W. Sibbett, C.T.A. Brown, A. Miller, I.D.W. Samuel, T.F. Krauss
The Ultrafast Photonics Collaboration (UPC) is a £12.5 Million Interdisciplinary
Research Collaboration (IRC) recently funded by the EPSRC and industry to enhance the
technologies necessary to enhance future developments in data communications (datacomms).
The UPC is a collaboration between five British Universities (St Andrews, Heriot-Watt,
Bristol, Glasgow and Imperial College) and seven companies (Nortel Networks, Marconi
Caswell, Agilent Technologies, Kymata, JDS Uniphase, Sharp and Vitesse) led by St Andrews
University. We are working together to produce the quantum leaps required to
ensure the continued success of the Internet and other distributed communications systems.
At St Andrews, the work carried out can be divided into four main areas:
- The development of novel ultrashort pulse laser sources suitable for datacomms (W.
Sibbett, C.T.A. Brown). Investigating a range of materials and laser cavity designs to
produce laser sources that give very short pulses (10s fs) delivered at high
repetition rates (10s GHz) in ultra-compact geometries with low input power
- All-optical switching, semiconductor optical amplifiers and spintronics (A. Miller).
Semiconductors are currently used in many optoelectronics systems. By manipulating some of
the structural and electronic the properties of these materials, it is possible to obtain
devices with uses as diverse as broad bandwidth amplifiers and very high speed all optical
switches. We are investigating the role that new semiconductor structures could play in
- Novel semiconducting organic materials for datacomms. (I.D.W. Samuel). Organic materials
may offer a route to cheap, broad bandwidth gain materials suitable for datacomms.
Investigations being undertaken include pulse propagation studies and the creation of
photonic microstructures in these materials.
- Photonic band gap structures. (T.F. Krauss). The role of photonic crystals within UPC is
to provide spatial and spectral dispersion control, e.g. to separate different wavelength
channels and thereby act as "prisms" in multi-wavelength systems, or to compress
or dilate pulses via group velocity engineering.
optical, polymers, photonic band gap structures and integrated optical devices the
enabling technologies for high-speed datacomms.
We are also working closely with Professor Neville Richardson (School of Chemistry) in
the investigation of the opportunities that may be available from the interactions between
the surfaces of different materials for the development of ultrafast-optical components.