The University of Southampton

World-leading researcher to give first Faculty Distinguished Lecture

Published: 19 January 2011

The first Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences Distinguished Lecture will be given on Monday 24 January by Professor David Payne, Director of the University’s Optoelectronics Research Centre.

Professor David Payne, CBE, FRS, FREng, is one of the world’s leading researchers in photonics and fibre lasers. Over the last 35 years his research has established Southampton as a global force in optical fibre communications and laser technology and he has won a string of awards recognizing his research breakthroughs which have transformed the world’s telecommunications. In this lecture, entitled ‘Photonics: The Century of Light’, he considers the continuing huge potential of optical fibres and the future opportunities this represents for the University’s new Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences.

The lecture will be chaired by Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Dean of the Faculty, and takes place at 5 pm, in the Main Lecture Theatre of Building 32. Refreshments will be available before the lecture from 4.30 pm in the B32 Foyer, and there will be a wine reception afterwards in the B32 coffee room (level 4). All are welcome and no tickets are required.

Lecture Abstract: Powering the optical fibre internet with its huge global reach, photonics has changed our lives. Optical fibres snake across continents and oceans carrying terabits per second of data in a vast information network that brings untold human connectivity. How did this happen and is that the end of it? Capacity demand continues to grow at a startling rate, doubling every two years, while the internet is estimated as burning 4% of world energy usage. The optical internet is reaching its capacity limits. The solution to these consequences of unbridled demand is more photonics, reaching further into the network with optics to overcome the existing bottlenecks and employing next-generation optical components. The great success of optical fibres and planar circuits in telecommunications has generated numerous applications in a number of related fields, such as sensing, bio- and nano-photonics and high-power lasers. Incredibly, the same fibres that carry tiny internet signals can also generate kilowatts of power, sufficient to cut through inch-thick steel. Southampton has an enviable track record of innovation in ICT and photonics. Building new technologies and applications through harnessing the properties of new optical materials, devices and structures is a huge opportunity for our new Faculty.

For further information contact Joyce Lewis; tel.023 8059 5453.

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