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Periodic Report Summary 2 - PHOQUS@UW (Fostering Excellence in Photonics and Quantum Science)

Project Context and Objectives:
The objective of the PhoQuS@UW Support Action funded through the Research Potential programme of the 7th Framework Programme is to establish the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw (FPUW) as a multidisciplinary centre of excellence in Photonics and Quantum Science (PhoQuS). Photonics and Quantum Science are transforming 21st century science and engineering through delivering scientific and technological breakthroughs in areas as diverse as telecommunication, biomedical diagnostics, energy sources and environmental monitoring, as well as advancing our understanding of nature by reaching extreme scales of size, time and intensity in light-matter interactions and exploring subtle quantum aspects of the microworld. FPUW is uniquely positioned to become one of European leaders in this rapidly developing field through exploiting its traditional excellence in theoretical and experimental physics to stimulate innovation-driven research assisted by recent major infrastructure upgrades co-financed from the European Regional Development Fund. PhoQuS@UW will help to unlock this potential with a set of coherent measures. Sustainable cooperation with thirteen leading European research institutions in the PhoQuS@UW area are being established by partner visits and secondments of FPUW staff (WP1). Experienced researchers in most promising fields such as biomedical optics, attoscience, environmental optics, quantum optics, and quantum metrology are being recruited to strengthen the human capital (WP2). Available infrastructure is augmented by purchases of additional equipment to create new opportunities for experimental research (WP3). Innovation-stimulating mechanisms are being implemented in close collaboration with regional industrial stakeholders (WP4). A number of scientific conferences, workshops, and symposia have been and will be organized to share state-of-the-art knowledge. All these activities are complemented by events designed to raise public awareness of research and to encourage science and engineering careers.

Within WP1: “Networking through exchange of know-how and experience” we aimed:
- to build FPUW intellectual capacity and to promote increased scientific dialogue and twinning between the FPUW and thirteen top research centres via secondments of experienced scientific staff to transfer knowledge, new research methodologies and techniques, discuss research progress, share experimental data, work on joint research proposals and publications in top scientific journals;
- to create a forum for exchange of scientific ideas, techniques, and approaches and to share the results of recent research activities through organisation of workshops and conferences.

In WP2: “Building human capital through recruitment of experienced researchers” we built FPUW human capital by recruiting experienced researchers with international experience in the strategically defined areas of photonics and quantum science.
In WP3: “Research equipment upgrades” we built the capacity of the FPUW research base by acquisition and installation of the equipment as well as monitoring of the equipment operation, hiring and supervision of engineers/technicians.

The main objective of WP4: “Dissemination, Exploitation and Innovation Capacity Building” was to facilitate a shift from curiosity-driven basic research to innovation driven research at the FPUW. The second objective of this work package was to disseminate, exploit and promote among a broader research community, local and regional stakeholders and the general public the results of this project and research achievements of FPUW and its scientific collaborators.
The main objectives of WP5: “Project management” were to assure efficient and professional management of PhoQuS@UW and to integrate the research community and services supporting management and administration of projects.
The main objectives of the ongoing WP6: “Ex-post Evaluation” are to evaluate the impact, which the project has had on facilitation and execution of research at the FPUW and to provide recommendations for short-term and long-term strategic activities aimed at fostering excellence at FPUW in its key competence areas to improve the FPUW contribution to the European research community and regional development.

Project Results:
In order to achieve the objectives of WP1, the project has offered opportunities for incoming and outgoing secondments between FPUW and top level European groups, which led to exchange of know-how and experience. To foster communication and exchange of scientific ideas and latest discoveries between researchers from the FPUW and the international research community, PhoQuS@UW has organized or jointly co-organized nine scientific events, including an international conference “Central European Workshops on Quantum Optics (CEWQO)”, “4th Polish Optical Conference”, a session “Metasurfaces and Sub-Wavelength Plasmonic DOE” during the SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics Congress on Metamaterials X, the hands-on advanced workshops on “Scanning Near-Field Microscopy”, “Molecular Beam Epitaxy” and on “Femtochemistry”, the workshops “Quantum Limits of Optical Communication”, “Recent Advances in Quantum Metrology” and “Spectral and Spatial Engineering of Quantum Light”. Additionally the FPUW researchers attended in international meetings, conferences and workshops, as participation in such events assures worldwide confrontation with the newest scientific achievements and discoveries.

The WP2 was devoted to identifying and hiring post-doctoral researchers who will work for the FPUW to strengthen the research potential in most promising areas. Each position was advertised on the FPUW home page, the web page of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, EURAXESS and in the media. The candidates were selected by the Selection Committee and approved by the FPUW Council. As a result during second period in total 9 positions of researchers were filled.

In accordance with the plan of WP3 the purchase procedures were carried out for a femtosecond laser system and start-up equipment for the new group in Biomedical Optics. The characteristics of the equipment have been carefully specified and optimal variants have been selected. Completion of those steps opens up a wide range of exciting experimental opportunities for scientists at the FPUW. All new equipment purchased throughout the project increases the quality of the scientific research conducted at the FPUW. Recruited engineers helped to benefit from the full potential of new equipment.

