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 activities to online training. Originally planned as a 4-day event in July, the workshop was broken out over 4 weeks to accommodate the differences in the Canada and German time zones.

Trainees joined the workshop from all 3 Canadian institutions participating in the NSERC CREATE Guided Light program (EMT-INRS, Université Laval and University of Toronto) as well international students from our German partner in the GRK2101 program at the Friedrich Schiller University‐Jena.

Some Highlights from the Workshop

Panel on Good Scientific Practices
– Hosted by Prof. Peter Herman, with panelists: Eric Bernier, Huawei Technologies Canada, Paul Corkum from National Research Council of Canada and University of Ottawa, Roberto Morandotti from INRS-EMT and Andreas Tünnermann from Fraunhofer-Institute of Applied Optics and Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena
– Topics discussed include: managing a lab, overseeing a large research team and network of collaborators, funding, differences between research in academia, government and industry, challenges in the research landscape

Soft Skills Training
– Networking and Relationship Building Workshop presented by Teressa Didiano and Jordan Daniow from Troost ILead of University of Toronto, Faculty of Engineering.
– Survival Skills for Scientists Workshop presented by Prof. Patrizio Antici at INRS
– Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Workshop led by Dr. Cindy Rottman and Annie Simpson from Troost ILead, University of Toronto, Faculty of Engineering.
– Research Writing Seminar taught by Debby Repka, Toronto

Career Pathways Part 1: Who You Are Matters &
Part 2: Intentional Exploration

Presented by Mark Franklin from Career Cycles, Toronto.
– A two-part workshop on careers entailed highly interactive sessions and surveys to guiding trainees to clarify what they want more of, identify their “what’s next”, give and receive feedback and help others be their best as they explore academic and non-academic possibilities in engineering, research and beyond.

Entrepreneurship and Commercialization
– 2-Min Elevator Pitch Event: Students presented their 2-minute pitch on their research interests, current research activities and/or research ideas.
– Invited Talk: Patent vs. Publishing: A Comparative Introduction to Patents presented by Steve Leonard from Hill & Schumacher, Toronto.
– Invited Talk: Starting A Spin-Out Company: Fibos presented by Nicholas Burgwin, CEO of Fibos Inc., Toronto

Design and Prototyping Workshop Part 1, 2 & 3
– Trainees designed an automated solution for a task like coupling light into a fiber or automation of a laser beam. Trainees were taught how to conceptualize, design and print this 3D prototype.
– Part 1: Introduction into design thinking and prototyping. Introduction to design tools
– Part 2: In-depth session on CAD and Blender design, Arduino programming, 3D printing
– Part 3: Presenting proof of concept and demonstrating prototypes

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 well international trainees from our German partner in the GRK2101 program at the Friedrich Schiller University‐Jena.

In addition to the scientific and professional training trainees received as highlighted below, trainees participated in the GRK2101 funding renewal site visit by DFG.

Some Highlights from the Workshop

Creative Tinker Workshop hosted by the makerspace Lichtwerkstatt
A Makerspace is an open collaborative work space that offers hands-on learning and access to tools and technologies that typically are not publicly available (similar to a hackerspace). Makerspace Lichtwerkstatt is a photonics Makerspace that provides all the tools and materials to setup state-of-the-art optical instruments. Trainees attended a creative tinker workshop where they learned how to take an idea, innovate a solution and use resources like Makerspace to turnaround rapid prototyping. Trainees learned to use the tools and setup the instruments to take their ideas and bring them to fruition.

Blender for Scientists Workshop I & II led by Dr. Johannes Kretzschmar
Blender is a free and open-source 3D graphics software. This workshop explored and applied Blender software in a photonics and optical research context. The aim is to explore ways to enable trainees to visualize optical setups, models and research results in a visually attractive and effective graphic in publications, presentations and proposals.

Industry Visits
Asphericon, Stockholmer Str. 9, 07747 Jena, Germany
– Tour of Asphericon offices and facilities
– Workshop on Asphere optical design technologies
Analytik Jena, Konrad-Zuse-Straße 1, Jena, Germany
– Tour of Analytik Jena facilities and demo

Technical Courses and Lectures
– Geometric Phase in Optics I by Dr. Alessandro Alberucci
– Geometric Phase in Optics II by Dr. Alessandro Alberucci
– “An integrated quantum photonic platform by femtosecond laser writing” presented by Prof. Roberto Osellame
– “Integrated Photonics for Quantum Optics Experiments” presented by Dr. Jasleen Lugani
– “Entanglement-Based Quantum Information Processing and Quantum Communication” presented by Dr Fabian Steinlechner

GRK2101 Visit to Canada March 4-8, 2019

In support of the ongoing international collaboration, the newest cohort of trainees in the German GRK2101 program travelled to each Canadian institution participating in the partner CREATE Guided Light program from March 4-8, 2019. The GRK cohort, a group of nine doctoral researchers, was accompanied by the PIs Jens Limpert, Stefan Nolte, Giancarlo Soavi as well as the coordinator Anna Späthe. They were hosted by the CREATE Guided Light participants at INRS, Université Laval and the University of Toronto.

