Photonic systems integration for postgraduate students in the Centre for Doctoral Training in Applied Photonics

Flockhart, Gordon M. H. and Bauer, Ralf and Lengden, Michael; McKee, Michael and Hagan, David J., eds. (2023) Photonic systems integration for postgraduate students in the Centre for Doctoral Training in Applied Photonics. In: Proceedings Volume 12723, Seventeenth Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2023. SPIE, USA, pp. 1-10. ISBN 9781510666719 (

[thumbnail of Flockhart-etal-ETOP-2023-Photonic-systems-integration-for-postgraduate-students]
Text. Filename: Flockhart_etal_ETOP_2023_Photonic_systems_integration_for_postgraduate_students.pdf
Accepted Author Manuscript
License: Strathprints license 1.0

Download (1MB)| Preview


Photonics is a broad research area that underpins many different areas of science and engineering. The future of the United Kingdom (UK) photonics industry depends on training the next generation of photonic engineers and scientists to lead research and innovation across a wide range of industrial applications. In 2018, the UK government invested £446 million through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in 75 Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT), of which one is focused on industry inspired Photonics, Imaging, Sensing and Analysis (CDT in Applied Photonics). A key element of these CDTs is the increase in formal taught components to enhance technical interdisciplinary knowledge and broaden the postgraduate research student’s skills and knowledge base. This paper presents the development, implementation and evaluation of a new taught course for the CDT in Applied Photonics to broaden the skills of photonics researchers to integrate analogue and programmable digital electronics in to photonic systems. The course builds fundamental theoretical knowledge in digital and analogue electronics and provides practical laboratories using accessible programmable digital hardware. It also provides the opportunity to apply this knowledge through a practical group project developing an integrated photonic system, culminating in an assessed practical presentation and demonstration of the working systems. The course uses National Instrument’s myRIO, designed to allow access to industry-grade embedded system technology combining LabVIEW’s graphical programming environment with a processor, reconfigurable field programmable gate array (FPGA) and convenient hardware interfaces. This facilitates access to the technology for postgraduate students from a range of undergraduate backgrounds, yet also provides a pathway to develop similar technology used in industrial photonic research.