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Fire Damages Optoelectronics Research Centre in UK

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On the morning of Oct. 30, a fire partially destroyed the Mountbatten Building on the Highfield Campus of the University of Southampton in the UK. No one was reported injured or missing as a result of the fire.

Opened in 1991, the building houses research laboratories and offices for the Optoelectronics Research Centre, the School of Electronics and Computer Science and the microelectronics fabrication facility that is operated by the spin-off company Innos.

The center reported that it has lost a number of laboratories as well as lathes, fiber drawing towers, and other process and fabrication equipment. Although several offices were damaged by fire or water, most of the intellectual property has been recovered. The network systems and many of the desktop computers were backed up or unharmed. Many of the research postgraduates on PhD programs have lost work, and the center and the university are committed to getting them back on track, through financial and supervisory support.

The university has pledged to rebuild the facilities and to minimize the impact on current research and teaching. Other organizations have offered support and facilities. Replacing the damaged quarters and the equipment is expected to cost approximately $87 million.

Photonics Spectra
Dec 2005
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