• School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University

    B4 7ET Birmingham

    United Kingdom

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Personal profile


John Williams received his B.Sc in Physics in 1986 and PhD on the development, characterisation and optimisation of various new mode-locked laser sources in 1990 from Imperial College of Science and Technology, London.

He joined the Photonics Research group at Aston University at it's beginning in 1992. He was instrumental in building up the research laboratories for the group focusing initially on researching the generation and transmission of dark solitons before eventually moving over to investigate the design, fabrication and application of In-Fibre Bragg Grating Devices. He was made a Reader in 2000, was responsible for establishing microwave photonics as a new research area withing the group developing techniques for the optical processing and control of sub-carrier multiplexed microwave signals for use in femtocell communication networks.He has authored and co-authored over 130 journal and conference papers in photonics related fields.

In 2000 he became programme director for the Telecommunications related Masters Programmes in the Electronic Engineering department, leading the doubling  of student numbers by introducing new programmes and new modes of delivery such as distance learning using the internet. 

In January 2017 he lead the development of the ``Embedded Electronic System Design and Development Engineer'' Level 6 degree apprenticeship programme, the first workplace based programme in the department, with the first students joining this programme in September 2017.

Since 2017 he has been the Head of the Electrical, Electronic and Power Engineering Department in the School of Engineering at Aston University and is leading the department through significant changes in the provision of courses to further improve their industrial relevance, efficiency of delivery and to enable the department to react with more agility to changing trends.

Administrative Roles

Head of Department for Electrical, Electronic and Power Engineering

Teaching Activity


  • EE2IDD: Intermediate Digital Design
  • EE1CPS: Computational Problem Solving
  • EE3PRJ/EE4PRJ/AP3IFP: Final Year Individual Project


  • EE4019: Masters Project Preparation
  • EE4006: Masters Project
  • EE2SSM: Sequential State Machines
  • EE4044: Distributed Network Applications
  • EE7003/EE3WSN: Wireless Sensor networks
  • EE4000: Telecommunications Perspectives
  • EE401B/EE3DTR/EE4DTR: Digital Transmission
  • EE4008: Internet Applications
  • EP340: Digital Telecommunications
  • EP380: Optoelectronics
  • EE580: Data Communications
  • EEM01A: Teletraffic Theory
  • EE520: Modulation
  • EE500: Information Theory and Coding

Membership of Professional Bodies

CEng, FIET: Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) 
CPhys; MIOP: Chartered Physicist, Member of the Institute of Physics 
SFHEA: Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 
ARCS: Associate of the Royal College of Science

Professional/editorial offices

  • IET Academic Accreditor
  • IET Fellow Assessor


Research Interests

As a member of the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT) his research interests include the design and fabrication of in-fibre Bragg Gratings and their application as sensors, for the control of ultrashort optical pulses and for the processing and control of sub-carrier multiplexed microwave signals. His current focus is to establish Aston and AIPT as a world leading university laboratory in the fabrication and application of Fibre Bragg Gratings.

He also has interests in ultralow power wireless sensor networks - using theoretical, experimental and CAD design techniques used to investigate novel architectures and protocols through to implementation on hardware and field trials. He has a particular interest in developing simulation and test bed frameworks to robustly compare and measure the bounds on reliability and responsiveness for wireless sensor networks including both physical process and realistic radio channel models with an aim to extend the applicability of WSN to meet safety critical application requirements.



  • 1999 Pg. Cert. in Teaching and Learning , Aston University
  • 1990 Ph.D, Femtosecond Optics Group, Physics, Imperial College
  • 1986 B.Sc. Hon. in Physics., Physics Department, Imperial College

Contact Details

Phone Number: 0121 204 3543
Email: J.A.R.Williams@aston.ac.uk


  • TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
  • Internet of Things
  • Fibre Bragg Gratings
  • Microwave Photonics
  • Optical Sensing

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where John Williams is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Fiber Bragg gratings Engineering & Materials Science
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fibers Physics & Astronomy
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gratings Physics & Astronomy
Transversal filters Engineering & Materials Science
Optical fibers Engineering & Materials Science
filters Physics & Astronomy

Research Output 1994 2019

Multichannel fiber Bragg grating for temperature field monitoring

Gbadebo, A., Turitsyna, E., Williams, J. A., Zhang, L., Sun, Y., Zhang, W., Yan, Z., Sun, Q. & Liu, D., 7 Jan 2019, In : Optics Express. 27, 2, p. 461-469 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Bragg gratings
temperature distribution
spatial resolution
Open Access
Bragg gratings
line spectra

Experimental demonstration of real-time correction of writing errors during fibre-Bragg grating fabrication

Gbadebo, A., Turitsyna, E. & Williams, J., 8 Sep 2016, Photonics and Fiber Technology 2016 (ACOFT, BGPP, NP). Optical Society of America, BTh1B.2

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Fiber Bragg gratings
Open Access
Fiber Bragg gratings
Bragg gratings

Experimental comparison of differing design approaches for multichannel fibre Bragg gratings

Gbadebo, A. A., Turitsyna, E. G. & Williams, J. A. R., 2015, The European Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics 2015. Optical Society of America, paper CE_1_4

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Advanced FBG fabrication for challenging applications

Author: Walters, S., 11 Mar 2019

Supervisor: Turitsyna, E. (Supervisor) & Williams, J. A. R. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy


Aspects of signal transduction in the gastrointestinal tract

Author: Williams, J. M., Jan 1994

Supervisor: Hanson, P. J. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Exploitation of fibre characteristics in temperature sensing and radio-over-fibre applications

Author: Won, P. C., Sep 2005

Supervisor: Williams, J. A. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Fibre bragg gratings for microwave photonics and sensing

Author: Yu, G., Jul 2002

Supervisor: Williams, J. A. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Unsteady flow in open channel networks

Author: Williams, J., 1974

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy