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3 West North completed
3 West North completed
Photo by Nic Delves-Broughton

Press Release - 07 July 2005

New building puts UK at forefront of photonics research

A new £2.87 million building that will further strengthen the UK's place at the forefront of research into the important area of photonics has recently opened.

The 3 West North building at the University of Bath’s Claverton Down campus includes drawing towers for making photonic crystal fibres, a 200-seater lecture theatre and two classrooms for 100 and 30 people.

The building work began in June 2004 and was designed by Bath architects Stubbs Rich. The funding is being provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. It will provide a total of 890 square metres of new working space together with 150 square metres of refurbished space for the University.

The Photonics & Photonic Materials Group, part of the Department of Physics, has moved to the new building from the 4 West building, which has been demolished as it had come to the end of its natural life.

The photonics group has led the way in developing photonic crystal fibres, pioneered by Professor Philip Russell in 1991 and now a major new area within physics. These optical fibres are able to harness the power of light in many new ways, enhancing existing applications and leading to many new ones. (see background notes below)

The work is expected to have a major impact in many areas of engineering and technology, including light sources, optical telecommunications, ultra-violet light and x-ray generation, atomic and quantum physics and astronomical imaging. Professor Russell recently won the 2005 Koerber Prize for European Science and was awarded a fellowship by the Royal Society, the UK’s top science honour, for his work.

The photonics group has over 60 collaborations with universities, institutions and companies worldwide, and its work is frequently featured in the scientific and technical press. It has been granted a total of 15 patents on related inventions.

“The new building provides the facilities to continue the University’s vital work into photonics,” said Professor John Davies, Head of the Department of Physics at the University.

“It marks the latest phase in a significant investment in physics at the University of Bath, which has seen the department placed as one of the best in the country.”

In the new building, the smaller room will be an IT facility and the lecture theatre is fitted with the latest audio visual equipment. It has a hearing loop for students with hearing difficulties and has been designed for disabled access, with a lift to first floor. There is disabled parking close to the building.

In June 2004 a £2 million laboratory, the David Bullet Laboratory, which placed the University of Bath at the centre of nanotechnology research, was formally opened.


For more information on photonics, click the links on the left hand column of this page.

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