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The future of photonics: sensors and quantum technologies

Conference

Location

Cardiff City Hall, Gorsedd Gardens Road, Cardiff CF10 3ND

Overview

Credit: DavidWiberg_iStock

This one-day international conference held by the Royal Society in Cardiff will bring together experts to explore recent developments in photonic technologies and the future opportunities and challenges that they present.

Photonic technologies have a wide range of recent and future applications including sensors, optical computers, next-generation lasers and LEDs, visible light communication (LiFi), water purification, quantum information processing and more.

Speakers will discuss the use of photonics from smart cities to satellites and explore the vast opportunities of photonic technologies for society and the economy. They will introduce current state-of-the-art technology and blue-sky applications in the broader context of regulation, policy and funding.

Photonics ties into many topics in the Government's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, from early disease detection, to commercialising quantum technologies, and manufacturing and future materials. This conference will highlight the importance of photonics to solve challenges in all of these sectors. 

Attending this event

This open event is free to attend and is intended for participants from a variety of backgrounds including academia, industry, government, as well as regulatory and other scientific bodies.

Contact the Industry team for more information.

About the conference series

This meeting forms part of the Royal Society's Transforming our Future series. The Transforming our Future meetings are unique, high-level events that address scientific and technical challenges of the next decade and bring together leading experts from wider scientific community, industry, government and charities.

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Event organisers

Select an organiser for more information

Schedule of talks

15 October

09:00-09:30

Registration

09:30-09:35

Welcoming remarks from the Royal Society

1 talk Show detail Hide detail

Dame Sue Ion FREng FRS, Chair of the Royal Society Science, Industry and Translation Committee

Show speakers

09:35-10:30

Photonics as a platform for a future economy

1 talk Show detail Hide detail

Chairs

Andy Sellars, Chief Business Development Officer, Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult, UK

Dr Chris Dorman OBE, Chair of the Photonics Leadership Group, Vice President of Coherent Scotland, UK Photonics Leadership Group

Abstract

The Photonics Industry in the UK goes from strength to strength, growing 8.4% in the last two years. Built upon the shoulders of the Physics community in the UK, the photonics sector maintains a relatively low profile given its £13.5 billion contribution to the UK economy and employment of over 69,000 people.

In this talk, an exploration of the Photonics Industry and the main markets will be followed by an exploration of "The Valley of Death" - the gap between invention and profit. Finally, there will be a deeper investigation of the ingredients necessary for industrialisation of photonics technology, the skills needed, and a roadmap for future success.

Show speakers

10:30-11:00

Coffee

11:00-13:00

Development and applications of photonic sources and sensors

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Chairs

Sir Colin Humphreys CBE FREng FRS, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Silicon core fibres for nonlinear photonics

Dr Anna Peacock, Professor of Photonics, Optoelectronics Research Centre, University of Southampton, UK

Abstract

The nascent field of silicon core fibres is attracting increased interest as a means to exploit the optoelectronic functionality of the semiconductor material directly within the fibre geometry. Compared to their planar counterparts, this new class of waveguide retains many of the advantageous properties of the fibre platforms such as flexibility, cylindrical symmetry, and long waveguide lengths. Furthermore, owing to the robust glass cladding it is also possible to employ standard fibre post-processing procedures to tailor the waveguide dimensions and reduce the optical losses over a broad wavelength range, of particular use for nonlinear applications. This talk will review progress in the development of nonlinear devices from the silicon optical fibre platform spanning the telecoms band up to the mid-infrared regime, where there is potential for application in areas such as medicine, imaging, sensing and spectroscopy.

Show speakers

Dr Andrew Nelson OBE FREng, President and CEO of IQE, UK

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Technological convergence between solid-state lighting, electronic displays and optical communications

Professor Martin Dawson, Institute of Photonics, University of Strathclyde, UK

Abstract

Solid state lighting based on gallium nitride is an energy-efficient semiconductor technology that interfaces very effectively to electronics. This is fostering advances from first-generation, so-called smart lighting towards what might be termed digital lighting, possessing sophisticated capabilities including combined illumination and optical wireless communications/LiFi functionality. In parallel, gallium nitride micro-LEDs are emerging rapidly as the basis of new forms of ultra-bright, fast response, high-resolution and scalable displays, displays that can potentially project their output and interact with their environment. The commonality of the underpinning materials and device technologies and their compatibility with electronics and solid-state photodetectors offers the exciting prospect of convergences between hitherto largely disparate lighting, display and optical wireless communications technologies. Here display and lighting systems may be to some degree interoperable and also offer various combinations of communications, sensing, tracking, ranging and imaging functions.

