Boris Kuhlmey wins Future Fellowship

9 September 2009

Boris is a Senior Lecturer in optics and photonics within the Institute of Photonics and Optics (IPOS). Kuhlmey was recently awarded a Future Fellowship for his research into photonic crystal fibres.

Boris Kuhlmey first visited The University of Sydney in 1999 as part of a three-month undergraduate research project in theoretical physics with Professor Ross McPhedran. On returning to France "I didn't realise I'd soon be returning to Australia."

Upon completing his Masters, and having had a good experience with Ross, he spent the next three years in a PhD studying in both Marseilles and Sydney. Serendipitously CUDOS began in the year Boris finished, so the natural next step was to continue into a postdoctoral position through the new Centre of Excellence. "I loved being in Sydney and CUDOS contained some big names in photonics and optics plus it had massive funding, so it wasn't a hard decision to make."

"My research centres on a particular class of optical fibres known as photonic crystal fibres (PCFs). These fibres incorporate microscopic holes running along their length, which fundamentally modify the way light propagates in them. In particular, PCFs can be used for innovative devices in telecommunications, in sensing, in biology and for experiments in fundamental physics (the Nobel Prize for Physics 2005 rewarded work on new atomic clocks using such fibres).

"I was awarded the Future Fellowship because of two outstanding papers I wrote, and for my publically released software which accurately calculates the propagation of light in photonic crystal fibres. This software is now unanimously accepted as the benchmark for verifying the accuracy of other models and has been downloaded several thousand times from over 42 countries. Virtually all research groups working on photonic crystal fibres worldwide have made use of the software and dozens of publications are based on it. This software led to two seminal papers which have accumulated over 213 and 135 citations in less than six years."

Boris is also a contributing author of "Foundations of Photonics Crystal Fibres" by Imperial College Press.

Boris' future work will be based on a discovery made with a student from last year, Tom Grujic, and fellow researcher, Professor Martijn de Sterke, on a particular type of crystal containing rings not holes. It contains two properties not normally found together - interesting dispersion properties, and nonlinear behaviour - which can be used to convert light from one wavelength to another. "The ultimate aim is to make efficient tuneable light sources over wide wavelength ranges."

Contact: Alison Muir

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