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David Payne honored with knighthood for photonics work

28 January 2013

David PayneSPIE Member David Payne, director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton, has received a knighthood for his work in photonics research and applications development. The honor reflects his extensive contributions to harnessing the use of light for applications in telecommunications, sensing, and lasers for manufacturing, optics.org reported.

Payne -- now known as Sir David -- led the team at Southampton that in the 1970s invented the EDFA erbium-doped fiber amplifier, a critical component in the backbone of the optical fiber transmission systems that power the Internet and carry voice calls around the world. His work has also led to the development of specialty fibers and high-power fiber lasers used in industrial manufacturing applications.

He was among luminaries in the laser field featured in displays shown throughout the world as part of the Advancing the Laser observance of the 50th anniversary of laser technology in 2010.

"I was incredibly fortunate to be offered the opportunity to work as one of the first in optical telecommuncations," he said in an interview in 2008 on winning the Marconi Prize. "Optical fibers created the high-speed connected world and their outstanding success has been one of man's greatest achievements. Without optical fibers and amplifiers it is hard to imagine the internet we know today."

Payne talked more about his lab's work in an SPIE Newsroom video interview.