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Dr Benn Thomsen
  • Honorary Reader
  • Dept of Electronic & Electrical Eng
  • Faculty of Engineering Science

He obtained his BTech (Optoelectronics) with first class honours, an MSc (with distinction) and a PhD in physics at The University of Auckland, New Zealand. His PhD research involved the development and characterisation of short optical pulse sources suitable for high-capacity optical communication systems.

He then joined the Optoelectronics Research Centre, Southampton University, U.K., as a research fellow in 2002, where he carried out research on ultra-short optical pulse generation and characterisation, optical packet switching based on optically coded labels, all optical pulse processing, high power short pulse amplification and optical noise suppression.

He joined UCL in 2004 where he is now a lecturer and a member of the Optical Networks Group. In 2006 he was awarded an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship. His research at UCL has focused on the physical layer implementation of dynamic optical networks. His current research is in the area of digital signal processing for burst mode optical receivers and the use of MIMO techniques for transmission over multimode optical fibres.

 He has authored or co-authored approximately 90 journal and conference publications in the area of optical communications.

Research Groups
Research Summary

My research, within the Optical Networks Group, focuses on dynamic optical networks both for core and access applications.  It explores the requirements and performance limits of optical processing in dynamic networks. The work combines the characterisation of potential optical devices with system modelling and experimental verification in a realistic network scenario in order to assess the suitability, performance and requirements of these devices in dynamic networks To date this work includes:

Measurements of the optically induced refractive index shift in semiconductor optical amplifiers.

The first experimental investigation of SOA based regenerator cascadability in a dynamic system at 10 Gbit/s. This along with numerical network modelling has lead to a greater understanding of the applicability and requirements for optical regenerators in real optical networks.

Development of wavelength agile burst mode transmitter and digital 10 Gb/s burst mode receiver for dynamic optical networks.

Development of low cost multi-channel impairment monitoring techniques for 40Gbit/s data signals in dynamic optical networks.

MIMO techniques for increasing the capacity of multimode optical fibres. Demonstration of 2X20Gb/s transmission of NRZ signals over 1km of multimode fibre by exploiting the spatial diversity that is inherent in a multimode optical fibre.

Investigations of the phase stability of tunable lasers under fast switching for use in dynamic optical networks that exploit the frequency selectivity of coherent receivers

Teaching Summary

I have been teaching at UCL since 2006 teaching both a second year undergraduate course in Optoelectronics and a first year course in digital circuits. I also teach on the Masters level Broadband Technologies and Components course.

I am also responsible for the Scenario based learning in the first and second year undergraduate program where we run five week long design based projects.

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