Singapore plots photonic future with new research institute

$SGD80 million to shine a light on optics

Singapore is to boost its footprint in photonics research, slinging $SGD80 million (USD$64 million) at a collaboration between the Nanyang Technical University (NTU) and the UK's University of Southampton.

The University of Southampton says the NTU's new Photonics Institute will conduct work from basic research up to engineering.

The Photonics Institute will also include a fibre optic research manufacturing unit. The institute will be funded by the private and public sectors, with contributions from government agencies including A*STAR, the DSO National Laboratories, the Economic Development Board, the Ministry of Education, and the National Research Foundation.

Singapore's modus operadi is to create local pools of talent that big vendors can't find elsewhere. For example, A*STAR operates a Data Storage Institute (DSI) that in 2012showed off a hybrid solid state/spinning rust disk drive it hoped to license to big names. The DSI has a long history of collaborating with the likes of Seagate and Western Digital and it is no coincidence both have substantial presences in the Lion City.

The five research units of the Photonics Institute are:

  • The Centre for Optical Fibre Technology,
  • The Centre for Disruptive Photonic Technology,
  • The LUMINOUS! Centre of Excellence for Semiconductor Lighting and Design,
  • The Centre for Optical and Laser Engineering, and
  • The OPTIMUS! Photonic Centre of Excellence.

The institute will eventually employ 120 scientists and staff. ®

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