Photonics in the Cloud – Dream or Reality?
We were treated to a fascinating and thought provoking lecture delivered by Professor John Marsh, Professor of Optoelectronic Systems and Director of James Watt Nanofabrication Centre, University of Glasgow. The online webinar lecture was kindly facilitated by The University of Glasgow and it was followed by a lively and informative Q&A session.
Just as integrated circuits are built around electrons, photonic integrated circuits (PICs) are built around light. PICs integrate lasers, modulators, waveguides and detectors on a single chip, and with applications as diverse as communications, sensing, healthcare and quantum technology, they are perceived to be an essential technology of the future. The present day PIC market is dominated by telecommunications, driven by the data demands of the internet and the cloud. However, although PICs are cost effective in the long-haul network, there are major challenges in migrating them into the access network. Innovative technology and a high volume application are required to bring costs down, with data storage being perhaps a surprising driver. These topics were explored in the Lecture.
Professor John Marsh is Professor of Optoelectronic Systems and Director of the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre. He was appointed the first Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Glasgow in 2010, when he led the integration of four previously separate departments into a unified entity. Prior to this, he was seconded from 2000 to 2009 to Intense Ltd, a spin-out company he founded to develop the world’s most advanced integrated laser systems. As Head of School, he established the University of Glasgow’s first Transnational Education Programmes in Singapore followed by what has become one of the largest Joint Educational Institutes in China, with the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC). He stepped down as Head of School in July 2016 and took on the role of Dean of University of Glasgow UESTC leading the expansion of the joint institute in Chengdu adding additional undergraduate programmes and a joint PhD programme. With extensive international collaborations and industry, his technical work encompasses research into photonic integrated circuits including semiconductors, optoelectronics, ultrafast lasers and high-power laser array products. John has been particularly active in the IEEE, serving as Vice-President and President of the IEEE Photonics Society. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Optical Society and the IEEE.