Prof Nigel Copner

Name: Prof Nigel Copner
Department: Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science
Job Title: Chair of Optoelectronics
Telephone: (01443) 482539
Room: J433


I completed my BSc Physics honours at Reading University in 1988, with the highest First class, and subsequently obtained my PhD in Laser Physics from Swansea University in 1992.
I have an extensive patent portfolio (>30) generated during my successful career in Silicon Valley working at JDS Uniphase (Senior Manager, San Jose), DERA (Research Fellow, Malvern), Renishaw and through my work at the University. Many of my key patents have been commercially exploited generating > $10M/year of revenue. The optical switch (US2001006568) patent currently is the biggest selling opto-mechanical switch on the market. The athermal and revolutionary dispersionless interleaver (US2002154314, US2002171908) currently dominates the market and forms the basis of the new DPSK/DQPSK product lines. As a result of my research, I have invented an entirely new interferometer which is now referred to as the “Copner” Interferometer (US61 25220 (A)). In addition, my innovative approach to frequency doubling (US2004131093) forms the basis of JDS Uniphase’s blue note laser which is currently their biggest selling new laser product.
Throughout my research work I have endeavoured to encourage creativity and have developed many ideas through to highly manufacturable, robust prototypes that pass the exhaustive Telecordia reliability specification 1221.
During my research work at DERA (Malvern) I won a NMSPU contract (£500k) to research new primary standards for laser RIN and Chirp. This work was completed successfully in 1994 with the filing of a number of key patents (US6320179 (B1)). My research work with Renishaw enabled me to file innovative ways of sensing laser frequency changes (US6345060 (B1)) without the normal degrading effects of vibration and also established new phase modulating concepts for narrowing the linewidth of lasers (WO9831081 (A1)). Recently, within Academia, I have initiated a major research project (£2M) funded by the TSB based on my IP (US2007230532) which highlights the efficiency gains achieved if multimode second harmonic generation occurs within a laser cavity. This project demonstrated exceptional performance recently when over 1.3W of green speckle free light was seen. The closing DBERR representative stated that this project was the best that he had seen with all parties appearing to gain enormously from the research work. Further, based on my novel tuneable laser concept (WO2009081160 (A1)) a major CIRP project (£540k) has been won. This new concept deploys a frequency tuning element that simultaneously adjusts both laser frequency and cavity length changes to eliminate mode-hops. This concept is expected to open the metrology sector to higher volume applications in the medical sector etc. In addition, I have initiated a Carbon Trust bid with Lomox Ltd for groundbreaking OLED research which should lead to more efficient general lighting and eventually displays. This £2.5M project started on 1st Jan 2011. Further, I managed to win an EPSRC Case PhD grant (£100k) with Oclaro to research novel dispersion compensation for optical networks. Recently also a £170k KTP project was won with Chromogenexs on new light sources for medical applications. In addition, as of feb 3rd 2011 an EPSRC project (£450k) has been awarded to research my novel laser tuning concepts. From the 1st Sept have a new contract with EADS (£1M) for the research of novel concepts for free space communications to UAVs.
I am also a founder of a new local laser company, Cymtec Ltd which is currently targeting > £4M revenue within 3-4 years based on innovative way of multiplexing LEDs of differing wavelengths. This technology is expected to have a significant impact in the projection display and endoscope markets. I am also a technical adviser to Global Laser, Oclaro Inc, Enterprise Ireland and Optoplex Inc. In addition, I have a paid visiting chair to the Xian Institute in China. I support the teaching in the department by taking on many Msc students and being module leader to an Msc (sustainable lighting) and an undergraduate module on Lighting Principles. I also have inititated a series of lectures to schools that aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. These lectures have been given in the scholl environment and have been very popular. To be conferred to a Chair of Optoelectronics with an industrial research bias will greatly enhance my group’s profile and enhance the funding opportunities available.


Publications and Patents:

COPNER NIGEL [US]; COHEN ADAM D [US]; TAN KIM L [US]; ABRAHAM CHRISTOPHER JOHN [US]; LAPINSKI FELIKS [US]: Novel athermal GT interleaver design (US2002154314) 2002

COPNER NIGEL [US]; TAN KIM LEONG [US]; ABRAHAM CHRISTOPHER JOHN [US]; DUCELLIER THOMAS [CA]; PICARD MARIE JOSEE [CA]: Novel GT interleaver design that provides for the first time zero dispersion-was seen as impossible (US2002171908) 2002

COPNER NIGEL [CA]; COLBOURNE PAUL [CA]; PHILIPSON JOSHUA B J: Novel interferometer that interferes the transmission and reflection off an etalon-referred to as the Copner interferometer within JDS Uniphase (US2001040681) 2000