The local meetings facilitated a strong Canada-German trainee engagement to conceive and develop collaborate research projects as required by the third year of the program. At each institution the German doctoral students and the local Canadian students each presented their projects in short 5 minute pitches to introduce themselves. Lead PIs from Germany and the Canadian PIs at each institution presented on their research programs. Giancarlo Soavi, as a new PI in the GRK2101 program, introduced his field of research to the Canadian partners. In addition to the formal presentations, the visitors were taken on lab tours with overview of the research facilities at each institution. The Canadian trainees and PIs led demonstrations on their equipment setups, the methods used, the available facilities and equipment offered at each school. Trainees were also given time to socialize informally and establish a better acquaintance between Canadian and German students and PIs. We expect this engagement to improve the rate of collaboration as well as the quality of the collaborations.

Zemax Optical Training August 2018

From August 27 – 31, the CREATE Guided Light trainees attended a 3 day workshop and collaborative meeting event offered in Jena, Germany. The GRK2101 program hosted a workshop in Lens Design for all students of the International Research Training Group for the Canada-Germany Guided Light program. In total 11 trainees from the CREATE program visited Jena for the workshop.

The course was given by Prof. Herbert Gross and introduced student to the planning of complex optics experiments with the software OpticStudio (Zemax). Zemax delivers design software, training, and support services that set the highest standards for the optical and illumination industries. Zemax training is typically required in majority of photonics industry sectors. This course and certification will be useful for future studies and career.

In addition to gaining new knowledge about an important tool and resource, CREATE students had individualized schedules of lab tours and project meetings to plan their research collaborations in Jena. Some students also took advantage of this opportunity and extended their visit for first joint experiments in the GRK labs.


The NSERC CREATE Canada‐Germany GRK20101 2018 Summer Workshop was hosted this year in Montreal, Quebec from June 7 to 10, 2018. Trainees joined the workshop from all 3 Canadian institutions participating in the NSERC CREATE Guided Light program (EMT-INRS, Université Laval and University of Toronto) as well international trainees from our German partner in the GRK2101 program at the Friedrich Schiller University‐Jena. Prof. François Légaré from EMT-INRS was the chair of this four day workshop.

Unique to this year’s NSERC CREATE Guided Light workshop, it was book-ended with the 20th Photonics North Conference held June 5‐7, 2018 in Montreal. Photonics North is an international conference on application of photonics technologies which closely ties to the research pillars of Guided Light. We received positive support of the conference organizers and committee and, as a result, the NSERC CREATE Guided Light / GRK sessions and posters were an official part of the Photonics North program. With this support, the first day of the CREATE workshop took place at Photonics North 2018. Trainees were able to spend a day at the conference and several trainees had the opportunity in special conference sessions designated for the CREATE / GRK programs.

For the remaining time, trainees and supervisors from all 4 institutions gathered as a group to participate in the workshop activities. These activities included technical talks, lab tours, industry visits and professional skills development.

Some highlights from the workshop:

Photonics North 2018 Presentations and Posters. Our program held two sessions at the conference where 16 students presented their latest results. An additional eight students showed their projects during a designated poster session.

  • NSERC CREATE Guided Light and FSU-Jena GRK2101 Group Photo at Photonics North

Site Visit of MPB Communications. MPBC is a local industry partner that provides fiber laser and fiber aplifier subsystems to customs from a range of industries, from telecommunications to biomedical to industrial applications. Students were introduced to a Canadian business that demonstrates the variety of products and services available based on photonic technology.

  • MPB Communications welcomes students for tours of its offices.

Lab Tours at Énergie, Matériaux et Télécommunications – Institut national de la recherche scientifique (EMT-INRS). Students were introduced to the ongoing research and activities of CREATE PIs Profs. Luca Razzari, Roberto Morandottie and François Légaré.


Talks by Invited Speakers

– Social Entrepreneurship in Photonics: Stewart Aitchison, University of Toronto on Social Entrepreneurship
– Diversity & Inclusivity in Photonics Field: Isabelle Staude, FSU Jena with others on Women in Science – Discussion
– Incubator Workshop: Béatrice Ngatcha, GDD on Protection of IP
– Incubator Workshop: Pierre Galarneau, INO on Technology Transfer: The Value of Know-How- Research: Ulf Peschel, FSU Jena on Quantum Random Walks in Photonic Mesh Lattices
– Research: Piotr Roztocki, INRS on On-chip frequency combs meet quantum optic
– Research: Isabelle Staude, FSU Jena on Nonlinear and tunable resonant semiconductor metasurfaces
– Research: François Légaré, INRS-ÉMT on Advanced Laser Light Source infrastructure


Autumn School at Université Laval 2017

This week, Université Laval’s Centre d’Optique, Photonique et Laser (COPL) hosted students from the NSERC CREATE Guided Light Program for a week of learning, collaboration and demonstrations. Students are participating in talks on their projects, technical and professional workshops, lab tours and industry site visits. It’s a jam packed week.

Take a look at the welcome group shots from the first day. More event highlights and photos to come.

  • Students from Université Laval, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS), University of Toronto and Friedrich Schiller University, Jena attending Autumn School at Université Laval