Southampton plays host to Photonics Hyperhighway workshop


Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) played host to a workshop aimed at improving the joint working of the photonics and communications research communities across the UK. 

Delegates from the research communities gathered at the University of Southampton to explore ways of defining a strategy for better partnership working. The workshop was jointly organised by the Photonic Systems Outreach Network (UNISON), the COMMNET Network and the Photonics Hyperhighway (PHH) programme. 

It was part of the work by UNISON to raise the profile of photonics expertise and know-how for the benefit of a broader community including policy and decision makers, as well as researchers in other disciplines, and potential new industrial partners. 

The University of Southampton is a major partner in the £7.2 million PHH project that could revolutionise the internet. 

The project is led by the University’s Professor David Payne, Director of the ORC, and brings together world-leading scientists from the University of Southampton, the University of Essex, and industry partners including BBC Research and Development, Fianium and Oclaro, to pioneer new technologies capable of making broadband internet 100 times faster. 

The six-year project is funded by the EPSRC and is looking at the way fibre optics are used, and developing new materials and devices to increase internet bandwidth to ensure that the web can cope with the rising popularity of broadband and the increasing demand for internet television and music downloads. 

“Our second workshop was a great success. Nearly 30 delegates from across the photonics and communications research communities attended and shared their ideas for improving the way we can all work together to help significantly improve the internet,” said workshop organiser Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, from the University of Essex. 

“Delegates discussed the big challenges in their respective fields of study and how they could foster closer collaboration between photonics and communications. They also agreed that there should be a consultation on the type of collaborative systems testbed facility that would benfit the two communities,” added Dimitra. 

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