A full time Innovation Manager Dr. Cezary Samojlowicz implemented at FPUW IPR protection and management guidelines. During second period two patents of FPUW researchers Polish Patent Office (PPO) have published and additional four patent applications were filed in the PPO and one in the World Intellectual Property Organization.
The webpage has been launched to disseminate and promote the achievements in photonics and quantum science at the FPUW within the European Research Area community.
Three issues of PhoQuS@UW Newsletter have been edited and published.
Raising the public awareness of the science and encouraging science careers was realized through several actions organized for wide public meetings as well as workshops and lectures addressed to narrower audience and interviews on the radio.
The Open Access option for six articles published by FPUW researchers in the area of photonics and quantum science were supported by the Project.
A full time Project Manager Dr. Lidia Tanska coordinated the activities of the Support Services and WP leaders in their administrative tasks. “Day-to-day” project management was run at two levels: WP and the general management of the Project. The above construction of the management structure enabled monitoring of work progress, especially in terms of its quality and engagement of the entities participating in activities of the Project.
During the second meeting of the International Advisory Board (IAB), the overall approach towards fulfilling the project objectives was reviewed and guidance as to the most effective project implementation was provided. The IAB also provided feedback to the Faculty leaders on strategy and suggestions for developments in the area of PhoQuS@UW research and technologies.

The external independent experts nominated by the European Commission to provide an objective assessment of the project success and validate FPUW long-term development strategy are: Prof. Vladimír Buzek (Slovak Academy of Sciences), Prof. Nikolay Vitanov (Sofia University) and Dr. Argiris Laskarakis (University of Ioannina). During the first visit the representatives of the authorities shared with the experts state of development of research, employment, infrastructure, etc. During the second visit the status of the innovation activities and new research directions which thanks to project appeared at FPUW was discussed.

Potential Impact:
The partnerships with leading European institutions were carefully selected based on careful analysis of trends in the development of European Research Area priorities. Photonics and Quantum Science are playing a transformative role in 21st century science and technology. The impact of this area of research extends from fundamental physics, such as detection of gravitational waves using highly precise interferometers operating at the quantum limit, through life and environmental sciences, including new approaches to optical imaging and ultrasensitive pollution detection, ending on widely spread technologies, with the prominent example of fibre optic communications whose advances rely increasingly on efficient, compact and robust semiconductor laser light sources and all-optical signal processing. Currently, a great deal of effort is devoted to the development of new modes of light-matter interactions that would have an equally thorough impact on modern science and technology. Prospective breakthroughs include sub-wavelength imaging, non-invasive diagnostic tools for medicine, and secure communication guaranteed by fundamental physical principles. The breadth of these examples illuminates the exceptional potential of photonics and quantum physics to impact future research and technology development. Photonics and Quantum Science remain in the spotlight of the Europe 2020 strategy. Combined actions of the project, including partnership building through secondments, exchange of know-how and experience through high-profile events such as international conferences, special sessions and workshops jointly will contribute to achieving strategic impacts mentioned above.
Acquisition of modern research equipment complements large-scale investments in a new infrastructure and modern facilities financed from the ERDF. This equipment will be used by many FPUW scientists, in effect having a high impact on generating new research techniques, application of novel methods and new discoveries. Albeit important and necessary for successful implementation of all activities proposed in PhoQuS@UW the acquisition of scientific equipment planned in this project only complements the large investments already carried out by the large scale research and education infrastructure investments such as Centre for Preclinical Research and Technologies (CePT) and Centre for New Technologies (CENT) projects as well as the National Laboratory for Quantum Technologies (NLQT). The primary source of addressing the pressing issue of outdated and underfinanced research infrastructure in Poland during 2007-2013 have been European (Structural) Funds, of which FPUW was a very successful beneficiary. The proposed actions of PhoQuS@UW achieved empowering synergy between European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) investment and national funding by focusing on hiring of international-level scientists (with a particular emphasis on nationals returning from abroad) and the strengthening and sustainability of partnerships with leading European research groups.
The Project aimed to contribute to the regional high-tech economy and sustainable regional socio-economic development through establishing links with industry. To facilitate the innovation-driven research the Innovation Committee has been created, composed of national and regional stakeholders that have interest in optical, photonic, biomedical imaging and optometric industry. In the reporting period, the second workshop targeting business partners was organized on 3 February 2015. The event was attended by about 70 persons involved in optical, photonic, biomedical imaging and optometric research and industry. Most of them were from Warsaw and Mazovian Region. As the first previous workshop it was accompanied by Open Days for representatives of polish industry community such as: InPhoTech Ltd., Kubara Lamina S.A.

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Konrad Banaszek, (Professor extraordinarius)
Tel.: +48 22 55 32 306
Record Number: 189328 / Last updated on: 2016-09-20