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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/R40272/01
Title: EMbedded Photonic InfrastructuRE (EMPIRE)
Principal Investigator: Bennion, Professor I
Other Investigators:
Zhang, Professor L
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Engineering and Applied Science
Organisation: Aston University
Scheme: LINK
Starts: 01 September 2001 Ends: 31 August 2004 Value (£): 194,302
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Optical Devices & Subsystems
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Communications Electronics
Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The project will establish for the first time, an engineering capability for the embedment of optical fibre connections within structural materials. Unlike previous solutions that were largely laboratory based, this programme will encompass the realistic manufacturing and end user constraints imposed by current, industrial composite manufacturing practices. High performance, carbon composite materials will be targeted by BAES and F1 automotive (through DL) as the principal host material for embedded optical fibres. The aim will be to develop optical fibre interconnections using a range of techniques drawing on DL's fibre-optic connector experience and the combined capabilities of OFOT and Aston for designing and fabricating intrinsic fibre and surface relief diffractive structures (capable of out-coupling light and spectral filtering). This programme thus draws together the UK's largest engineering company with an international supplier of fibre-optic connectors and a newly established supplier of optical tools and in-fibre components, plus the foremost academic group in the development of fibre gating devices.Ideally, fibres for sensors or communications applications will be buried in structures complete with non-intrusive, customised terminations based on adapted micro-optic components and novel, intrinsic diffractive structures. Post manufacture processes (involving machining) will then recover a connection path by bonding-in connector components. Alternatively, fully connectorized fibres can be embedded with limited post manufacture processing. This would entail new approaches to tooling, layout of the structure and connector design. These two approaches fall into speculative (high risk, high pay-off) and developmental (more easily attainable but less widely applicable) categories, respectively. Manufacturing and end user constraints will be defined and development tasks will be performed on a number of prioritised approaches aligned with the alternatives described above. Validation by a series of manufacturing trials and performance testing will follow leading to at least one recommended connection scheme and embedment process at the conclusion of the project.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.aston.ac.uk