Designing new materials to support the development of technologies for telecommunications, health, environment, and security.

The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Photonic Innovations chaired by professor and researcher Younes Messaddeq aims at providing a unique and world-class expertise in glass-based materials and optical fibres at Université Laval.


Silica-based glasses are by far the best known and most widely used optical materials (as evidenced, for example, by the current deployment of silica fibres in optical telecommunication networks), which explains why part of our research and development activities will be dedicated to this type of material.

However, because silica-based materials have certain limitations such as their opacity to electro-magnetic radiation beyond 2 μm and their small optical nonlinearity, this research program will also focus on the development of alternative glasses and components based on them. Those include oxide-based (phosphates, germanates, tellurites, etc.) as well as non-oxide glasses (such as chalcogenide), the latter category being the most promising for the development of several components operating in the middle infrared. Over the past 30 years, a clear trend towards the use of new optical materials and components operating in the middle infrared (MWIR) spectral domain has emerged. As an example, optical-based telecommunication networks have used wavelengths that are progressively getting longer (from 0.85 μm to 1.3 μm and then to 1.5 μm) so as to minimize propagation losses. We can envision that this trend will continue and will be strengthened by increasing needs in other fields of application such as security and defence (surveillance, imaging), environmental monitoring (spectral fingerprint of pollutants), biophotonics and medicine (interaction with tissues and molecules). Consequently, meeting those future challenges requires new optical materials having a broader transparency range towards the infrared spectral domain together with a better understanding of optical processes specific to those innovative materials.

Main research thrusts

The Chair proposes to contribute to the advancement of vitreous materials by specifically focusing on the following research thrusts:

  1. Ultra-low loss middle infrared glasses
  2. Microstructured and multi-functional optical fibres
  3. Nanostructured materials


These advances in vitreous materials will have a major impact on the development of guided-wave components and their applications, including:

  • Broadband photonic components;
  • Photonic components for information storage;
  • Versatile optical sources with extended frequency coverage;
  • Nanostructured glass components for energy storage and sensing;
  • Specialty fibres and derived components operating in the mid-infrared for biomedical and defence/security applications.

our partners: