David Neil Payne

CBE FRS FREng, University of Southampton

Speaker Bio

Professor Sir David Neil Payne CBE FRS FREng is a leading Professor at the University of Southampton and Director of the Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics/Optoelectronics Research Centre. A world class pioneer of technology, his work has had a great impact on telecommunications and laser technology over the last forty years. The vast transmission capacity of today’s internet results directly from the erbium-doped fibre amplifier (EDFA) invented by David and his team in the 1980s. His pioneering work in fibre fabrication in the 70s resulted in almost all the special fibres in use today including fibre lasers which are undergoing rapid growth for application in manufacturing and defence.

David has made numerous leading contributions to many diverse fields of photonics and is widely acknowledged as an inventor of key components. With US funding, he led the team that broke the kilowatt barrier for fibre laser output to international acclaim and now holds many other fibre laser performance records. An original member of the Highly Cited Researchers (USA) he is honoured as one of the most referenced, influential researchers in the world. He has published over 650 Conference and Journal papers.

As an entrepreneur David’s activities have led to a cluster of 11 photonics spin out companies in and around Southampton - helping to boost the local economy. He co-founded SPI Lasers, now owned by Trumpf Group. He is an Emeritus Chairman of the Marconi Society and a foreign member of the Russian and Norwegian Academy of Sciences, the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE). David is a fellow of the Optical Society of America, the IET (UK), the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. He holds three honorary Professorships from Chinese Universities. He co-founded The Photonics Institute in NTU that has grown to be the leading photonics institute in Singapore.

Prizes and Awards

For his work, David has been recognised by many prizes and award, a selection of which are:

1975      1990   IEE Electronics Divisional Board Award (5 times)

                Gyr and Landis Instrumentation Prize (2 times)

1982      Academic Enterprise Award for establishing York Technology

1986      Queens Award for Industry (York Technology)

1991      IEEE/OSA John Tyndall Award (USA)

1991      Rank Prize for Optics (UK)

1993      Computers and Communications Award (Japan)

1994      NASTS (USA) Real Advances in Materials Award

1998      Benjamin Franklin Medal in Engineering - Franklin Institute USA

2000      ISI Certificate for one of the world’s most cited authors

2000      Barons Who’s Who “The Europe 500 Leaders for the next century”

2001      2001 Basic Research Award of the Eduard Rhein Foundation, Germany

2001      Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards finalist

2001      Mountbatten Medal of the IEE for outstanding contributions to electronics

2002      ISI Certificate for Highly Cited Researchers – original member

2004      Kelvin Medal of the 8 major UK engineering institutions

2005      Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award finalist (SPI Lasers)

2006      IEEE Photonics Award for outstanding achievements in photonics

2007      Marconi Prize and Fellowship

2008      Millennium  Prize Laureate

2009      ICT 2008 Hall of Fame (25 leading figures who have made a unique contribution to the development of ICT and the Web organised by the European Commission's Directorate General for the Information Society and Media

2010      AILU (Association of Laser Users) Award (2010)

2010      Named as one of SPIE’s 24 Laser Luminaries for the 50th Anniversary of the Laser

2014      IEEE/RSE Wolfson James Clerk Maxwell Award

2015      Engineering and Physical Sciences RISE Fellow

2015      Voted one of Britain’s 500 most influential people by Debrett’s/Sunday Times

2016      Again voted one of Britain’s 500 most influential people by Debrett’s/Sunday Times

2016     Awarded Honorary Degree for Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa – Nanyang Technical University, Singapore

2017      Voted one of Britain’s 500 most influential people by Debrett’s/Sunday Times

2018      The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education awarded to the ORC

2018          Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA)  Indian National Science Academy

2021          8th winner of Berthold Leibinger Future Prize for pioneering research in the field of Fibre optics

2022           Winner of VinFutures Grand Prize with Desurvire, Kahn, Cerf and Berners Lee - USD 3M for breakthrough research and technological innovations that positively improve the quality of human life