US$80 Million Center Lights Up Singapore’s Photonics Research

The Photonics Institute at the Nanyang Technological University will be one of the most advanced in the world.

AsianScientist (Nov. 6, 2014) – The next generation ultra-fast Internet or ground-breaking electronic circuits powered by light instead of electricity could very well be built on research done at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

To establish Singapore as a powerhouse in photonics and optics research, NTU has launched The Photonics Institute, one of the most advanced institutes in the field today. NTU also unveiled Singapore’s first high-tech fiber optic research manufacturing facility today. It is housed at one of the institute’s five research centers.

The national-level Photonics Institute at NTU will focus on research involving light technology such as those found in fiber-optic cables, lasers and consumer products like DVD/Blu-ray devices or remote control devices.

NTU is partnering the University of Southampton, UK to set up the new institute. Southampton is home to the Optoelectronics Research Center, world renowned as the birth place of the ubiquitous fiber-optic Internet now found in most homes.

The US$80 million Photonics Institute at NTU is funded and supported by industry partners and various national agencies, including A*STAR, DSO National Laboratories, the Economic Development Board Singapore, the Ministry of Education and the National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore.

NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson said photonics is an enabling technology with applications that span many industry sectors, from communications to manufacturing and even space technology.

“We have already seen examples of how photonic technologies, such as optical fiber networks and lasers, have changed our society through the Internet,” Prof. Andersson said. “Together with Southampton, our new institute aims to be become a focal point for photonics research in Singapore and to drive innovations on a global scale.”

The Photonics Institute will comprise five different research centers, namely: the Center for Optical Fiber Technology, the Center for Disruptive Photonic Technologies, LUMINOUS! Center of Excellence for Semiconductor Lighting and Displays, the Center for Optical & Laser Engineering and OPTIMUS! Photonic Center of Excellence.

The Photonics Institute will be headed by three co-directors. They are NTU professors Tjin Swee Chuan and Nikolay Zheludev, and Professor Sir David Payne, the director of the Optoelectronics Research Center at Southampton. The new institute will have a total of 120 scientists and staff from its five research centers, with a combined floor space of 4,000 square meters.

NTU’s official opening of the institute also marks the launch of its Center for Optical Fiber Technology (COFT), which houses one of the world’s most advanced fiber manufacturing facility. This new research facility gives Singapore the ability to manufacture experimental fiber optic cables for the first time.

Dr. Tan Geok Leng, executive director of A*STAR’s Science and Engineering Research Council said, “Advanced optics and photonics hold the key to ultra-high-speed communications and computing in healthcare, manufacturing, aerospace and other important vertical sectors.”


Source: Nanyang Technological University.
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