coverage in The Telegraph
Southampton's finest invention and it's pioneer tech start-ups
The Daily Telegraph, feature in print and online, Mon 19th Aug '19

310,586 circulation (average per issue 2019)
460,000K visitors (average daily site visitors of telegraph.co.uk)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Press release - Air-guided fibre optic overcomes attenuation limits of conventional fibres 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact We produced a press release to mark the latest research of Professor Francesco Poletti, published in Nature Communications, that exhibited transmission losses comparable or lower than that achieved in standard solid glass fibres around technologically relevant wavelengths of 660, 850, and 1060 nanometres.

The release was circulated to the technical press and was picked up by the following media outlets:

https://www.theengineer.co.uk/optical-fibre-glass-fibres-hollow-core-fibres-orc-southampton-university/
https://www.photonics.com/Articles/Hollow-Core_Fibers_Outperform_Silica_Glass/a66448
https://www.osa-opn.org/home/newsroom/2020/december/lower_losses_with_air-filled_fiber/
https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/semiconductors/optoelectronics/new-hollow-core-optical-fiber-is-clearer-than-glass
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://airguide.soton.ac.uk/news/6851
 
Description Press release - Exceptional hollow-core fibre polarisation purity raises prospects for next generation scientific instruments 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press release to tie in with the news of Hollow-core fibre technology developed in the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics exhibits up to 1,000 times better polarisation purity than state-of-the-art solid core fibres.

The novel fibres' latest advances, published this week in Nature Photonics, have underlined the technology's potential for next generation optical interferometric systems and sensors.

Distributed to the technology press and picked up by the following media outlets:
https://optics.org/news/11/5/15
https://www.osa-opn.org/home/newsroom/2020/may/hollow_fiber_boosts_polarization_purity/
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-05/uos-hfr051220.php
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://airguide.soton.ac.uk/news/6695
 
Description Press release - International study reveals exceptional property of next generation optical fibres 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact International study reveals exceptional property of next generation optical fibres

Researchers from the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) and Université Laval, Canada, have successfully measured for the first time back-reflection in cutting-edge hollow-core fibres that is around 10,000 times lower than conventional optical fibres.

This discovery, published this week in The Optical Society's flagship Optica journal, highlights yet another optical property in which hollow-core fibres are capable of outperforming standard optical fibres.

A press release was distributed to the technical press to mark the publication's findings. The release was picked up and re-published by a number of media outlets:

https://scienmag.com/international-study-reveals-exceptional-property-of-next-generation-optical-fibers/

https://www.eletimes.com/international-study-reveals-exceptional-property-of-next-gen-optical-fibres

https://phys.org/news/2021-02-international-reveals-exceptional-property-optical.html

https://opticalconnectionsnews.com/2021/02/new-study-reveals-exceptional-property-of-next-gen-optical-fibres/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-NhM-rO0Io
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://airguide.soton.ac.uk/news/6913
 
Description Press release - Southampton spin-out boosts regional economy with a major investment for next generation hollow-core fibre optic cable solutions 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Fibre optic cable solutions spin-out, Lumenisity® Limited, has closed a major funding round from a consortium of investors to further commercialise world-leading research and build a new manufacturing and testing facility.

The Romsey UK based business, which was established from Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) in 2017, has secured a £5 million investment from BGF, the UK and Ireland's most active investor, and £2.5 million from Parkwalk, the most active investor in UK university spinouts alongside significant further funding from the company's existing industrial strategic investors.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://airguide.soton.ac.uk/news/6810
 
Description SOTSEF Goes Digital 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Be dazzled by the wonders of light with our fun workshop creating a spectroscope out of ordinary objects around the house!

About this event
Join Southampton scientists and students to find out how you can turn these everyday items into optical equipment and look at light in a variety of different ways.

All you will need is:

• a cardboard tube - like a Pringles tin, a kitchen roll or toilet roll

• craft knife or scissors

• tape

• a CD or DVD

• two light sources - such as bright sunlight, a tungsten light bulb or a fluorescent bulb

• a thick pen or marker

• a piece of paper

Your homemade spectroscope will allow you and your family to explore the spectrum of different light sources and see all kinds of rainbows.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description SPIE Photonex, Glasgow, Exhibition stand and two panel discussions with industry and academic - the photonics supply chain 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Facilitating dialogue: the UK photonics innovation chain

Leaders from industry and academia came together to discuss current photonics issues at Photonex and Vacuum Technologies, SPIE's annual exhibition and events programme which took place in Glasgow on 29-30 September 2021.

The Hub supported two panel discussions, inviting key members of the UK's innovation ecosystem and industry representatives to tackle the question: The UK Photonics Innovation Chain: What Can We Do Better?

Across the two sessions, panel members considered support for translational photonics research in the UK, bringing different perspectives on what is needed to convert world-class research and development into products in the global marketplace.

