Department of Engineering / Profiles / Dr Seb Savory

Department of Engineering

Dr Seb Savory


Seb Savory

University Lecturer in Photonics & RF Systems

Academic Division: Electrical Engineering

Research group: Photonics

Telephone: +44 1223 7 62390



Research interests

Background: My research is focused on optical fibre communication, whereby digital data modulates light that is then transmitted over huge distances using optical fibres. According to the 2009 IEEE ROGUCCI report, over 99% of all long distance international data traffic is carried using optical fibres and as such they underpin the internet and today’s global communication infrastructure. It is rich area of research, which encompasses both the theory and practice of engineering, ranging from developing new science, mathematics and technology to understanding the environmental, economic and societal impact which these optical fibre communication systems have on today’s global community. It is an area I have found fascinating that I have been actively carrying out research in for almost twenty five years.

My current research explores four areas:

1.    Algorithms for digital coherent transceivers. Research is focused on synchronisation and equalisation algorithms for digital coherent receivers, including both reduced complexity and fast algorithms that are able to converge and recover the data in < 200 ns.

2.    Ultra-dense passive optical networks. The target is to offer uncontended 10GbE and beyond to the home, employing coherent detection for sensitivity improvements and frequency selectivity. Recent research has focused on simplifying the subscriber side receiver, for example employing Alamouti coding with heterodyne detection to reduced the number of required receivers from 4 to just 1.

3.    Statistical optical communication system design. This research area includes probabilistic design and the investigation of rare (but catastrophic) events on optical fibre communication systems.

4.    Cognitive optical networks. With the creation of software defined transceivers, cognitive optical networks emerge in which the flexibility and intelligence imbued on the transceiver is utilised to improved the performance of the network, for example increasing capacity and/or resilience. Key research challenges include determining the capacity of a nonlinear optical network and the optimal abstraction of the physical layer for a software defined network orchestrator. 

Teaching activity

Part IA Mathematical Methods (fast stream)

Part IIB Module Leader and Lecturer for 4B23 Optical Fibre Communication

Cohort leader for the Integrated Electrical Project

College supervisions for IA paper 3 (Electrical & Information Engineering) and IA paper 4 (Mathematical Methods)

Other positions

  • Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge
  • Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (FIEEE) for contributions to digital coherent transceivers for optical fiber communication
  • Fellow of the Optical Society (FOSA) for contributions to digital coherent transceivers for optical fiber communication
  • Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (FIET)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • Chartered Engineer (CEng) registered with Engineering Council U.K.
  • Chair of the Steering Committee for the Optical Fiber Communication (OFC) Conference (having previously served as a General Chair of OFC in 2015 and a Program Chair of OFC in 2013)
  • Member of the Board of Governors for the IEEE Photonics Society