COPNER NIGEL [CA]; FARRIES MARK [CA]; COHEN ADAM D [CA]; IYER RAJIV [CA]: Novel wedge optical switch which solves alignment and stability of standard switches-basis of JDSU’s MOEMS switch-currently generating revenues in excess of $10m (US2001006568) 2001

FARRIES MARK [CA]; XIE JIMIN [CA]; FU XIAOLI [CA]; COPNER NIGEL [CA]; PAIAM REZA [CA]: Asymmetric interleaver/de-interleaver circuit (CA2278358) 2000


COPNER NIGEL [US]; LIANG FRANK [US]; MAASKANT ROBERT [CA]; BECKLEY KEITH [CA]; ALAVIE A TINO [CA]: Novel fibre based optical performance monitors (US2002168142) 2002

WAARTS ROBERT G [US]; COPNER NIGEL [GB]: New multimode nonlinear laser (US2004131093) 2004

COPNER NIGEL [GB]; FORTENBERRY RANCE [US]; SCOBEY MIKE [US]: Novel intra-cavity laser for display (US2007230532) 2007

COPNER NIGEL JOSEPH; EVANS ALLAN: Novel light source for display based on arc lamp (US2007165186) 2007

BOURHILL GRANT [GB]; KHAZOVA MARINA [GB]; EVANS ALLAN [GB]; GAY GREGORY [FR]; COPNER NIGEL JOSEPH [GB]: Novel projection illumination providing better colour gamut (GB2425167) 2006- was not the key inventor here.

COPNER NIGEL [US]; TAN KIM [US]: Novel free space dispersion compensator (US2003086168) 2003

CHANEY RAYMOND JOHN [GB]; COPNER NIGEL JOSEPH [GB]: Novel laser diode feedback exploiting phase modulation-provides greater line-width reduction than previously calculated or measured (WO9831081) 1998

COPNER NIGEL J [CA]; CHANEY RAYMOND J [GB]: Etalon laser frequency discriminator- using a biprism on the etalon input so that the intensity changes induced by rotation changes of the etalon can be eliminated while wavelength changes are not (WO9904466-Frequency Stabilised Semiconductor Laser) 2002

COX MICHAEL [GB]; COPNER NIGEL [GB]: Novel RIN system that uses optical attenuation to achieve shot noise limited optical reference-first time that a microwave spectrum analyser has been calibrated against DC light measurement-simplified traceability-only works with attenuated light not amplified (US6320179 ) 2001

CHANEY RAYMOND JOHN [GB]; COPNER NIGEL JOSEPH [GB]; LIAO TINGDI [GB]: Method of manufacture of an optical grating in an optical fibre (WO9848303) 1998

COPNER NIGEL J [GB]; GOVAN DONALD [GB]; DORAN NICHOLAS JOHN [GB]: Novel DPSK receiver (WO2008125848) 2009- was not the key inventor here.

COPNER NIGEL [GB]; EL DAH DAH NAYLA [GB]: Novel tuneable laser suitable for metrology (WO2009081160)- project currently funded by A4B Welsh Assembly (270k) 2009.

COPNER NIGEL [GB] R CHANEY [GB]: Novel tuneable laser suitable for metrology – Key new patent that eliminates 3rd order nonlinear effects providing 5000GHz mode hop free tuning range- project submitted to EPSRC (£450k) 2011.

COPNER NIGEL [GB]. New projection system optimised for use in lasers WO2009087396, – discussions ongoing with Vision Engineering Ltd and Digital Projection Ltd. 2009.

COPNER NIGEL JOSEPH [GB]:New central heating system based on heat pipes (WO2007148149) 2007.

Novel variable bandwidth filter based on Acoustic interaction in a fibre bragg grating- to be filed.

Novel laser with travelling cavity mirrors (seeking EPSRC funding ORC Southampton)- to be filed.

Novel technique for double passing PPLN which provides superior frequency conversion efficiency-to be filed.

New pulse manipulation concept for data at 100 Gbits/s (seeking EPSRC funding with Aston University)- to be filed.

COPNER NIGEL and CHANEY RAY. A new pivot point independent laser tuning that compensates for higher order cavity length changes- This invention is very recent and formed the basis of our EPSRC bid (£450k) which was granted on feb 3rd. Patent is in the process of being filed.

White light Phosphor concept that will double the amount of white light emitted- Cymtec Ltd have filed patent

Solid Lightpipe LED multiplexer concept which achieved 10-15 % more light throughput than existing state of the art technology.


Detailed quarterly technical reports to Renishaw for payment milestones for 15k research support from Oct 1990 to 1992.

