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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/D058074/1
Title: Photonic Crystal Fibres: Foundation for Novel Science and new Applications
Principal Investigator: Birks, Professor TA
Other Investigators:
Benabid, Professor AF Wadsworth, Professor WJ Skryabin, Professor D
Knight, Professor J Maier, Professor SA Bird, Professor D
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Max Planck Institutes (Grouped)
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Bath
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 November 2005 Ends: 30 September 2007 Value (£): 834,304
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Processing Optical Communications
Optical Devices & Subsystems Optical Phenomena
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Developed in the 1990s by several co-applicants to this proposal, photonic crystal fibre (PCF) consists of a hair-thin strand of glass with a regular array (a photonic crystal ) of nano/micro-scopic air channels running along its entire length. These channels, and the narrow glass structures between them, can range in dimensions from a few tens of nm up to several tens of microns and interact strongly with light travelling along the fibre axis. It becomes possible to design and make optical fibres with seemingly impossible performance, a situation that is revolutionising the usefulness of fibre optics in many areas of photonics. Perhaps the most remarkable example is a PCF with a hollow core. In conventional fibre it is impossible to guide light in a hollow core because total internal reflection (the mechanism by which standard fibres guide light) cannot operate if the core refractive index is lower than the cladding. Hollow core PCF is the most successful example of the use of a two-dimensional photonic band gap (a concept first proposed in the late 1980s) to guide light; the latest attenuation losses are such that light at 1550 nm wavelength can travel 2 km before losing half its power. The narrow bore and effectively infinite interaction length in hollow core PCF improves up to a million times the performance of many gas-based nonlinear optical devices used for measuring, amplifying and changing the wavelength of laser light. The absence of beam diffraction and spatial instabilities seen in conventional gas cells, combined with controllable dispersion and a gas-dependent nonlinear response, constitutes a major opportunity for new physics and applications. The remarkably high performance offered by PCF means that a wide range of exciting new scientific and technical opportunities exist for new applications spanning many areas of photonics. The range and richness of the resulting science, some of it entirely new, is breathtaking. We propose to build on our internationally leading position as the founders and pioneers of this new field by exploring its applications in a range of highly topical and timely sub-areas, in continuing collaboration with groups in the UK and abroad. As a foundation for this, we therefore request funding for a highly collaborative programme of research in three inter-related areas. Highlights of our proposed research plan include the development of new techniques for making short lengths of PCF from small-scale preforms; fabrication of fibres from new combinations of materials; routine interfacing of PCF with standard optical fibres, the development of gas-filled hollow core PCF for wavelength conversion of laser light (devices which could be coiled up on a credit card), the development of supercontinuum laser sources, the generation of entangled pairs of correlated photons for studies of quantum optics (described by Einstein as spooky action at a distance ), the delivery of high-power ultrashort pulses of light along long lengths of fibre, and the design of two-dimensional arrays of metallic nanowires for trapping and manipulating light and matter. The project will be supported by extensive numerical modelling and theoretical analysis, allowing detailed design of the linear and nonlinear optical properties of PCF. At the end of the project we expect to have built up a substantial portfolio of new results and to have stimulated research and development in several new areas of photonics, some of these leading to scientific breakthroughs in partnership with our many UK and international collaborators, others to commercial exploitation through collaborating companies.
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Organisation Website: http://www.bath.ac.uk