The overall aim of the GREAT (Grating Reflectors Enabled laser applications and Training) project is to train a cohort of 15 ESRs.
The 15 ESRs will be formed through the completion of interconnected individual projects which will deliver innovative approaches for the development and use of Grating Waveguide Structures (GWS), from design to implementation in several laser systems. GWS results from the combination of subwavelength gratings and planar waveguides. This combination results, by means of an appropriate design of the overall GWS resonances, which are more efficient than current grating-only devices, unique optical components that are enabling for a range of applications. The GREAT projects encompass Photonics, Micro-Nano technologies, Advanced Materials as well as Nanotechnologies, which are among the Key Technologies defined within the H2020 framework, underpinning the competitiveness and renewal of European manufacturing. Moreover, Lasers, is identified as an important industrial sector, where the European Community is a key player, who aims to keep its competitive position (http://www.strategies-u.com/lasers-photonics.html).
The ESRs will be embedded within leading international institutions and trained to work collaboratively to deliver ground-breaking research solutions and novel systems, whilst responding to real-world problems. This is a crucial skill, particularly since there is an overall lack of qualified specialized personnel in this field, with a growing number of active companies worldwide. Critically, this lack of skilled workforce has been identified by the ETP Photonics21 (Photonics21 (2013), “Towards 2020 – Photonics driving economic growth in Europe-Multiannual Strategic Roadmap 2014 – 2020”), as a major challenge for the photonics community, but also highlighting a rich landscape for career progression.
Therefore, the GREAT network will provide each ESR with key learning opportunities along with project specific exposure to important modelling methods, world-leading fabrication tools, or systems development. These will be paramount for the realization of optics based upon GWS, leading to the consolidation and expansion of their use in several advanced application-themes in the field of Laser, such as pulse compression, spectral stabilization and wavelength multiplexing, as well as polarization shaping (generation of beams with radial and azimuthal polarization).