Both panels were chaired by John Lincoln, CEO of the UK Photonics Leadership Group. John introduced each session, setting the discussions within the context of the current UK photonics landscape and developments in wider innovation policy.

The discussions that followed - which are summarised below - were stimulating and robust, sparking dialogue and constructive debate about what works well, where there is room to do better, and gaps in the innovation chain. There were also contributions from the audience, including questions from two MPs.

Panel discussion I: The UK Innovation Ecosystem Panel
Panel members:

Professor Sir David Payne, University of Southampton
Dame Frances Saunders, The Royal Academy of Engineering
Andy Sellars, Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult Ltd
Simon Andrews, Fraunhofer UK Research Ltd
Kasia Balakier, Airbus Defence and Space and University College London.
The discussion opened with a question about barriers to fast-paced innovation; responses included the need for academia and industry to develop a greater understanding of each other's cultures, and more open discussions of industry requirements across the supply chain to give researchers a greater insight into what companies are seeking to achieve. The importance of getting the message out to companies about the potential of photonics was also highlighted.

The panel considered the model of companies embedding corporate labs within universities as a possible way forward to bring academic scientists and those implementing innovation in companies closer together. Suggestions of small things academia could do better included improved signposting to relevant academic knowledge and research facilities, and the embedding of the exchange of people across industry and academia.

Addressing the question of how the sector could achieve the Photonics Leadership Group's ambitious target of a £50bn UK photonics industry by 2035, the panel talked about reskilling, upskilling and attracting more people - including more women - into photonics, by positioning it as an exciting community in which to work. The need to link up clusters of excellence across the UK to create a critical mass, and to showcase UK industry strengths to drive more inward investment, was also discussed.

It was agreed that it was essential to work with educators, influencers and parents to generate more awareness of career opportunities in photonics, and to spread the message that photonics is the electronics of the 21st century.

Panel members contributed their thoughts on the tension between being part of a global market and attracting inward investment in UK, and the UK's desire for sovereign capability, noting the importance of focusing on and expanding the areas of strength in the UK.

The question of whether the photonics sector was ambitious enough in its support of solutions to address climate change was raised. Examples were given of the difference photonics could make, for example in the manufacture of lightweight materials for car production to reduce vehicle carbon emissions. Photonics has the potential to contribute in a diverse range of ways, and it was important to communicate this and continue the discourse.

Panel discussion II: Industry
Panel members:

Chris Dorman, Coherent Scotland Ltd
Una Marvet, Alter Technology UK
Shahida Imaine, Chromacity Ltd
Andrew Robertson, Bay Photonics Ltd
When asked what works well in UK photonics innovation, the industry panel commented on the strong pipeline of talent from universities. The value of getting smart people from academia shouldn't be underestimated and it was important to continue to engage with students from the age of 14 to take them through GCSEs, A levels and beyond.

Turning to the obstacles that hinder innovation, the panel noted that clear and balanced handling of IP can really smooth a technology's journey to productisation and the market, and suggested more support for capital investment via public funding. New technologies require significant investment in equipment and even large companies may not be able to take the risk of absorbing the cost. There was also call for greater recognition by the academic community that manufacturing is difficult - the process of product development doesn't end with research. It was also recognised that scientists need the freedom to explore because serendipity is a big part of innovation.

The panel also highlighted the danger of excessive focus on any single theme or topic of the moment highlighting how excessive focus in one area can distract resources, from people to capital, from high growth sectors with established market pull and more immediate return.

On the question of sovereign capability, the panel highlighted the need for understanding the global nature of the industry, the need for international co-operation and clear identification of where and how the UK must maintain capability.

Panel members' responses to the question 'How could government help?' included investing in skills and talent - from primary school level through to the development of leaders to drive companies forward through entrepreneurship programmes. There was support for more capital investment, and the broadening of access to publicly funded hubs and innovation centres. A need for 'big picture' interventions such as fiscal policies and tax credits, in addition to grants for SMEs, was identified, with coherent strategies to ensure infrastructure and systems were aligned with government goals. Promoting the sector's capabilities both at home and abroad, to being more positive about the UK's globally leading manufacturing capability in the sector, was also seen as important.

The role of photonics in accelerating progress towards climate goals was discussed, and it was noted that there was enormous potential for photonic integrated circuits to reduce energy demand in fields such as communications and photonics to provide major efficiency gains in manufacturing and agritech, and to improve solar power efficiency. Examples such as these highlighted that the impact of photonics on climate will be through its application.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Social Media activity 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact @ORC Tweets (1,668 followers, 548 following)
51.7K impressions
Top 2 tweets airguide

@orcTweets followers up to 1,860 as at 23/2/2021
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019,2020
URL http://twitter.com/orctweets
 
Description Social media campaign 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact - Social media campaign using #AirguidePhotonics generated some 25,000+ impressions and 500+ engagements
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Southampton optical technologies highlighted by Ofcom for communications of the future 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Ground-breaking advances in fibre optics and silicon photonics at the Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics (ZIPN) have been identified by Ofcom as shaping communications of the future.

