Showcasing leading photonics research on the national stage

Academics from The Future Photonics Hub showcased their leading research in photonics manufacturing at a recent premier UK photonics exhibition – SPIE Photonex and Vacuum Expo 2020 Digital Forum.

The annual forum brings together industry and academic experts from across the UK to share the latest innovations in photonics, and this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event went online for the very first time.

The Future Photonics Hub collaborated with SPIE to deliver an industry-focused forum entitled Advances in Resilient Photonics Manufacturing as well as a silicon-photonics symposium. The two organisations worked closely to transform the programmes from the planned in-person events to virtual sessions.

The forum gave participants the opportunity to discover the new processes and approaches in photonics manufacturing being developed by the Hub, its partners and collaborators, as well as highlighting where photonics platforms can be used to drive novel solutions to business challenges.

Hub Director, Professor Sir David Payne, introduced the session, saying: “The Hub is a joint venture between the universities of Southampton and Sheffield to further manufacturing in photonics on behalf of universities across the UK that focuses on the needs of industry. Our aim is also to raise the profile of photonics within the UK and provide national leadership in the future photonics field.

“In this forum we share examples of our work in undertaking and translating research that supports industry to develop the processes and materials for photonics manufacturing.”

The second event, the symposium, was hosted by the silicon photonics group at Photonex for the fourth consecutive year. Organised and chaired by Dr Callum Littlejohns, the speaker line up included world renowned silicon photonics expert Professor Roel Baets from Ghent University.

This year focussed on emerging applications beyond the traditional field of telecommunications with Dr Littlejohns saying, “The symposium brought together leading silicon photonics researchers from around the world with many exciting applications discussed.

“Of particular prevalence was the medical field, where it is becoming increasingly clear that silicon photonics will have a transformative effect in the coming years.”

Photonex also featured exhibitor product demos, live plenary presentations, on-demand technical talks, and networking with exhibiting companies and colleagues through online events.

A future manufacturing research hub