• School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University

      B4 7ET Birmingham

      United Kingdom

    1995 …2021

    Research activity per year

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    Personal profile


    General Info

    I started my research career at Aston in 1994 as a PhD student studying high speed optical telecommunications in the early days of what would become the world renowned Photonics Research Group.

    After graduating in 1997 I continued this work at Aston as a Post Doc. In May 2002 along with co-workers, I left the university to form a spin-out project Marconi-Solstis to commercialise our research work.


    I was a Senior Development Engineer on this project working on system design, test and field installation. Following the first field deployment of our 1.6Tb/s 3000km system I continued with Marconi as Photonic System Test Manager.

    In March 2005 I came back to Aston as a Lecturer and resumed my research career and began my academic teaching career.

     Research Info

    My current research interests are still in the field of optical fibre communications with the emphais on wideband optical communications, particularly using Raman amplification. I have been a Principle & Co-investigator on EPSRC & EU funded grants in this field as well as leading industrially funded research projects. Since starting at Aston as a member of academic staff in 2005 I have supervised 8 PhD students to completion of their research degrees and published extensively. 

     Teaching Info

    My teaching has covered a wide range of topics and academic levels from fundamentals of Physics as part of our foundation year to MSc level Optical Communications. In all my taught modules I put a strong emphasis on practical work, trying to pass on as much of my experience as a lab based engineer/scientist as possible.

    Since 2014 I've also had the role of Undergraduate Programme Director leading the teaching delivery team for our Electronic Engineering programmes and developing new versions of these to keep our teaching industrially and academically relevant.


    Other Positions

    I was a founding member of the Aston University Engineering Academy ( auea.co.uk )Pre-opening Board and have been a member of the Board of Governors since the academy opened. I am now in my third term of office & chair both the Disciplinary & Exclusions Appeals Board and the Learning & Progress Forum.


    Research Interests

    High Speed Optical Communications

    Wide Bandwidth Optical Fibre Amplification

    Raman Amplifiers & Lasers

    Nonlinear Optics

    Teaching Activity

    Foundations of Physics & Engineering (SE0PSF)

    Digital Media Science (EE1MED)

    Communication Systems (EE2CSY)

    Analogue Electronics (EE2AEL)

    Automation, Measurement and Data Processing (EE3AMD)

    Digital Transmissions and Communication Systems (EE3DDT)

    Optical Communications Systems (EE3OCS/EE402A)


    • PhD (Long Distance Dispersion Managed Soliton Transmission Experiments), Aston University, 1997

    • MSc (with distinction), University of St. Andrews, 1993

    • BSc (First Class Honours), University of Glasgow, 1992


    • 2005 – present: Lecturer then Reader, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University

    • 2000 – 2003: Senior Development Engineer/Manager Photonic System Test, Marconi Systems (Solstis)

    • 1997 – 2001: Post Doctoral Research Assistant, Aston University

    Contact Details

    Room:  NW523
    Phone:  0121 204 3525 
    Email:  p.harper@aston.ac.uk


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