The communications regulator's Technology Futures report spotlights key innovative and emerging technologies, before evaluating their potential to create a bright future for the UK's communications industry.

Within its exploration of fixed and optical technologies, the report highlights research within the University of Southampton where techniques "continue to improve at a rapid rate" and will have a "major impact in the medium to long term".

Southampton's Zepler Institute is home to the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), one of the world's leading institutes for photonics research.

The Ofcom report, which was co-authored by ORC visiting professor William Stewart, explores the merits of hollow-core fibre technology in surpassing current fibre limits.

The next-generation fibres have been pioneered in the Southampton-led LightPipe research programme and applied to novel application fields within the Airguide Photonics programme.

The report concludes: "This more radical approach to remove most of the glass in the fibre core could deliver lower loss than existing fibres, possibly within only a few years. This and other characteristics could have a big impact on undersea fibre cables, which carry most intercontinental traffic. And the lower and more stable latency could impact different types of applications."

The Ofcom analysis proceeds to explore the "very significant" developments in opto-electronic devices.

Recognising silicon's "capability to produce relatively low cost and compact devices and circuits", the publication reference's the ORC's recent demonstration of the first all-silicon optical transmitter at 100Gbps and beyond without the use of digital signal processing.

The optical modulator almost doubles the maximum data rate of current state-of-the-art devices, demonstrating the potential for low power low-cost all-silicon solutions that avoid complicating fabrication processes with new materials that are not CMOS compatible.

This and other transformative breakthroughs in silicon photonics were reported at Photonics West 2021 this spring in a special plenary event with Southampton's Professor Graham Reed.

Ofcom's Technology Futures report is supplemented by video contributions from 11 world-leading experts on emerging technologies, including Southampton's Professor David Richardson.

Professor Richardson, Deputy Director of the ZIPN, said: "Technologically, I think the greatest development will be towards seamless, higher-bandwidth, low-latency connectivity between electrical and optical systems, between machines and ultimately between machines and our own bodies."
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://airguide.soton.ac.uk/news/6932
 
Description Southampton spotlighted as a "leading light in photonics industry" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Decades of pioneering advances at the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) have been credited as inspiring the rise of the fast-growing photonics industry that underpin countless facets of modern life. The renowned research centre, based in Southampton's Zepler Institute, is described as having a "brilliant past and a very bright future" in a new case study published by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Placing Southampton at the epicentre of the national photonics industry, the EPSRC article says the ORC and its surrounding photonics cluster is "crucial to the UK's ability to punch above its weight in this here-and-now yet firmly future-focused sector". Since 1989, the ORC has generated a vibrant, closely knit cluster of spinouts and other local companies relentlessly turning pioneering science into commercial reality. These businesses are described as being "the vanguard of photonics innovation", fuelling the growth of the UK's £13.5 billion photonics industry. The ORC is described as a home to "world-shaping inventions, game-changing technologies, skills and facilities envied globally". Southampton has delivered technologies such as fibre optics which underpin the internet and fibre lasers used in eye surgery, and is pioneering next-generation technologies such as silicon photonics, which will revolutionise everything from data centres to driverless vehicles. "We have a fearless determination to innovate, experiment and question convention," says Professor Sir David Payne, Director of the Zepler Institute. "But this would have been unimaginable without EPSRC support, whose targeting and timing have been vital to our ability to create and seize opportunities."

Read the full feature on the EPSRC website.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://airguide.soton.ac.uk/news/7020
 
Description Spotlight student photography competition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Spotlight: Optics and Photonics Research Showcase
A showcase of images generated during the PhDs of Zepler Institute students for an image competition. Winning images can be found at the link supplied below
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mUgNW9AziKv6DjXqdxmq7juDkyqCi7v7/view?fbclid=IwAR25nOL_nSwMxEULMG0V...
 
Description Team Away Day - Staff Engagement 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact We took the first possible opportunity to bring the team together. It was great!

42 people met in person off campus to galvanise the team
Agenda designed to maximise networking and socialising opportunities
PhD students presented flash presentations and posters
Workshops actively participated in
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description The Future Looks Bright for HCF Technology press article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Future Looks Bright for HCF Technology,
Widespread industry coverage and social sharing of ECOC2019
Press release to announce ECOC post deadline, Sept '19
Optics.org news feature, 30,000 UVs per month
Photonics.com news feature, 250,000 UVs per month (cross-site)
Fibre Optics Online, media pack n/a
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Virtual facilities tour 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact We have leveraged the Future Photonics Hub investment into accessing facilities through virtual tours when in person visits are more difficult.

Interactive 3D virtual tours of the clean rooms and other optical fibre facilities have been produced, using Matterport.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=3co4yM4Muiv