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NGCM-05: Design and simulation of reconfigurable optical fibres

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  • Full or part time
    Dr P Horak
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Optical fibres are an essential component of modern telecommunication systems, but also find significant applications in other areas such as sensing. However, so far optical fibres are static components, and signal modulation, switching, and processing have to be performed externally. We are investigating reconfigurable optical fibres that can perform some or all of these functionalities in-line, following a recent proof-of-principle demonstration of a nanomechanical fibre at the ORC – a fibre analogue of the common silicon-chip MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems).

This project will investigate novel options for reconfigurable optical fibre designs and functionalities to make this a viable technology. In particular, the project will look into the following topics:

- Actuation mechanisms: Mechanical, electrostatic, temperature, pressure, acousto-optical, optical forces.
- Fibre design and optimisation: Multi-material fibres (glass, metal, semiconductors, liquid crystals), microstructure geometry, tunable linear and nonlinear optical properties, input/output coupling.
- Applications: Telecommunications (switching, buffering), lasers, wavelength conversion, sensing.

In this project, the numerical tools to model the optical, mechanical, acoustic and electronic properties of such fibres will be developed, tested, and applied. The functionality of the envisaged fibres relies on the interaction of different types of physics, and effective simulation will need to interface between them. In particular, fibre mode calculations, nonlinear laser pulse propagation, interaction with material degrees of freedom (electronic, mechanical, acoustic), and external actuation (pressure, temperature, electrostatic) all need to be integrated into a hybrid simulation framework. The computational project will be performed in close collaboration with corresponding experimental work at the Optoelectronics Research Centre.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Peter Horak, Optoelectronics Research Centre, Email: [email protected], Tel: +44 (0) 23 8059 3588

This project is run through participation in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Next Generation Computational Modelling ( For details of our 4 Year PhD programme, please see

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