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Shedding more light on various areas of knowledge

Center for Research into Optics and Photonics to develop projects with state of the art technology

The Center for Research in Optics and Photonics is to be jointly run by research workers from Physics Institute of the State University in Campinas (Unicamp), the Physics Institute of the University of São Paulo (USP), in São Carlos, and the Institute for Energy and Nuclear Research (Ipen).

“There were two separate proposals, one from the Center for Optics and one from the Center for Photonics, which, after analysis, FAPESP recommended their joining given that there was a strong complementary element between the two areas of research”, explains Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, director for the Physics Institute of Unicamp. “The research is going to converge to studies in optics phenomena and applications in the areas of telecommunications, biology, medicine and atomic physics, among others”, concludes Vanderlei Bagnato, of the Physics Institute of USP-São Carlos.

The integration of the two areas of knowledge will be crucial, for example in the research into applications of light in telecommunications. One of the Center’s projects will be to seek a way of multiplying the speed for data transmission via the Internet, which will only be possible if electronic systems are substituted by optic systems. This demands the study of various phenomena which are the basis of Material and Solid State Physics. One of the major objectives of photonics is the substitution of the electronic transistor with an optic transistor. Research will also be required into how light pulses behave when propagated by different materials which will be used in this form of engineering. “This is the non-linear optics of materials”, explains Brito.

The Physics Institute of USP São Carlos and Unicamp have a wide experience in the spreading of know-how to small, medium and large companies for technological development based on optics and phonotics. For example, Optoeletrônica São Carlos is the main Brazilian company for the production of lenses, optical components and instruments for metrology and was created from the Optics Group of the Physics Institute of USP in São Carlos. The Physics Institute of Campinas created and transferred fiber optic technology to Telebrás. This was one of the most successful programs involving transfer of technology in Brazil. Today, the Institute collaborates with companies such as KomLux, manufacturer of fiber optics, Corning Inc., and Ericsson.

The two institutes will also encompass successful experiments in education through programs for the recycling of teachers and courses for high school students as well as the project “Science in the School”, supported by FAPESP under its Public Teaching Program. Also envisaged are investments in the widening of the scope of the programs for propagation of research and basic science courses, which are currently broadcast by TV Educativa and Rádio Universitária of São Carlos. The programs will also be put on the Internet with the support of FAPESP.