School Seminar Program

Heavy Glass Planar Photonics: 40 years of research puffery or a revolution brewing?

Steve Madden

Leonard Huxley Lecture Theatre

Dr Steve Madden
Laser Physics Centre

Films and waveguides of glasses laden with heavy elements have commanded intense research scrutiny in the last four decades due to their often remarkable properties and the sheer “richness” of the range of interactions with light that they display, for example reversibly rearranging their network structure dependent on the illumination wavelength. Despite this attention, real world applicability has been very limited as a range of serious challenges have needed to be overcome for practical photonic devices. The drive to resolve these issues stems from the potential linear and non-linear effects that can be harnessed in integrated planar waveguide devices to potentially solve serious challenges in fields as diverse as telecommunications, non-linear optics, mid-IR sensing, quantum information processing, Astronomy, etc. The talk will outline why two particular classes of these materials (the tellurites and chalcogenides) are so interesting, what has been accomplished in the underlying waveguide technology, show some of the application focused optical results, and consider the remaining scientific challenges and the future prospects for these materials and devices to effect a revolution in several critical areas of modern life.


Dr Stephen Madden leads research on Tellurite, Chalcogenide, and polysiloxane integrated optical devices at the Laser Physics Centre. His research career in fibre & integrated optics spans the period from 1984 to the present in start-ups, Multi-nationals, and academia covering a diverse range of areas including Liquid Crystals, seven different materials systems for planar devices, all fibre devices, Hybrid integration, Bragg gratings and devices, planar tunable lasers, optical transmission systems and all optical networking, and non-linear effects in SOAs and planar waveguide devices. The spectrum of work has covered fundamental science through to putting new high technology products into volume production and out onto the market.

Date & time

Thu 3 Nov 2011, 4–5pm



Staff, students and public welcome