Published on 17/02/2022
fibre optic cables
  • Aston University and Pulse Power and Measurement (PPM) enter three-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)
  • This KTP will allow PPM to access Aston University’s expertise in coherent optical communications network domain techniques
  • Aston University students will benefit from real-world teaching through potential industrial projects and final-year placements

Aston University has been working with Pulse Power and Measurement Ltd (PPM) through a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) to develop a game-changing approach to technology used in the radio-over-fibre communications industry.

The project will look to transform the connection between low earth orbit (LEO) satellite antenna dishes and modems through optics rather than electronics, delivering performance, functionality and cost benefits.

A KTP is a three-way collaboration between a business, an academic partner and a highly qualified graduate, known as a KTP associate. The UK-wide programme helps businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills. Aston University is the leading KTP provider within the Midlands.

PPM designs and manufactures a wide range of radio frequency (RF) over fibre systems, which allow RF electrical signals to be submitted over fibre optic cables. Its 'ViaLite Communications' business division is focused on optical transportation and manipulation of analogue radio communication signals used in applications such as satellite communications, telemetry, broadcasting, cellular base stations and radar. The company has a range of high-profile international clients, including tier 1 satellite and broadcast providers.

Through the KTP, PPM will have access to academic expertise from the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies, one of the largest photonics research groups in the world. The academics working on this project are Dr Paul Harper and Professor Wladek Forysiak, both of whom have extensive experience of academic research and industrial development in the field of optical fibre communications.

Dr Harper is head of the Electrical and Electronic Engineering department, while Professor Forysiak is currently a Royal Academy of Engineering Professor in highly integrated coherent optical fibre communications and has previously held positions as EPSRC Manufacturing Fellow and Royal Society Industry Fellow.

Gary Barton, company supervisor at PPM, said: “Collaborating with Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies is enabling us to push the boundaries of optical transport systems necessary to meet the challenges of new and diverse market requirements.”

Dr Paul Harper, head of electrical and electronic engineering at Aston University, said: “This KTP project has been a great way for us to work with a new industrial partner and learn from PPM’s expertise in radio-over-fibre systems while passing on our optical fibre systems knowledge.”

Notes to Editors

This project is co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Watch our short film to see how it works and visit our website for examples of KTP in action at Aston.

To find out more about how your business can benefit from working with Aston University, please email rke@aston.ac.uk or call 0121 204 4242

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Saskia Hansen is the interim Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, email Nicola Jones, Press and Communications Manager at n.jones6@aston.ac.uk.

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Sue Smith, Head of Press and Communications
    0121 204 3521
    s.p.smith@aston.ac.uk

Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager
    0121 204 5065
    s.cook2@aston.ac.uk

Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager
    0121 204 5159
    r.hume@aston.ac.uk

Nicola Jones, Press and Communications Manager
  •  07825 342091
    n.jones6@aston.ac.uk

Alternatively, email pr@aston.ac.uk

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