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Prof Polina Bayvel


Professor of Optical Communications and Networks

Room 607, Roberts Building, UCL

Address:Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering
University College London
Torrington Place
Research Group:Optical Networks
Personal Web Page:
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 7921 / 37921 (internal)  
Fax:+44 (0)20 7388 9325

Professor Polina Bayvel is the Head of the Optical Networks Group, UCL which she also set up in 1994. Her research interests are in the area of optical communications and include wavelength-routed optical networks, high-speed optical transmission, and the study and mitigation of fibre nonlinearities. She was one of the first to show the feasibility of using the wavelength domain for routing in optical networks, and designed wavelength-selective devices needed for their characterisation and implementation. More recently she has focused on the study of capacity limits in nonlinear optical networks. She has authored or co-authored more than 350 refereed journal and conference papers.

Polina Bayvel received her BSc (Eng) and PhD degrees in Electronic & Electrical Engineering from University of London, UK, in 1986 and 1990, respectively. In 1990, she was with the Fiber Optics Laboratory, General Physics Institute, Moscow (formerly USSR, now Russian Academy of Sciences), under the Royal Society Postdoctoral Exchange Fellowship. She was a Principal Systems Engineer with STC Submarine Systems Ltd, London, UK, and Nortel Networks (Harlow, UK, and Ottawa, ON, Canada), where she was involved in the design and planning of optical fibre transmission networks. During 1994-2004, she held a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at University College London (UCL), and in 2002, she was appointed to a Chair in Optical Communications and Networks.

Professor Bayvel is a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng), Optical Society of America (FOSA), Institute of Electronic & Electrical Engineers (FIEEE), the UK Institute of Physics (IoP), and the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET). She was the recipient of the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2007-2012), 2013 IEEE Photonics Society Engineering Achievement Award, 2014 Royal Society Clifford Patterson Prize Lecture and Medal and in 2015 together with 5 members of her group, received the Royal Academy of Engineering Colin Campbell Mitchell Award for 'pioneering contributions to optical communications technology'. She leads the UK EPSRC Programme Grant UNLOC (2012-2018), focused on unlocking - and maximising - the capacity of optical communications.

She was awarded CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2017 New Year's Honours List for services to engineering:

Research in the Optical Networks Group is concerned with the theoretical and experimental investigation of the high-speed (10-160 Gbit/s and beyond), multiwavelength, optically amplified telecommunications networks focusing on:

  • optical network design, wavelength allocation and routing algorithms
  • study of high-speed transmission systems and impairments due to optical fibre nonlinearities and their mitigation, using a variety of techniques, including use of advanced modulation formats, electronic pre-distortion, coherent detection and digital signal processing, optical equalisation and regeneration, new devices for optical network applications

The group has an extremely well-equipped laboratory including a high-speed, multiwavelength recirculating fibre loop-based experimental test-bed and a range of sophisticated test & measurement equipment operating at 10-160Gbit/s.

The work of the group is supported by a number of leading communication companies under a variety of schemes, including Huawei Technologies, Intel, Yokogawa, Bookham, Alcatel-Lucent and numerous others.

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