The RV Jones Distinguished Lecture in Engineering

This is a past event

Optical Fibre Networks - Unlimited Bandwidth or Optical Illusion? The lecture will look at some of the trends, challenges and limits, both linear and nonlinear, and the techniques used to overcome them in optical networks.

We take for granted the Internet, the ability to communicate instantly, delay-free and with seemingly limitless bandwidth. In fact,the unprecedented growth of optical fibre infrastructure in recent decades has underpinned this, making possible broadband communications, e-commerce, video-on-demand and streaming media, tele-presence and high performance distributed computing. It has dramatically changed the whole landscape of public, business and government activities, stimulating relentless traffic growth. Indeed over 99% of all data is carried over optical fibres. But is fibre capacity unlimited? The lecture will look at some of the trends, challenges and limits, both linear and nonlinear, and the techniques used to overcome them in optical networks.

Polina Bayvel is Professor of Optical Communications and Networks and heads the Optical Networks Group (ONG) at the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, UCL. The research of the group is focused on the analysis of optical networks and wavelength routing, high-speed optical transmission and the study and mitigation of fibre nonlinearities using a variety of signal processing techniques. She has authored/co-authored more than 280 refereed journal and conference papers, and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng), the Optical Society of America, IEEE and UK Institute of Physics. She is a member of the TPC of a number of conferences including Globecom, ONDM, ECOC and CLEO-Europe, and co-Chaired the Technical Programme Committee for ECOC 2005. In 2002, she received the Institute of Physics Paterson Prize and Medal for her contributions to research on the fundamental aspects of nonlinear optics and their applications in optical communications systems. In 2007 she received the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award for the study of ‘Optical networks - at the nonlinear and quantum limits’.

Polina Bayvel received the BSc (Eng) and PhD degrees in electronic and electrical engineering from University College London (UCL), London, UK, in 1986 and 1990, respectively. Her Ph.D. research focused on nonlinear fibre optics and their applications. She worked under a Royal Society postdoctoral exchange fellowship in the Fibre Optics Laboratory at the General Physics Institute in Moscow (USSR Academy of Sciences) in 1990. Subsequently, she worked as a Principal Systems Engineer at STC Submarine Systems, Ltd (UK), and Nortel Networks (Harlow, UK, and Ottawa, Canada) on the design and planning of optical fibre transmission networks. In 1993 she was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, which she held for ten years at UCL’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. She was promoted to a Chair in Optical Communications and Networks in 2002.


If you have any questions about the lecture, please contact Katy Bowman in the University Events Office on 01224 273233 or email

This event is free of charge, but you will need to reserve your place in order to attend. There will be a drinks reception after the lecture.


Professor Polina Bayvel, University College London
Hosted by
School of Engineering
King's College Conference Centre, University of Aberdeen