N.J.Copner, K.Sugden and I.Bennion: “UV fabrication of fibre gratings”, Poster Session on grating fibres (1993) JFIT Conference, Keele University. [Department of Trade and Industry, DTI projects]

Quarterly Technical reports from Oct 1992 to Oct 1993 to the DTI on the “GIFTS” collaborative research project with BNR Europe and British Aerospace while at Aston University

N.J.Copner, M.F.Lewis, D.M.Parkes, K.T.Trafford, R.L.Devine, C.J.Whitehead, A.D.Phelps: “Uktrawideband current sensor based on the Faraday Effect in semimagnetic semiconductors”, SPIE Proceedings, Laser and Applications Conference Vol 2374, p2374-27 (1995).

QTR Technical Reports every three months from Oct 1994 – July 1996 to the DTI/NMSPU

N.J.Copner and M.Cox: “RIN and temporal chirp measurements”, Paper at the BEMC Conference, 1994 (at Malvern, England).

S.M. Vaezi-Nejad, M. Cox , N. Copner:“Development of a Novel Approach
for Accurate Measurement of Noise in Laser Diodes used as Transmitters for Broadband Communication Networks: Relative Intensity Noise”, Proceedings of the World Congress on Engineering 2007 Vol I, WCE 2007, July 2 – 4, 2007, London, U.K.

Confidential working report on novel laser diode stabilisation with optical feedback deploying phase modulation submitted to Renishaw 1998.

N.J.Copner, M.Cox and B.Williams:“High Sensitivity, precision relative intensity noise calibration standard utilising a reference laser source”, Optical fibre Measurement Conference [OFMC] 1997.

Xie, N.J. Copner, B.P. Keyworth, A.D. Cohen, J.B. Philipson, and M.C. Farries:“High-channel-count 50-GHz-spaced DWDM Using Optical Frequency Interleaving Technology”, (1999), Proceeding of the 3rd Canadian Conference on Broadband Research, Ottawa, Canada, pp. 237.1-237.3.

S.Radic, S.Chandrasekhar, A.Srivastava, H.Kim, L. Nelson, S.Liang, K.Tai and N.J.Copner: “25 GHz Interleaved Bidirectional Transmission over Non-zero Dispersion Shifted Fiber”, Optical Fiber Communications (OFC) 2001, ThF7- this work was jointly inspired with S.Radic.

Radic, S; Srivastava, A; Nielsen, T; Centanni, J; Wolf, C; Liang, S; Copner, N, Optical: “25GHz interleaved bidirectional transmission at 10Gb/s”, Amplifiers and Their Applications (OAA) 2000 paper: OTuC8

Yee, S. Yazhgur, S. Chang, P. Liang, S. Ma, X. Cohen, A.D. Copner, N.J. Liang, F. Anthony, P.J.: “Transmission of n×10-Gbps frequency-division-multiplexed channels in an ultra-dense DWDM system employing a 25-GHz optical interleaver” This paper appears in: Lasers and Electro-Optics Society 2000 Annual Meeting. LEOS 2000. 13th Annual Meeting. IEEE, Publication Date: 2000, Volume: 2, 478-479.

Li, Kang; Yao, Aiyun; Copner, N J; Gawith, C B E; Knight, Ian G; Pfeiffer, Hans-Ulrich; Musk, Bob: “Compact 1.3 W green laser by intra-cavity frequency doubling of a multi-edge-emitter laser bar using a MgO:PPLN crystal”, Photonics and Optoelectronics Meetings (POEM) 2009, Wuhan

Li, Kang; Yao, Aiyun; Copner, N J; Gwaith, C B E; Knight, Ian G: “Intra-cavity Frequency Doubling of an Electrically Pumped Edge-emitting 980 nm Laser Diode with PPLN”, The European Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO_E) 2009 paper: CA_P5

M.C. Cox, N.J. Copner, B. Williams: “High sensitivity precision relative intensity noise calibration standard using low noise reference”, IEE Proc., Sci. Meas. Technol., July 1998 — Volume 145, Issue 4, p.163–165.

Nigel J. Copner, Kang Li, Corin Gawith and Ian Knight, “532nm laser sources based on intracavity frequency doubling of multi-edge-emitting diode lasers”, Paper 7578-37, Photonics West, Tuesday, 26 January 2010.

S Radic, S Chandrasekhar, P Bernasconi, J Centanni, N.J.Copner: “Feasibility of Hybrid Raman/EDFA Amplification in Bidirectional Optical Transmission”, IEEE Photonics Technology Letters, Vol. 14, No 2, February 2002 221.

Radic, S. Chandrasekhar, S. Srivastava, A. Kim, H. Nelson, L. Liang, S. Tai, K. Copner, N. : “Dense interleaved bidirectional transmission over 5× 80 km of nonzero dispersion-shifted fiber”, IEEE Photonics Technology Letters, Vol.14, N0 2, 2002 218.

