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Israeli academic, nuclear partners to found photonics R&D center

30 Oct 2014

Ben Gurion University and Soreq Nuclear Research Center establishing photonics and electro-optics facility with NIS175m (€37m) funding.

BGU’s team will be led by Prof. Gabby Sarusi.

BGU’s team will be led by Prof. Gabby Sarusi.

Israel’s Ben Gurion University (BGU) and the Soreq Nuclear Research Center (NRC) have won the tender to create a National Photonics and Electro-Optics Research Center with an overall budget of NIS 175m (€37m / $46m).

‪The tender was offered by The Research and Development of Armaments and Technological Infrastructure Administration (MAFAT) in the Israeli Ministry of Defense on behalf of the Telem Forum. Forum members decided to pool their resources in order to offer a generous budget to promote advanced infrastructure for photonics.

BGU’s team will be led by Prof. Gabby Sarusi of the Electro-Optics Engineering Unit who will partner with Dr. Rafi Lavi, acting head of Soreq NRC in Yavne. The goal is to create a center for researchers and students to conduct research using state-of-the-art equipment.

For example, researchers will grow semiconductor epitaxial layers from which advanced electro-optic devices are made, as well as use a device to pull optical fibers. The center will be built next to the Soreq NRC with full access for all members and service users.

According to Dr. Lavi, cooperation between a national laboratory and academia to create the initiative, in addition to support from industry and government ministries, is a pioneering effort in Israel which has been successfully implemented around the world and is liable to become a much sought after model.

Prof. Sarusi commented, “When the Photonic Center is established, it will be the northern branch of BGU in Yavne, where its focus will be on photonic and electro-optic research. The overall budget will be NIS 175 million over five years to purchase and operate advanced equipment. The state-of-the-art equipment and the high caliber researchers will enable this center to reach the apex of scientific and technological achievement in this field.”

The Center will be the flagship project of BGU’s efforts to mark 2015 as the International Year of Light as per the designation of UNESCO. From January to June, BGU will host a series of events for the public and for professionals and experts in the field.‬

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org.

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