The NSERC CREATE Guided Light Program seeks to lift PhD students out of research ‘silos’ that are naturally shaped by the limited resources and expertise found within the four walls of academic labs. It will enable students to engage in higher impact research objectives that will help them harness a full spectrum of research expertise, professional development, advanced tools, and resources. By investing in these trainees, the program aims to enhance Canada’s economy principally in the target area of manufacturing of novel optical technology. Our goal is to build future world leaders in research who are shaped for creativity, innovation in areas of technology transfer and commercialization of new optical devices, advanced manufacturing processes, and more functional consumer products.

Program Participants

Program Sponsor


Guided Light is comprised of a multi-institutional, international team from Canada and Germany. Students in the program are supervised by a principle investigator (PI) belonging to one of the three collaborating Canadian Institutions:

The Canadian training program further connects with the

The German program is positioned at the centre of Optics Research and Industry in Germany, known today as the “City of Light“, driven from the following German institutes:

  • Friedrich Schiller University of Jena (FSU)
  • Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT)
  • Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF)

Each collaborating institution brings critical and world leading expertise to the program. The above diagram shows the Canadian-German interlocking areas of skills and expertise. The Canadian institutions house highly specialized academic professionals and pupils who carry out world-leading research in science and engineering that complements the technological expertise and infrastructures in Germany. Canada opens rich new scientific and technical opportunities in fabrication tools, photonics design and application directions that can be accelerated by research conducted in Germany. Collectively, Canadian and German researchers connect to industry programs to generate a high level of synergy for commercial development


CREATE-GRK Summer School July 2020

The annual bi-lateral workshop between the CREATE guided light and GRK 2101 training programs was originally scheduled to be hosted in Toronto for the 2020 Summer School session. With the public health restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Prof. Peter Herman, Director of the CREATE program and host of the Toronto session, pivoted the workshop …

Jena-Munich Laser Photonics Congress Summer School 2019

The annual bi-lateral workshop between the NSERC CREATE guided light and GRK 2101 international training programs was held in Jena, German for the 2019 Summer School session between June 13 to 21, 2019. Trainees joined the workshop from all 3 Canadian institutions participating in the CREATE program (EMT-INRS, Université Laval and University of Toronto) as …

Training Program

Students in the NSERC CREATE Guided Light program will benefit from a unique form of training that will allow them to:

Students may enter the program at any year, and will be trained over a maximum three-year program on international collaborative research, technology development, industry partnership, professional skill development and internship.

Our program places unique emphasis on two exciting areas:

International Research Training

Guided Light seeks to enable high impact research provided by a multi-institutional, international team. In doing so, students will be able to harness a fuller spectrum of research expertise, advanced tools, and resources. Trainees will be challenged to think creatively, bridging fundamental discovery concepts to global industry trends.

Our students will be exposed to current industry practices and participate in market-driven research activities through interactions with small and large Canadian and German industry and government partners. Our German partner, Jena, is home to the most innovative optics companies in the world, whose leading positions are underpinned locally by strong research centers at Friedrich-Schiller University and the highly successful Fraunhofer model for technology transfer and innovation centered at the Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF).

The international program encourages collaborative research activities with assignment of co-supervisors or mentors to engage trainees with students and professors in other research groups, accelerating trainees to a level of early stage researchers.

Professional Skill Development

Students of Guided Light will be expected to complete a minimum number of professional development activities or modules offered locally and binationally.


Our program opens doors for students to develop soft-skills in recognizing and seizing commercial opportunities by the way of technology development and transfer, intellectual property protection, licence agreements, business plan writing, fundamentals of business administration, spin offs, venture funding, and entrepreneurship within a rich network of industrial partnerships.

This training is further complemented with professional training courses, workshops, and experiences that target scientific writing, search methodology, grant writing, poster presentation, speech and vocal training, career mentoring, women in science, work-life balance, scientific presentations, communications, ethics in research, language (German), planning and time-management. Leadership development is emphasized throughout the training.

Details on the Program Activities

Research Objectives

The Canadian-German research collaboration is driven on a theme of guiding and managing light science and light technology that centre on three pillar topics.

The research program is broad and flexible, and uses these examples of shared research topics between our Canadian and German principle investigators. The binational training activities will aim to guide our students’ research towards developing and participating in research collaborations within this group.

  1. Longitudinal and transversal structured waveguides
    • Realization of innovative fiber structures
    • Functionalization of optical fibers by defined (laser) structuring
    • Optical guiding structures in bulk materials and thin films by laser modification
    • Novel functional materials with tailored properties
  1. Temporal and spatial effects in waveguides
    • Linear confinement of guided light waves
    • Light confinement inside cavities
    • Nonlinear propagation effects of guided high intensity light
    • All-optical routing and switching in waveguide networks
  1. Novel optical functions in waveguide components and systems
    • Novel fiber laser sources
    • Integrated quantum systems
    • Smart fiber-based biosensors