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Photons and photonics: from basic physics to system concepts

Research project P5/18 (Research action P5)

Persons :

Description :

This project is about harnessing light. It is about photons and fields in interaction with matter and about the ubiquitous role that photonics is starting to play in information technology and communication. Its research objectives go from the theoretical study and experimental validation of newly discovered physical phenomena to the introduction of new concepts for photonic devices and systems with applications in all-optical telecommunication networks and in optical interconnections. Hence its title 'Photons and photonics', its subtitle 'From basic physics to new system concepts' and its acronym 'The PHOTON Network'.

The research partners.

Seven groups from five Belgian Universities have decided to collaborate. To strengthen the scientific and technological backbone, two European partners (from Lille-France and Eindhoven-Nederland) were invited to join the PHOTON network. The nine groups together, have an expertise that ranges from basic laser and semiconductor physics to applied mathematics and numerical modeling, to material science and high tech photonics engineering.

The rationale for the project is basically threefold.

From an application point of view we are on the eve of a widespread use of photonic technologies, perhaps comparable to the onset of electronic technologies 50 years ago.
From a basic physics point of view, there are fascinating questions raised by new physical phenomena whose discovery has been triggered by advances in material technologies, applied mathematics, and scientific programming.
The third rationale is one of unique and timely opportunity. In the past, two highly successful optics and photonics networks have operated under the IAP-flag. Both networks have a solid international reputation, complementary backgrounds and well equipped labs. The newly proposed network will bring these communities together.

The project is organized in six workpackages.

Each workpackage will be managed by a dedicated coordinator, and is structured on three levels (physics, components, system concepts) reflecting its richness and guaranteeing cross fertilization. The six workpackages encompass laser dynamics, all optical signal handling, photonic crystal optics, reconfigurable optical interconnects, gamma optics and quantum information.

Young scientists and Doctoral School.

The PHOTON network will provide a framework to talented young researchers, who are emerging as leaders within the partner's subgroups, with new ideas, new methods and own doctoral students. In addition, it will provide high-level training through research opportunities to many doctoral students and young post-docs. The so-called knowledge based society calls for more and better trained professionals. Universities are asked to reflect on their teaching programs and teaching methods. The partners of the PHOTON network will contribute to this new educational efforts by establishing an interuniversity doctoral school. In addition to the training-through research mentioned above, we plan to organize once a year a 'Doctoral School workshop' on optics and photonics.


With this project, the partners of the PHOTON network express the ambition to create a high level scientific platform, bringing together top groups from the Flemish and French communities, in a discipline of exploding importance

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