uOttawa News

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World leader in photonics joins University of Ottawa

OTTAWA, May 17, 2010  —  Professor Robert W. Boyd, a pioneer and world leader in quantum optics and photonics, was today appointed as the inaugural Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Quantum Nonlinear Optics, positioning the University of Ottawa and Canada among the very best optics and photonics research centres in the world.

The $10 million funding that comes with the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Quantum Nonlinear Optics enabled uOttawa to recruit Robert Boyd from the University of Rochester in the United States and will allow the renowned scientist to establish a world-class program in quantum nonlinear optics.

For over 30 years, Professor Boyd’s research has spanned topics as diverse as physics, engineering, fundamental and applied research, and classical and quantum nonlinear optics, a field that combines nonlinear optics (the interaction of light with light) with quantum optics (optics at the level of photons).

“The University of Ottawa offers an outstanding, fertile and vigorous human, intellectual and technological environment within which Dr. Boyd’s leading-edge research program can flourish,” says Allan Rock, president of the University of Ottawa. “His leadership reinforces our unique concentration of scientists who bring these technologies to daily practical use, for the benefit of all Canadians.”

Using state-of-the-art nanofabrication technologies available at the University of Ottawa and at the National Research Council of Canada, Professor Boyd will produce photonic crystals to slow the speed of light. The ability to generate “slow light” can lead to valuable innovations, such as buffers for optical telecommunication, new methods for laser radars to track the position of objects, and spectrometers of unprecedented precision for environmental sensing.

"I am excited to be coming to the University of Ottawa, and I am committed to helping create an attractive multidisciplinary intellectual environment for its students and faculty," says Professor Boyd. "Our research program will offer opportunities for us to build strong interactions with both the local scientific community and our international colleagues. The research itself should lead to new capabilities in the field of photonics, for the benefit of society in general and specifically for our academic, government and private-sector partners."

The Canada Excellence Research Chair program was created to attract the world’s most accomplished and promising minds to develop ambitious research programs in the priority areas in the Government of Canada's science and technology (S&T) strategy.

The University of Ottawa, one of Canada’s top research-intensive universities, contributes significantly to development and innovation in the technologies of the future. We are committed to research excellence and encourage an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge creation, which attracts the best academic talent from across Canada and around the world.

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