Optoelectronics Research Centre

The ORC is the largest photonics institute in the UK and one of the world’s leading institutes for photonics research. We have a vibrant community of PhD students and researchers, led by some of the leading figures in the field of photonics science and technology. We have contributed significantly to the remarkable growth of photonics including communications technology that underpins the internet, as well as lasers, sensors and fundamental science.

Our Research

Our research topics can be distributed into four broad categories: optical fibres and devices; nanophotonics and metamaterials; telecommunications and photonics systems, circuits and sensors; with a number of research groups carrying out work in more specific areas.

The work we do has been fundamental to the development of critical global technologies, including the optical fibres and amplifiers that power the internet, devices for data centre communications, the fibre lasers and integrated photonics devices that are used in applications ranging from medicine to defence, and the discovery of new optical phenomena. Our work covers electronics to enterprise.

Learn more about our Research Groups

ORC Facilities

The ORC is home to the Zepler cleanroom complex, a state-of-the-art multidisciplinary centre for materials and device research in photonics and nanotechnology. Our extensive capabilities are used by researchers and engineers across academia and industry. Integrated with specialist application and development laboratories including communications, lasers, sensors and biotechnology, and advanced characterisation capabilities.

Discover the Cleanroom Complex:

ORC Facilities and Virtual Cleanroom Tour

Business and enterprise

We foster a strong culture of innovation in the ORC, forging close industry links. Our work is recognised globally as innovative and transformative across a range of technologies including silicon photonics, optical fibres, fibre lasers, and advanced materials, for applications in a wide range of industries including defence, manufacturing, healthcare, oil and gas, and telecommunications. We have strong relationships with industry both in the UK and internationally, providing support through joint research projects, consultancy, commercialisation of research, knowledge transfer and use of our facilities.

We have been extraordinarily successful in our commercial endeavours and there are over ten companies in the Southampton area with their roots in the ORC, creating a ‘Light Valley’ of successful photonics companies.

Learn More About Our Enterprise


Working with Us

This is the place to explore your staff life beyond work. Discover more about where you’ll live, our beautiful campuses, our social life, and all the things you can do when you join our friendly, international community.

Exciting Vibrant City

Southcoast port with easy links to London and areas of outstanding beauty.

Calm, green Spaces

Our city is filled with parks and waterside walks. You’ll work and relax among the trees and gardens on our campuses.

One of the UK’s sunniest cities

Southampton is one of the warmest and sunniest places to live in the UK. Great award-winning beaches within 30 minutes drive.


Talented staff from around the world

We truly are international, our colleagues from around the world work together to create a positive global impact.