Optoelectronics Research Centre

RAE Score 2008: 3.20

Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC)

Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC)

One of the world’s leading research institutes in photonics and laser technology

The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) is one of the world’s leading research institutes in photonics and laser technology. Over the last 40 years we have made pioneering contributions to the field of photonics, which is the study of light and its application. Much of our research encompasses the generation, manipulation and detection of light at wavelengths extending from infra-red down to the x-ray regime.

Our activities range in scope from fundamental physics through to applications-led systems research. Within this broad remit, strong emphasis is given to optical materials and the development of new fabrication techniques and procedures. Applications based research within the ORC is diverse, encompassing the traditional domain of telecommunications but extending ever increasingly to new fields such as sensing, materials processing and healthcare.

The explosive growth in Internet usage has only been made possible by our revolutionary developments in the use of optical fibre technology. We invented the key underlying optical fibre technology which forms the backbone of the World Wide Web. It was our invention of the erbium doped fibre amplifier (EDFA), the world’s first practical optical amplifier, which enabled light to travel further and faster in fibre-optic cables and allows the Internet as it is today.

In the wake of the telecoms downturn, our researchers were quick to recognise that telecoms technologies can be applied in other markets, such as industrial processing, medicine, sensing, aerospace and defence. As a result, we undertook groundbreaking research on high power fibre lasers which are now being deployed 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 mark the date on fruit you buy in the supermarket.

The ORC currently comprises more than 120 Research staff (Academic Staff, Research Fellows and PhD Students) and operates 65 state-of-the-art laboratories making it one of the largest photonics research centres in the world. Our researchers publish more than 200 publications in major journals and give more than 50 invited presentations at major laser and photonics conferences annually.

Research Areas

Today the ORC is working on a stunning array of projects and fields, which are continually evolving as fresh discoveries lead us in new directions. There are around 20 research groups within the ORC. Visit www.southampton.ac.uk/orc for a full list.

The boundaries between these research groups are flexible, facilitating an ideal environment for successful internal collaboration, cross-fertilisation of ideas, and the building of teams with a full range of capabilities required to undertake interdisciplinary projects. Our research groups conduct research into the following areas:

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