About the CRPuO

Pierre Berini, director
Pierre Berini, director

Photonics embraces the science and technology of light: its interaction with matter and the technology for its generation, manipulation, transmission and detection. Photonics research is revolutionising our lives like the preceding electronic and digital revolutions. Applications of photonics are diverse from communications and entertainment systems in homes to uses in biology, quantum computation, medicine, environmental sensing, green technologies and many other aspects of our everyday lives. Examples include the near-instantaneous transmission around the globe of voice, video and data on lightwaves, laser scanners reading bar codes on everything such as goods in a supermarket to luggage in airports, and surgeons utilizing lasers in surgery rather than scalpels.

Despite the ubiquitous penetration of photonics, challenges remain, be they at the level of applications where, for example, improvements are continuously sought to optical telecommunications equipment, solar cells, and optical biosensors; or at the level of fundamentals where, for example, greater understanding is sought on how light interacts with matter at extreme time and spatial scales or on how quantum states of light can be formed and utilised. To meet such challenges, the University of Ottawa established the world-class Centre for Research in Photonics (CRPuO) founded on strengths within our Faculties of Engineering and Science.

Just like light itself the CRPuO does not recognise disciplinary boundaries, but rather welcomes all who claim optics and photonics as their main area of research. We count electrical, chemical, mechanical and biomedical engineers, along with physicists, chemists and biochemists among our ranks. We tackle large-scale problems requiring multidisciplinary solutions.

Of our 20 professors, 15 hold prestigious research chairs (1 Canada Excellence Research Chair, 12 Canada Research Chairs, and 2 University Research Chairs), many are Fellows of recognised societies (OSA, IEEE, SPIE, APS, RSC, CAE), and several have won prestigious research prizes (Herzberg, Steacie, Killam, King Faisal). The CRPuO attracts the best and brightest students and post-doctoral fellows to work alongside top minds in the field - currently over 150 are contributing to advance our field. CRPuO researchers maintain collaborations with many countries around the globe by participating in the exchange of people, material and know-how, and collaborating on common projects.

In addition to human capital, the CRPuO includes state-of-the art research facilities in the new Advanced Research Complex - a building designed and constructed from the ground up with photonics research in mind. In addition to about a dozen individual research labs, the CRPuO includes two core facilities: the Sunlab and the Nanofab, both open for business.

Many large well-known companies as well as small and medium enterprises have partnerships with our researchers. Several of our professors have launched companies. This reflects the genesis of a wide range of new applications for photonics researched within the CRPuO.

Leveraging the strong regional concentration of photonics and technology companies, the embedded base of intellectual capital, and partnerships with universities and federal research labs, the CRPuO is at the forefront of photonics research.

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