Show speakers

Professor Sheila Rowan, University of Glasgow, UK

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Dr Heba Bevan, CEO and Founder, UtterBerry, UK

Show speakers

13:00-13:45

Lunch

13:45-15:30

Photonics for quantum information processing

4 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chairs

Dr Peter Mountney, CEO Odin Vision, Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence at University College London

Professor Gerd Leuchs, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Germany

Show speakers

A global understanding of Quantum Technologies: risks and opportunities

Dr Araceli Venegas-Gomez, Founder and Director, QURECA, UK

Abstract

At the moment, there exists a big hype about quantum technologies in science and in the media. There is also a need to be realistic and identify opportunities and the main technologies that can transform society. Cutting edge science and revolutionary industry are essential, but there is a requirement to make all the connections to assist the community moving forward.

In this talk I will describe some of my efforts in promoting the public and business awareness of quantum technologies. My main focus is to bridge the gaps between academia and the general public as well as between academia and industry, acting as a key enabler on the advocacy side for quantum technologies, providing support to the the different stakeholders in the quantum community, and creating global opportunities with quantum technologies.

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Photonics enabling the commercialisation of quantum technologies

Dr Loyd McKnight, Senior Researcher, Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, UK

Abstract

Quantum technologies involve the manipulation of atoms, ions or photons and offer prospects for new types of precision sensor systems, secure communications or information processing. Many, if not most, quantum technologies rely heavily on photonics. Utilising photonics effectively in this context requires the distillation and rapid translation of often esoteric developments in research into robust and cost-effective prototypes and demonstrator systems which balance new performance and applications capabilities against market, manufacturing and supply chain issues. Innovation organisations such as Fraunhofer CAP are well placed to help address such issues, remaining close to university research whilst also helping to create challenge- and delivery-led R&D partnerships with a wide and varied range of industrial organisations. Drawing on the experience of Fraunhofer in the UK National Quantum Technology Programme, this talk will discuss lessons learned and highlight future challenges and opportunities in this area for the wider community.

Show speakers

Quantum technologies: the opportunities and challenges ahead

Dr Richard Murray, Business Development Manager - Quantum Technologies, Teledyne e2v, UK

Abstract

Quantum Technologies came onto the UK's radar back in late 2013 when a number of pioneering academic, government and industrial figures launched the UK national quantum technology programme. The first of its kind, news of the UK's efforts to industrialise these technologies swept the world and a number of copy-cat programmes ensued.

5 years on, and the Industrial race is on to deliver high-performance, commercially viable quantum products. The potential performance power will bring significant commercial, economic and societal rewards to the winners of this race, however, it's not a simple feat to get there. Overcoming the underpinning photonics challenges, such as robustness against noise and environment is central to delivering performance, and therefore success of quantum technologies.

In this talk, Richard will summarise the current status, opportunities and challenges of the emerging quantum technologies industry.

Show speakers

15:30-16:00

Coffee

16:00-17:30

Panel: new directions and applications of photonic technologies

5 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chairs

Professor Martin Dawson, Institute of Photonics, University of Strathclyde, UK

Professor Dave Rugg FREng, Senior Fellow, Rolls-Royce plc, UK

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Professor Sir David Payne CBE FREng FRS, University of Southampton, UK

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Professor Diana Huffaker, Scientific Director of the Institute for Compound Semiconductors, Sêr Cymru Chair in Advanced Engineering and Materials, School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University, UK

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Dr Andrew Nelson OBE FREng, President and CEO of IQE, UK

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Sir Peter Knight FRS, Imperial College London, UK

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17:30-17:35

Closing remarks

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Sir Peter Knight FRS, Imperial College London, UK

Show speakers

17:30-18:30

Drinks reception

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