INESC was set up in 1980 introducing, from the very beginning, a new pattern in the behaviour of the Portuguese academy. Open to the external world and actively seeking strategic partnerships in critical areas of the economic activity, namely the Telecom sector, it has shown the viability of change from within the government education system.
It has introduced new organisational paradigms and promoted the incubation of technological start-ups. In 1980 this was very revolutionary and has shaken the system but, in the end, it has acted as a model which has been copied and reinvented many times and which is still present in the Portuguese R&D environment.
Very soon INESC started an expansion phase which led to national coverage through the establishment of branches close to the main universities: Lisbon, Porto, Aveiro, Minho and Coimbra. Human and technical resources have grown first as a result of Portugal joining EEC and later with the support of PEDIP and CIÊNCIA, the national programmes for science and technology, making INESC a very large and hard to manage institution. The resulting difficulties have forced a deep restructuring, leading to the creation of independent local units, one of them being INESC Porto, set-up in the end of 1998.
Therefore at INESC Porto we claim the heritage of INESC original concept and it is our mission to promote world class R&D in a sustained way by keeping close links with the economic world through partnerships with industry and services.
We will keep promoting entrepreneurship and start-up incubation and seek an active co-operation with the higher education system.
Finally, we will try to learn from our previous experience, in order to be, in the eve of the new millennium, a source of innovation and initiative for the progress and development of Portugal.
OPTOELECTRONICS AND ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS UNIT
The Unit develops its activity in optoelectronics, mainly in fibre optic technology. It is oriented to applied research and development in fibre optic sources, optical communications, fibre sensing and microfabrication (thin films and integrated optics), seeking also opportunities for technology transfer to Portuguese industrial companies through its specific competencies on optoelectronics and electronic systems integration.
The activity developed provides the framework for post graduation of students, particularly from the Department of Physics and the Department of Electronic Engineering of the University of Porto.
During In the last few years, R&D collaborations have been developed with prestigious national and international institutions (either Universities, Institutes or Companies), frequently supported by joint R&D projects. Strategic Objectives
During the last years, the Unit strategy was oriented towards the acquisition of competencies in certain areas of optoelectronics and electronic systems technology.
The Unit exploits its infrastructure in order to offer post-graduation the framework of national and international R&D projects, as well as specific developments oriented to technology transfer.
At the present stage, the Unit strategy is focused towards the following goals:
- To strengthen its qualification in the R&D fields where it has already expertise;
- To improve its collaboration with industrial companies where joint work already exists in order to optimise the process of technology transfer;
- To start a process of reinvestment in order to maintain a state of the art technological infrastructure;
- To reinforce its links with the Department of Physics and with the Department of Computer and Electronic Engineering of the University of Porto.
The activities carried out by the Unit are focused on two complementary branches: applied research and technology transfer.
The Unit is supported by combined R&D projects (FCT), industry consorted projects (Innovation Agency, European Commission) and services rendered projects.
The applied research developed at the Unit can be classified in four main areas:
- Fibre Optic Sources;
- Fibre Optic Sensing;
- Optical Communications;
- Microfabrication and Integrated Optics.
The on-going activity in the Unit on these fields covers the following items:
Fibre Optic Sources
- Large mode area fibre amplifiers with single transverse mode performance for high-energy pulse generation;
- Picosecond multiwavelength Er-doped fibre lasers with frequency shifted feedback for WDM applications;
- High power narrow bandwidth Q-switched fibre lasers for Doppler LIDARs;
- Single frequency tuneable fibre lasers.
Fibre Optic Sensing
- Investigation of interrogation techniques for fibre optic Bragg grating sensors;
- Simultaneous measurement of strain and temperature using fibre Bragg gratings;
- Electric current measurement using hybrid and full optic configurations;
- Intensity based sensors for force and pressure measurements.
- Study and non-linear modelling of the nonlinearity of optoelectronic semiconductor devices (laser diodes and amplifiers) and their impact on the performance of SCM fibre/radio systems;
- Modelling and assessment of the transmission impairments of fibre nonlinearities in dense WDM systems with optical duobinary signalling.
Microfabrication and Integrated Optics
- Deposition of PZT material on fibre for sensing applications;
- Study of the photosensitivity in silica for Bragg grating fabrication;
- Design, modelling and fabrication (to some extent) of integrated optic devices.
This activity has been essentially carried through the Unit Electronic Systems competencies, which include optoelectronics systems integration, DSP's, electromagnetic compatibility and computer added electronic circuits design and testing.
The on-going activity in the Unit in this area covers the following items:
- Optical atmospheric communications systems;
- Optical fibre cables for sensing purposes;
- Electronic systems development and integration;
- Electric current optical measurement systems;
- Electromagnetic compatibility;
- Computer aided laser scanning.