A group pictured at the UL conference
Pictured at the conference in UL’s Bernal Institute were Professor Christophe Silien from the Department of Physics at UL, Associate Professor Ning Liu Department of Physics UL, Professor. Philip Nolan, the Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Professor Kenneth Stanton, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at UL and Professor Paul Townsend, Director of SFI’s Irish Photonic Integration Centre
Friday, September 15, 2023

Professor Philip Nolan gave the opening address at the recent Photonics Ireland conference held at University of Limerick, which marked a significant milestone in the world of photonics.

The biennial event, returning to Limerick since its inaugural edition in 2007, brought together over 180 delegates from academia and industry across Ireland.

Professor Nolan, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), emphasized the pivotal role of photonics in advancing scientific frontiers and fostering innovation in his opening address to the conference, which took place in UL’s Bernal Institute.

With themes spanning Photonics Devices and Imaging, Biophotonics and Sensing, Quantum Optics and Technologies, Nanophotonics and Plasmonics, Photonic Integration and Packaging, Optical Communications and Networks, and Laser Material and Plasma Interaction, the conference showcased the diverse and dynamic nature of the photonics field.

Delegates were welcomed by Professor Kenneth Stanton, the new Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at UL, who said: “Photonics Ireland is an important event for young researchers and postgraduate students in the field, as it provides an invaluable platform for the exchange of ideas, fostering collaborations, and exploring the latest developments in photonics science and technology.”

The conference was co-chaired by Dr Ning Liu and Professor Christophe Silien from the Department of Physics at UL, who explained that it was “the first time that Photonics Ireland Conference is held face-to-face since the Covid pandemic. It is wonderful to see such a great turn-out”.

Two distinguished plenary speakers, Professor Thorfinnur Gunnlaugsson from Trinity College Dublin and Professor Laura Na Liu, Director of the 2nd Physics Institute at the University of Stuttgart and Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, delivered insightful talks that captivated the audience.

The conference also featured eight invited speakers from around the world, contributing their expertise to various facets of photonics science.

These speakers included Professor Johann Peter Reithmaier (University of Kassel, Germany), Dr Paolo Bianchini (IIT Genoa, Italy), Professor Malgorzata Baranska (Jagiellonian University of Krakow, Poland), Professor Alessandro Fedrizzi (Heriot-Watt University, UK), Professor Greg Sun (University of Massachusetts Boston, USA), Professor Michael Strain (University of Strathclyde, UK), Professor Brendan Dromey (Queen’s University Belfast), and Dr Ruth Mackey (CSO and Director of mBryonics Ltd).

The conference also featured 43 oral presentations by PhD students, researchers, and principal investigators from Ireland and the UK. Three best oral presentations and four best poster presentations were recognised, highlighting the exceptional research contributions from early career researchers.

With multiple poster sessions hosting 75 posters, attendees had ample opportunities to exchange knowledge and network with peers. The attendees’ profiles ranged from early researchers at the PhD level to postdocs, research fellows, and faculty members from Irish universities, Queen’s University Belfast, FH Münster (Germany), and other esteemed research institutes.

The Photonics Ireland Conference 2023 was made possible through the generous sponsorship of numerous companies and organizations, including SFI’s Irish Photonic Integration Centre, Optica (formerly the Optical Society of America), Pro-Lite Technology, the Institute of Physics, Photonic Solutions, PicoQuant, Amplitude-laser, and the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Process Analysis.

One of the conference’s highlights was a panel discussion entitled ‘How do we inspire the next generation of photonics researchers?’ which featured panellists from small to medium enterprises and academia. They shared valuable insights on nurturing and training the best talents in the field of photonics.

As the conference concluded, organizers announced that the next Photonics Ireland Conference in 2025 will be hosted in Cork, organized by Tyndall, the Irish Photonic Integration Centre, and University College Cork. The photonics community eagerly anticipates another stimulating gathering that will further illuminate the future of photonics science and technology.

See here for more information about the Photonics Ireland Conference and for all future updates.