Southampton spotlighted as a "leading light in photonics industry"
Decades of pioneering advances at the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) have been credited as inspiring the rise of the fast-growing photonics industry that underpin countless facets of modern life. The renowned research centre, based in Southampton's Zepler Institute, is described as having a "brilliant past and a very bright future" in a new case study published by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Placing Southampton at the epicentre of the national photonics industry, the EPSRC article says the ORC and its surrounding photonics cluster is "crucial to the UK's ability to punch above its weight in this here-and-now yet firmly future-focused sector". Since 1989, the ORC has generated a vibrant, closely knit cluster of spinouts and other local companies relentlessly turning pioneering science into commercial reality. These businesses are described as being "the vanguard of photonics innovation", fuelling the growth of the UK's £13.5 billion photonics industry. The ORC is described as a home to "world-shaping inventions, game-changing technologies, skills and facilities envied globally". Southampton has delivered technologies such as fibre optics which underpin the internet and fibre lasers used in eye surgery, and is pioneering next-generation technologies such as silicon photonics, which will revolutionise everything from data centres to driverless vehicles. "We have a fearless determination to innovate, experiment and question convention," says Professor Sir David Payne, Director of the Zepler Institute. "But this would have been unimaginable without EPSRC support, whose targeting and timing have been vital to our ability to create and seize opportunities."