Researchers from the University of Bath’s Centre for Photonics and Photonic Materials (CPPM) have been approached by BT’s global research and development centre in Adastral Park, Suffolk, to undertake a joint project focusing on highly specialised research and development in the use of hollow-core optical fibre.

The BT-funded collaborative project will harness the knowledge and expertise of the University’s academics working within the CPPM, making use of its research-grade optical fibre fabrication facility and state-of-the-art photonics laboratories.

It will allow BT’s own research engineers, who are working at the forefront of new technologies and standards, to develop a better understanding of potential applications of hollow-core optical fibres.

Specifically, the project will assess and evaluate their use as a platform for technologically-relevant interactions between light and rubidium vapor and for low-loss transmission of blue light, which does not propagate efficiently through conventional optical fibre.

Dr Peter Mosley, senior lecturer from the Department of Physics at the University of Bath, will lead the project together with the support of colleagues Professor Jonathan Knight, Vice President Enterprise, and Dr Kristina Rusimova, Lecturer in the Department of Physics.

Dr Mosley commented:

This is an exciting opportunity to work alongside researchers from BT to develop new hollow-core fibre and understand the impact that it might have in enhancing the performance of future communication networks. We’re looking forward to getting stuck into the project, fabricating fibre and commissioning a rubidium filling rig. We hope that this initial project will develop into an ongoing relationship between BT and the CPPM, enabling our expertise in specialty fibre to be brought to bear on a variety of challenges in communications.

Dr Daniel Gilks, Senior Researcher, Breakthrough Hardware Prototyping and Amelia Lees, Network Physics, BT commented:

We are thrilled to be working with the University of Bath on this new project investigating the use of novel fibre types for mobile communications and sensors. This work provides an exciting challenge at the forefront of photonics. We welcome the University of Bath’s world leading expertise, to support us with solving state-of-the-art communication challenges. This collaboration will be a part of ongoing work within BT’s Strategy and Research department to build a meaningful strategic relationship between BT and the University of Bath.

The development of the new strategic relationship with BT was supported by Research and Innovation Services (RIS) at the University of Bath.