UCL Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering


Optical Networks Group open up their research lab to the public

8 October 2019

ONG researchers led members of the public on an exclusive tour of the research lab as part of UCL’s It’s All Academic Festival.

Tom Gerard and Ian Deakin from the ONG Group

For the first time in the 25 year history of University College London's (UCL) Optical Networks Group (ONG), the research laboratory was opened to members of the public, as part of UCL's It's All Academic Festival. 

The public were able to book four hourly time slots across Saturday 5 October and were taken on exclusive walking tours of the lab where they participated in a number of exciting research demos. These included using laser walkie talkies, defraction through glass blocks, as well as exploring equipment like fiber splicing machines, multi-core fibers, eye diagrams on a oscilloscope, semi-conductor lasers, photonic integrated circuits and a record breaking wideband transmitter. 

The tours were led by ONG researchers Tom Gerard and Callum Deakin, where participants took full advantage of the chance to grill them on everything from how to reliably communicate online using optical fiber to how to become famous in optical communications! 

All tours had an excellent turnout of both local, national and international attendees. Feedback from each tour group was also extremely favourable. 

Researcher Callum Deakin states: "It was wonderful to see so many members of the public interested in our research and actively participate in our tours. We also had people of all ages attend, from children to adults, and they were full of exciting questions that allowed us to explain our research in a way not done before"

Additionally, ONG researcher Kari Clark exhibited on 'how to synchronise thousands of computers to within trillionths of a second through optical fiber' in a pop up marquee dedicated to the #MadeAtUCL campaign. Kari had an excellent day with a number of attendees approaching him for further information on ONG research as well as trying their hand at the various demos he had set up.

The #MadeAtUCL campaign showcases UCL's top 100 stories of disruptive discoveries, for which research from our predecessor grant UNLOC (unloc.net) has been shortlisted.
For more about the shortlisted research click 
here - don't forget to vote for our story to propel our research to a celebratory event! 

The It's All Academic Festival is an annual free to attend family-friendly festival that showcases some of UCL’s ground-breaking research in an engaging way via talks, hands-on interactive activities, behind the scenes tours, debates, music, food and drink. It also includes special features such as the Alumni Lounge and this year's the #MadeAtUCL pop up.