COPERNICUS Project aims to improve photonic crystal technology

Feb. 1, 2011
European Union--European scientists and engineers are working together on the COPERNICUS project to develop cutting-edge photonic crystal technology.

European Union--European scientists and engineers are working together on the COPERNICUS project to develop cutting-edge photonic crystal technology that has the potential to make electronic devices much faster, smaller, and more efficient. The COPERNICUS project brings together eight European academic and industrial partners with high profiles in photonics, nanotechnology, modeling, and developing new technologies such as photonic-crystal optical fibers and components for telecommunications and aerospace.

Coordinated by Thales Research and Technology, France, the Consortium is composed of The University of Nottingham UK; the Laboratory for Photonics and Nanostructures (LPN) and Optical Functions for Information and Communication Technologies (FOTON), both research units of the French National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS); DTU Fotonik at the Technical University of Denmark; the University of Ferrara in Italy; and industrial partners u2t Photonics, Germany and Thales Systèmes Aéroportés, France.

COPERNICUS, which runs until the end of 2012, has received funding worth nearly three million Euro ($4.1 million dollars) from the European Commission’s Information Society Technologies Programme.

Photonic crystals represent a ‘disruptive’ technologymeaning they have the potential to completely change the way things are currently done in this field. Photonic crystals are nanoscale materials, enabling unprecedented control of light and the miniaturization of key functions. Significant reductions in power consumption can also be achieved. The consortium is named in honor of 16th-century astronomer and mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus, whose ground-breaking theoryplacing the sun at the center of the solar systemturned contemporary thinking on its head. At the same time, the consortium wishes to raise awareness of the central and growing role of photonics in modern information and communication technology systems.

Professor Eric Larkins of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at The University of Nottingham, said, "We are actively supporting the transfer of knowledge and technology within the consortium and ultimately to the wider community. For example, we are producing technical tutorials for training in cutting-edge technologies. As the project progresses, these will be available through the project website to students and researchers outside the consortium."

A key aim of the COPERNICUS project is to develop very high speed, compact demultiplexing receivers, used to separate optical signals that have been transmitted together. These can be used where several light signals of different wavelengths, or colors, are transmitted together and must then be separated by the receiver so that the signal can be reconstructed. To achieve this, the consortium will target technological breakthroughs in ultra-compact integrated optical devices including switches, filters and detectors.


About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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