Philip Russell headed the Photonics & Photonic Materials Group until 2005. He obtained his DPhil (1979) at the University of Oxford, working on volume holography. He was a Junior Research Fellow at Oriel College, Oxford 1978-1981, and in 1982 he moved to the Technische Universität Hambug-Harburg (Germany) as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, working on what are now called photonic crystal waveguides. After spells at IBM's TJ Watson Research Center in New York and the University of Nice, France, he joined the Fibre Optics Group at the University of Southampton in 1986, spending altogether almost 10 years there, during which time it became part of the Optoelectronics Research Centre. He joined the University of Bath in March 1996 and since then has built up the PMMG, specialising in nano- and micro-structured photonic materials. He has over 500 publications and holds a substantial number of patents in many aspects of photonics. He has contributed to developments in a number of new areas including fibre Bragg gratings, photonic band gap materials, acousto-optic fibre devices, nonlinear optics and periodically poled materials.
He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the founding chair of the OSA Topical Meeting Series on Bragg Gratings, Photosensitivity and Poling in Glass. In 2000 he won OSA's Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert M. Burley Prize for the invention of photonic crystal ("holey") fibre, which he first proposed in 1991. This was followed in 2002 by the Applied Optics Division Prize of the UK Institute of Physics. He is currently a LEOS Distinguished Lecturer and the recipient of a Royal Society/Wolfson Research Merit Award. In 2004 he won the Thomas Young Prize of the Institute of Physics. He is the founder of BlazePhotonics Limited, a company whose aim was the commercial exploitation of photonic crystal fibre. The company, which holds the world record for low loss hollow core photonic crystal fibre, was acquired by Crystal Fibre a/s in August 2004.
His work on photonic crystals is recognised by a continuing series of plenary, keynote and invited lectures at conferences, workshops and summer schools all over the world.
He is currently a Director at the Max Planck Research Group at the Institute of Optics, Information and Photonics at the University Erlangen-Nuremberg.