Developments in the Photonics Industry

Posted 28/8/2020 by Benet Hanley

In part 4 of this 4 part interview we talk to Piotr Matyba, a Senior Laser Development Engineer with Coherent Scotland who we recently placed, about some of the developments in the Photonics industry that excite him the most.

Piotr: Hi, so my name is Piotr Matyba. I have a wife, Sandra, we are both academics and we have two daughters, Helena and Ingrid. They are two and five, so an exciting time.

I have a Ph.D. in physics from Umea University. My major is in what is called Organic Photonics. During my Ph.D., I worked on sorts of light-emitting devices. After my Ph.D. we moved to the US, and then I took a little bit of a change in my research profile. I worked with laser development at JILA. It's an Institute at the Colorado University and the National Institute of standards and technology, (NIST). 

That was for four years then we moved back to Sweden. I have recently started working as a Senior Laser Development Engineer for Coherent in Glasgow.


Benet:   You mentioned that you're seeing the challenge and the evolution within the Photonics industry. Any particular elements about how the Photonics industry is changing that excite you?

Piotr:  So, from my perspective I see on the laser side, there's a shift towards fibre - all fibre technology. It used to be that a laser was a black box and you get the ray out of it and then you need to do something with it, right? If you want to use it for a microscope or for something, you need to have a skilled technician or you need a Ph.D. to align the laser and put it there. Now, that technology has changed and there are ways to actually put a laser light directly into optical fibre, so you have some sort of a flexible wire that brings your laser to where you want. That makes them very easy to use.

So, I think I see that there are lots of development in this direction and from a user perspective you can do more and you don't want to have to have a Ph.D. just to align a laser into something. I see this as a big change now. Going into fibre, there are lots of consumer electronics. I started with light-emitting devices and we were trying to research and improve what is today known as OLED, right? Or AMOLED, and you see that now in devices like iPhones.

So there are lots of new applications into consumer electronics innovations, like using light to transfer Wi-Fi. So you can have internet just by turning on the light. This is exciting. I think everything is going to ultimately be driven by light.

Benet:   Are there any other elements that excite you in the way Photonics would be used?

Piotr:   I think that this - making lasers more user friendly - and then making them so that they can be used as tools - for normal people so that you don't need a Ph.D. in order to operate it. There are also some kinds of developments which I find very technical I would say, but they actually affect how the lasers are. And this is what is called nonlinear optics. So basically it can take one laser and it can convert it into the analytics you want. So, you can make a laser that can go in the infrared range and then you can use it to detect explosives. Or you can do breath analysis to detect if people are healthy or not. This is very early on, but this is an interesting direction. You can go into deep UV and with shorter wavelengths you can write more information. So, blue-ray is one example. It's difficult to make lasers, and UV conventional lasers are extremely difficult to make, but for nonlinear optics you can actually convert one laser into that. That's something I was working on for a long time, especially in the US, and I see this as continuing. It's a good thing for the industry. I think that’s exciting.

Part 1 of this interview - Moving to a new company right as the entire country goes into lockdown. What has happened, and how things have worked out. 


In part 2 of this interview, Piotr discusses his experience of moving to and working in different countries and what he has learned from these experiences. 


In part 3 of this interview we talk to Piotr Matyba about the challenges of transitioning from a career in academia to a career in industry. 


Enigma People Solutions is an award-winning technology recruitment consultancy. We find technical leaders for the emerging and enabling technology industries. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in photonics, electronics, semiconductor, software and IoT in Scotland and the UK. Check out our blog page for the latest in the technology industry. You can get in touch with us or call us on + 44 131 510 8150


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