Photonics centre wins contracts and looks to bright future - Embedded.com

Photonics centre wins contracts and looks to bright future

Ipswich, UK — The former Corning Research Centre (CRC), which was taken over by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) last year, has won several major contracts including one with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to supply four universities with components.

The centre at Adastral Park, Martlesham Heath near Ipswich was originally owned by BT before Corning took it over and scientists there have been responsible for more than 700 worldwide patents. The EPSRC contract with the universities is worth £1.2 million, while the centre has also received Department of Trade and Industry funding of £550 000.

EEDA stepped in when the US-based company Corning announced that it would close the CRC due to a worldwide restructuring programme. EEDA purchased from Corning the bulk of the CRC's physical assets and used them to create The Centre for Integrated Photonics (CIP), operating out of the same facility as the CRC.

CIP is aiming to be the UK's leading facility for applications of integrated Photonics, Micro and Nanotechnology, generating solutions for exploitation by industrial partners, and providing leading-edge capabilities to the academic community.

The capabilities of CIP are being applied to diverse photonics applications such as advanced computing, biotech sensing, automotive and renewable solar energy. The core technical staff at CIP have over 300 man-years experience in photonics R&D and collectively are authors on over 450 technical papers and over 70 patents.

Interim funding has been granted by the DTI as a potential facility for use in the National Microsystems and Nanotechnology development programme. EPSRC has awarded a contract to University College London in which CIP will research, develop and deliver a range of novel photonics devices to a consortium of four UK Universities — UCL, Imperial College London, University of Cambridge and University of Essex.

CIP has also won a contract from BT Exact and the centre is looking to provide the services of its equipment, technologists and scientists to universities and industry in the UK and internationally.

Stephen Holton, who has been seconded from EEDA to become the CIP chief executive, said, “A major aim of the centre will be to facilitate the transfer of university research into industry, which will assist in the growth of the cluster of high-tech companies around Ipswich, but our vision is for CIP to become an asset to companies nationally, in applications of photonics to a range of industries.”

Former EEDA deputy chair Neville Reyner, who led EEDA's work to promote innovation and is the chairman of CIP, said, “The benefits that CIP can bring to our region and UK plc are very significant. The centre's pedigree is based on a very strong track record of over 25 years of sustained work at the leading edge of international photonics research.”

“The consortium of four Universities collaborated with CIP staff to bid for the EPSRC contract and CIP will be the core deliverer of the photonics components required for their research. However the facility will be open to any university for PhD and post-doctorate research projects,” said Reyner.

A number of collaborative projects between CIP and organisations in Europe and the US are also being negotiated.

See also:

Corning’s Adastral Park photonics centre saved from closure

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