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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P030181/1
Title: AirGuide Photonics
Principal Investigator: Petropoulos, Professor P
Other Investigators:
Poletti, Professor F Stewart, Professor W Sahu, Professor J
Slavik, Professor R Payne, Professor Sir DN
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Aston University Austin Optoelectronics Ltd BT
CERN Eblana Photonics Ltd EW Simulation Technology Ltd
Huawei Group Huber+Suhner (UK) Ltd II-VI Photonics (UK)
JET Propulsion Laboratory Lumentum Microsoft
National Physical Laboratory NPL OpTek Systems Phoenix
QinetiQ Toshiba TRUMPF Laser UK Ltd
UCL University of Bristol University of Cambridge
University of Liverpool University of Sheffield University of Surrey
Department: Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC)
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Programme Grants
Starts: 01 June 2017 Ends: 31 May 2024 Value (£): 6,160,545
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Eng. Dynamics & Tribology Manufacturing Machine & Plant
Optical Communications Optical Devices & Subsystems
Optoelect. Devices & Circuits
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Communications
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
21 Feb 2017 Programme Grant Interviews - 21 February 2017 (ICT) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Optical fibres lie at the heart of our increasingly technological society, for example: supporting the internet and mobile communications that we all now take for granted, saving lives through medical diagnosis and interventions using fibre-optic endoscopes, and enabling the mass production of a huge array of commercial products through fibre laser based materials processing.

However, current fibre optics technology has its limitations due largely to the fact that the light is confined to a solid glass core. This places fundamental restrictions on the power and wavelength range over which signals can be transmitted, the speed at which signals propagate, and in terms of sensitivity to the external environment. These limits are now starting to impose restrictions in many application areas. For example, in telecommunications, nonlinear interactions between wavelength channels limit the maximum overall data transmission capacity of current single mode fibres to ~100-200 Tbit/s (for amplified terrestrial systems). Moreover, nonlinear, thermal and material damage thresholds combine to limit the maximum peak and average powers that can be delivered in a tightly focusable beam. This restricts the range of potential uses, particularly in the important ultrashort pulse regime increasingly used for a wide variety of materials processing applications

These limitations can in principle be overcome by exploiting new light guidance mechanisms in fibres with a hollow core surrounded by a fine glass microstructure. Such fibres are generally referred to as Hollow Core Fibres (HCFs). Within this Programme we will seek to reinvent fibre optics technology and will replace the glass core with air or vacuum to produce Optical Fibres 2.0, offering vastly superior but largely unexplored potential. Our ultimate vision is that of a Connected World, where devices, machines, data centres and cities can be linked through these hollow light pipes for faster, cheaper, more resilient and secure communications. A Greener and Healthier World, where intense laser light can be channelled to produce goods and run combustion engines more efficiently and to image cancer tissues inside our bodies in real time. And an Explorative World, where hollow lightguides will enable scientific breakthroughs in attosecond science, particle physics, metrology and interplanetary exploration. Our overall ambition is therefore to revisit the way we think about light guidance and to develop a disruptive technology that challenges conventional thinking.

The programme will provide the UK with a world-leading position both in HCF technology itself and in the many new applications and services that it will support.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk