Inspired by excellence since 1663, Universitè Laval (UL) is a comprehensive university boasting some 48,000 students—a quarter of them graduates—as well as 17 faculties, 60 departments and schools, and nearly 400 undergraduate and graduate programs in every field of knowledge. UL is also a leader in the area of research and innovation, with over 1,300 research professors divided among 250 teams and centres, and $300 million in annual research funding. Renowned for its international focus, UL prides welcomes every year approximately 4,000 international students from 110 countries while providing students from Québec with an opportunity to complete part of their studies abroad. At home, UL is resolutely engaged in the community, sharing its know-how and building strong relations with numerous partners and stakeholders thereby contributing to economic development.
Building on its long tradition of research in classical optics, lasers, optoelectronics and microwave frequency standards, Université Laval established the Center for optics, photonics and lasers (COPL) in 1989. This UL-based multi-disciplinary research center has since then evolved to become a provincial strategic cluster that brings together the expertise of 27 university researchers from 6 institutions. The COPL creates a critical mass of researchers capable of taking on the complex and challenging task of furthering the development of photonics knowledge and applications. Its mission is to train graduate students and post-docs who will form the next generation of optics/photonics scientists, to perform fundamental and applied research, and to contribute to socio-economic development by supporting industry. Its research excellence, state-of-the-art facilities and comprehensive scientific program have positioned the COPL among the best centers in the world for optics and photonics training and research. Research activities at the COPL are grouped into six themes: lasers and ultrafast phenomena, instrumentation, metrology and imaging, guided-wave optics and fiber-optics, optical communications, biophotonics and photonic materials.
UL has been investing in the development of optical communication research for several decades. Following pioneer work in frequency metrology and coherent optical communications, two new Faculty positions were created in 1988 with the Quebec Telephone (now part of TELUS) – NSERC industrial chair to support innovative research in WDM components and networks. Prof. Leslie Rusch was a co-holder of this chair that was renewed for an additional five years in 1993. This industrial chair resulted in a $3M investment over 10 years. In 2001, Prof. LaRochelle was awarded a Canada Research Chair Tier 2 in Optical fiber communications and components (renewed in 2006) and a Canada Research Chair Tier 1 (2012) in the field of Advanced photonics technologies for emerging communication strategies (APTECS). The priority put on the strategic development of photonic technologies for communications culminated in 2008 by a proposal for a Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in the field of Photonic innovations for information and communication now held by Prof. Younès Messaddeq. UL continues to strengthen its research program in photonics. Prof. Wei Shi was recently hired to help develop research activities in the emerging field of silicon photonics fabricated with CMOS technologies.
The expertise of the team and the experimental facility at UL provide all the necessary means to undertake the tasks related to OAM fiber research.