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Optica British and Irish Conference on Optics and Photonics

Keynote Speakers

Simon AndrewsFraunhofer UK Research Ltd, UK
Title: Quantum Technologies - Lab to Market
Simon leads Fraunhofer UK Research Ltd and supports Fraunhofer Centre Applied Photonics, based at the University of Strathclyde, in Glasgow.  This first UK Fraunhofer centre follows the proven German model of providing professional R&D services to industry, whilst staying connected to excellent research in the university sector. Fraunhofer CAP is succeeding in its mission to help the UK economy by providing high quality applied R&D in lasers, optical and quantum systems, for industry, with around 80 staff and students accelerating innovations for many sectors including lifescience, environmental monitoring, LIDAR and quantum sensing and communications. Simon is a physicist and engineer who spent many years in the photonics and medical device industries, often taking innovation from concept to market.  His love of excellent science, international collaboration and practical innovation have driven his efforts on both sides, and in the middle, of the technical and commercial ‘valley of death’. 


Wim Bogaerts, Ghent University-IMEC, Photonics Research Group, Belgium
Title: Programmable Photonics
Wim Bogaerts is a professor in the Photonics Research Group at Ghent University and the IMEC nanotechnology research center in Belgium. He completed his PhD in 2004, pioneering the use of industrial CMOS fabrication tools to build photonic circuits. Between 2000 and 2010, he was the driver behind the buildup of IMEC’s silicon photonics technology. In parallel, he started developing design automation tools to implement complex silicon photonic circuits. In 2014, he co-founded Luceda Photonics, bringing the design tool IPKISS to the market. Since 2016 he is back full-time at Ghent University and IMEC on research grant of the European Research Council, focusing on the challenges for large-scale photonic circuits and the new field of programmable photonics. He is an IEEE and Optica Fellow, and senior member of  SPIE.


Harald Haas, University of Strathclyde, UK
Title: Recent Advances in Light-Based Wireless Networking
Professor Harald Haas received his PhD degree from The University of Edinburgh in 2001. He is a Distinguished Professor of Mobile Communications at the University of Strathclyde/Glasgow and the Director of the LiFi Research and Development Centre (LRDC). Prof Haas initiated and co-founded pureLiFi Ltd. and currently holds the position of Chief Scientific Officer (CSO).  Professor Haas will be the Van Eck Professor of Engineering at the University of Cambridge from 1 April 2024. He leads one of three new Telecoms Hubs on ‘Network of Networks’ in the UK, TITAN, which is a consortium of 16 universities. He has been listed as highly cited researcher by Clarivate/Web of Science since 2017. Prof. Haas has delivered two TED talks and one TEDx talk which have been watched online more than 5.5 million times. In 2016, he was the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award from the International Solid State Lighting Alliance. Prof Haas was awarded a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award in 2017. In 2019 he received the IEEE Vehicular Society James Evans Avant Garde Award and the Enginuity The Connect Places Innovation Award in 2021. He was the recipient of a Humboldt Research Award for his research achievements to date in 2022. Prof Haas was shortlisted for the European Patent Office Inventor Award in 2023.


Miles Padgett, The University of Glasgow, UK
Title: An Endoscope the Width of a Human Hair
Miles Padgett is a Royal Society Research Professor and also holds the Kelvin Chair of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow. He is currently acting as the Interim Executive Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). His research team covers all things optical, from the basic ways in which light behaves as it pushes and twists the world around us, to the application of new optical techniques in imaging and sensing. They are currently using the classical and quantum properties of light to explore: the laws of quantum physics in accelerating frames, microscopes that see through noise, shaped light that overcomes diffraction-limited resolution and endoscopes the width of a human hair. He is currently the Principal Investigator of QuantIC, the UK's Centre of excellence for research, development and innovation in quantum enhanced imaging, bringing together eight Universities with more than 40 industry partners.  He is a Fellow both of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Society (the UK's national academy), in addition to subject specialist societies. He has won various national and international prizes including, in 2019, the Rumford Medal of the Royal Society and, in 2021, the Quantum Electronics and Optics Prize of the European Physical Society. Since 2019 he has been identified by Web of Science as a globally highly-cited researcher.  Miles celebrates the academic and post-academic careers of his former group members, science is a collaborative endeavour.

Francesco Poletti, Optoelectronic Research Centre, University of Southampton and Microsoft Azure Fiber, UK
Title: Nothing is Better Than Glass to Guide Light
Prof. F. Poletti leads the Hollow Core Fibre (HCF) group at the Optoelectronic Research Centre, University of Southampton. In his research career, he has held a Royal Society Fellowship (URF) and a European Research Council (ERC) consolidator grant, both aimed at advancing the science and technology of hollow core fibres. He has co-authored more than 500 peer-reviewed publications, produced over 20 patents and delivered more than 50 invited, tutorial or keynote presentations. Over the years, he has been an investigator on grants totalling over ~£50M and covering many aspects of fibre fabrication technology. His pioneering work on HCF led to the creation of the ORC startup Lumenisity, which in 2022 was acquired by Microsoft Azure. As a result, he currently also holds a position as a Microsoft Partner Researcher, leading the research activities on HCFs for optical data communications.


Sebastian Schulz, University of St Andrews, UK
Title: Dynamic Metasurfaces
Sebastian Schulz is a Senior Lecturer in Physics at the University of St Andrews, where he leads the nanophotonics group. Dr Schulz obtained both his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Physics at the University of St Andrews. For his PhD he worked on slow light in photonic crystal waveguides, focusing mainly on the impact of disorder and propagation losses, in the group of Prof. Krauss. He then moved on to postdoctoral positions at the University of Ottawa (Prof. Boyd) and the Cork Institute of Technology (now Munster Technical University) and Tyndall National Institute in Cork, Ireland (Dr Liam O’Faolain). During this time he continued to work on slow light and photonic crystal devices, but also extended his interest to include nonlinear optics, optical metasurfaces, epsilon-near-zero materials and non-reciprocal optics. In 2018 he was appointed Lecturer at the University of St Andrews. He is interested in almost anything that is small and interacts with light, with current research projects including dynamic metasurfaces, optical computing, new materials for photonics and integrated optical devices, such as spectrometers and displacement sensors.


Richard Taylor, Vector Photonics, UK
Title: PCSELs: The 2D Laser Commercialisation Journey
Richard is a founder, director and CTO of Vector Photonics, a company based on technology he developed during his PhD. Having completed the original engineering development work within UK universities, Richard began the process of commercialising the technology, with Vector Photonics spun-out of the University of Glasgow in March of 2020. Since incorporation Vector has raised >£4m in equity investment leveraged by >£5m in grant funding and has expanded the team to 21 staff. During his PhD Richard developed photonic crystal surface emitting lasers (PCSELs), a new class of laser which is set to revolutionise the semiconductor laser market. During this time the world’s first all-semiconductor PCSEL was produced using epitaxial overgrowth.  For his work developing all-semiconductor PCSELs, Richard was awarded the RAEng Colin Campbell Mitchel award for outstanding contribution to a field of engineering; as well as the IET Henry Royce award. The breakthrough technology will deliver step-changes in performance for several markets and sectors.

Cathy White, BT, UK
Title: Deploying Quantum Networks for Commercial Applications, Reality of Today and Visions of Potential
Cathy White is a Research Manager in Optical and Quantum technology, working in this field within BT since 2016. She is a contributing member of the GSMA Post Quantum Telco-Network Task Force and the ETSI QKD ISG. She previously gained her PhD in simulations of quantum systems at Imperial College London. Prior to BT, she held technical roles in a software company and a scientific hardware company.



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