The Division of Photonic Crystal Fibre Science is part of the Max-Planck Institute for the Science of Light, founded in January 2009. It was formerly part of a Max Planck Research Group at the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. The Division has over 40 members (laboratory assistants, masters and doctorate students, post-doctoral researchers and visitors) from all over the world. There is a strongly international atmosphere, and as a result the working language is English (though many of us speak German).
Our research focuses on scientific applications of photonic crystal fibre (PCF), a type of microstructured fibre proposed by Philip Russell in 1991. His group reported the first example of a working PCF in 1996, and since that time many groups all over the world have become active in developing PCF and exploring its applications. In the Division we are carrying out a wide range of experiments that make use of PCF's remarkable properties. These include low threshold nonlinear gas-laser devices, optomechanical devices based on nanoscale glass structures, optoacoustic modelocking of fibre lasers at GHz frequencies, biomedical sensors, supercontinuum sources, laser manipulation of particles in hollow-core PCF, and the curious properties of helically twisted PCF. The Division works in close collaboration with the Fibre Fabrication & Glass TDSU (Technical Development & Service Unit) at MPL.
The group dynamics are highly collaborative and interdisciplinary, ideas being generated and developed at several weekly discussion meetings that focus on major research themes. These meetings provide a forum for trouble-shooting experimental and theoretical problems in the research, planning its future directions, and not least discussing progress in PhD projects. In addition, weekly group meetings function as a journal club, a seminar slot for visiting speakers and research project reports, and an opportunity for sorting out general issues.