Trusting Science on International Day of Light

The International Day of Light is celebrated every year on 16 May, the date of the first successful operation of a laser in 1960. Its purpose is to recognise and celebrate the importance of light and light-based technologies that impact every aspect of society, and this of course includes the development of fibre optics, which has totally transformed how we access and share information on a global scale.

The central message for Light Day 2021 encourages the public expression of confidence in the scientific process with a pledge to ‘Trust Science’. We signed it, and hope others are inspired to show their support and sign the declaration too.

We also unlocked our UCL lab in honour of the day! Please take a look at the videos below. But first, our PI explains how we study light to develop intelligent optical networks of the future. 

 TRANSNET post-doctoral researcher Eric Sillekens provides a quick tour of our high-speed transmission set-up

We used this setup to demonstrate a world record optical fibre transmission speed of 178 terabits a second over a single-mode optical fibre, so it definitely works! This is a fifth faster than the previous record and three million times faster than the average UK broadband connection. Read more in this news piece

Wenting Yi, TRANSNET PhD researcher, explains the set-up of coherent FMCW LiDAR in the lab

This is an exciting new area of research for the team! In fact, we've just published our first paper on the application of coherent LiDAR to optical transmission: 'Frequency-modulated Chirp Signals for Single-photodiode Based Coherent LiDAR System' in the Journal of Lightwave Technology. 

TRANSNET PhD researcher, Callum Deakin, describes how we generate and characterise optical frequency combs for processing wideband signals 

Discover more about how we using frequency combs as a new tool for signal processing in the publications below:

Happy International Day of Light from all of the TRANSNET team. To sign the 'Trust Science' pledge and to learn more, please go to

The Trust Science campaign is organized by the IEEE Photonics Society, SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and The Optical Society (OSA), together with the International Day of Light Steering Committee.