Dr James C Gates is a Principal Research Fellow in the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton. After completing a Master of Physics degree from the University of Southampton in 1999, he continued his studies at the ORC and in 2003 received a PhD in optoelectronics. After his PhD, he moved to the Department of Physics in Southampton and worked in the field of nanophotonics, before returning to the ORC in 2006. Since 2006 he has developed fabrication techniques for manufacturing photonic devices, principally glass-based integrated optics. These techniques have led to applications in a diverse range of areas including optical sensing and telecommunications. In the past 15 years, James has specialised in the fabrication of photonic devices for the field of Quantum Technology, with the key goal of reducing loss and enabling the scaling of quantum computing and quantum metrology.
James has filed over 4 patents, published over 90 peer-reviewed journal papers and authored over 250 conference papers.
James' primary research interest is the precision fabrication of photonic systems. Over the past twenty years, he has researched and developed several techniques which often employ the exquisite precision of the air bearing stage systems. These include UV laser inscription of integrated waveguides and Bragg gratings and ultra-precision dicing and milling of various photonic components.
A dominant research interest over the past decade has been the development of photonic devices as enabling components for quantum science and quantum technology (QT). James was a Co-I on two of previous EPSRC funded QT hubs developing photonics for atom control and photonic networks for quantum networks. He continues to work in these fields, typically collaborating with industry to develop the photonic components that enable QT. He is currently a Co-I on the EPSRC funding Quantum Computing and Simulation Hub (QCS) using ultra-precision machining techniques to develop quantum computing platforms.
James teaches many of the postgraduate skills courses, including technical writing and presentation skills. And is also an active member of Southampton University's outreach community.
External roles and responsibilities
Dr James C. Gates is a Principal Research Fellow at the University of Southampton. He has over 25 years of experience in photonic engineering, fabrication and material science and specialises in the fabrication of quantum technology and photonic systems. James has co-authored over 100 journal publications, 250 conference submissions and three patent families. He leads a team fabricating and developing integrated photonics, ultra-precision diamond machining and non-linear optical devices. This work mainly develops proprietary fabrication techniques, including flame hydrolysis glass deposition, air-bearing stabilised laser inscription, and ultra-precision milling. These techniques have led to applications in diverse areas, including drug production monitoring, telecommunications, aviation sensing and quantum computing.
Since 2016, James has been heavily involved in developing quantum technologies. Initially, this focussed on developing low-loss optical waveguide systems for photonic quantum computing. But over the past decade, this has expanded to Superconducting, Ion and Atom trap systems for quantum computing and sensing - concentrating on the fabrication and manufacturing challenges the quantum technology industry faces.
James led early investigations into ultraprecision machining of optical structures at the ORC that led to the establishment of a world-class suite of machining technologies for academic and commercial processing. James has been an investigator on over £100m of research grants, academic and industrial (both as PI and Co-I). He is the PI of the EPSRC-funded project UPROAR, a Co-I of the EPSRC Hub in Quantum Computing and Simulation and Innovate UK's QT ASSEMBLE. He was also previously Co-I (post-award) on two of the previous EPSRC QT Hubs.
- Research group award: Highly Commended (2017)