Robert W Boyd

Canada Research Chair in Quantum Nonlinear Optics

Tier 1 - 2017-11-01
University of Ottawa
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

613-562-5800, ext. 7037

Research involves

Studying photons and their application in telecommunications and informatics.

Research relevance

This research will lead to new technologies for optical communications, spectrometers with unprecedented precision, and tamper-proof methods of information transmission.

Innovation at the Speed of Light

Photonics is the science of how light is generated, detected and manipulated in a variety of ways. Dr. Robert W. Boyd, Canada Research Chair in Quantum Nonlinear Optics, specializes in photons and their application in telecommunications and informatics.

Boyd and his research team are using nanotechnology to make new materials for various cutting-edge science and engineering purposes. Using state-of-the-art techniques in nanophotonics, they are fabricating photonic crystals for a variety of applications in photonics and nonlinear optics. For example, these photonic crystals can slow down the speed of light. In turn, the ability to control the speed of light can lead to important developments, such as buffers for optical telecommunication, laser radars to track distant objects, and spectrometers of unprecedented precision for environmental sensing.

Boyd's research has potential applications in real-world problems, such as determining the maximum amount of information a single photon can carry. The ability to transmit many bits of data on a single photon could lead to better security in communications systems and minimize telecommunication networks’ power requirements. Boyd and his research team are also studying quantum imaging—the use of quantum aspects of light to form images with higher resolution or better sensitivity when viewing objects under extremely low light.

Ultimately, Boyd’s research will help fuel exciting discoveries in optics and photonics research. It could also have important implications for research across other disciplines, including information and communications technology and biomedical imaging.