Li, Kang; Yao, Aiyun; Copner, N J; Gwaith, C B E; Knight, Ian G; Pfeiffer, Hans-Ulrich; Musk, B: “Compact 1.3 W green laser by intracavity frequency doubling of a multi-edge-emitter laser bar using a MgO:PPLN crystal”, Optics Letters, Vol. 34 Issue 22, pp.3472-3474 (2009).
Kang Li, Hongying Wang, N.J.Copner, C.B.E.Gawith, Ian G Knight, Hans-Ulrich Pfeiffer, Bob Musk, and Graham Moss, ‘465 nm laser sources by intra-cavity frequency doubling using a 49 edge-emitters laser bar’, Optics Letters, accepted to be published, 2011.
Hong-ying Wang , Kang Li , and N. J. Copner , ‘Amplified Spontaneous Emission lifetime based on the different phase matching modes in BaAlBO3F2 crystal’, Journal of Optics, IoP, accepted to be published, 2011.
Kang Li, N.J.Copner, C.B.E.Gawith, Ian G Knight, Hans-Ulrich Pfeiffer, and Bob Musk ‘Compact intracavity frequency doubled diode laser at 465 nm’, SPIE paper 7912-72, 2011.
Kang Li, Ray Chaney, and N.J.Copner, ‘Novel mode hop free chirped laser’, SPIE paper 7933-49, 2011.
Kang Li, N.J.Copner, and Hongying Wang,‘A Novel Grating Based Temporal Buffering Approach’ SPIE paper 7949-6, 2011.
Hongying Wang, Kang Li, and N.J. Copner, ‘Calculation characteristics of spontaneous parametric emission based on BaAlBO3F2 crystal’, SPIE paper 7917-58, 2011.
Kevin Rogers, Kang Li, N.J.Copner, Peter Excell, Paul Driscoll, and Ron Yandle, ‘An investigation into LED multiplexing and homogenisation’ SPIE paper 7933-41, 2011.
Kang Li; N. J. Copner; C. B. E. Gawith; Ian G. Knight; Hans-Ulrich Pfeiffer; Bob Musk, ‘532 nm laser sources based on intracavity frequency doubling of multi-edge-emitting diode lasers’, Proceedings Vol. 7578 SPIE, 17 February 2010.
Kang Li, Aiyun Yao, N.J.Copner, C.B.E.Gawith, Ian G Knight, Hans-Ulrich Pfeiffer, and Bob Musk, ‘Blue light generated by intra-cavity frequency doubling of an edge-emitting diode laser with a periodically poled LiNbO3 crystal’ Optics Express Vol.17, No. 22 2009.
Kang Li, Aiyun Yao, N. J. Copner, C. B. E. Gawith, Ian G Knight, Hans-Ulrich Pfeiffer, and Musk B: “ Blue light generated by intra-cavity frequency doubling of an edge- emitting diode laser with a periodically poled LiNbO3 crystal” Optics Express, Vol. 17, Issue 24, pp. 22073-22080.

Sugden, K. Bennion, I. Molony, A. Copner, N.J.: “Chirped gratings produced in photosensitive optical fibres by fibre deformation during exposure”, Electronics Letters 30, p 440 (1994).

A low loss ultra-narrowband negative-dispersion and large mode field area
photonic crystal fiber for dispersion compensation* Yani Zhang †1,2,3, Jungang Huang2, Kang Li2, Yongkang Gong2,3, and N. J. Copner2
1Department of Physics and Information Technology, Baoji College of Arts & Science, Baoji 721007, ChinaProc. of SPIE Vol. 8426 84260V-2

Progress In Electromagnetics Research, Vol. 124, 511{525, 2012
SPIE 2010 An investigation into LED multiplexing and homogenisation
Kevin Rogersa, Kang Lib, N.J.Copnera,b, Peter Excellc, Paul Driscolla, Ron Yandlea

SPIE 2010 (Photonic West)- Calculation characteristics of spontaneous parametric emission based on BaAlBO3F2 crystal Hongying Wang*a, Kang Lib, N.J. Copner

SPIE 2010 (Photonics West) Compact intracavity frequency doubled diode laser at 465 nm Kang Li*a, N.J.Copnera, C.B.E.Gawithb, Ian G Knightc, Hans-Ulrich Pfeifferd, Bob Muske aFaculty of Advanced Technology, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, CF37 1DL, UK;

SPIE 2011 Novel mode hop free chirped laser
Kang Li*, Ray Chaney, N.J.Copner,

SPIE 2010 A Novel Grating Based Temporal Buffering Approach
Kang Li*a, N.J.Copnera, Hongying Wanga,

SPIE 2010 Development and evaluation of a light emitting diode endoscopic light source Neil Clancy1,2*, Rui Li1,2, Kevin Rogers3,4, Paul Driscoll4, Peter Excel5, Ron Yandle4, George Hanna2, Nigel Copner3,4, Daniel S. Elson1,2