Bristol Optical Student's Society (BOSS) and QETLabs researchers show off the power of optical fibres and photonic crystals to local school children at the new UnitDX facility, Bristol's new science incubator.

This time, the very first members of the public visiting UnitDX's sparkling new laboratories were neither local officials nor scientists, but children from local schools coming to discover how science will be used to engineer their futures. Arriving two days before the official opening of the site, the children had the opportunity explore a number of different exhibits, from donning VR headsets to interactive play with molecules, to lab coats for chromatography. 

At the event, students from Bristol Optical Students Society (BOSS) and QETLabs presented demonstrations of the fundamental concepts underpinning the cutting-edge research of the University of Bristol quantum photonics group. Their first demo displayed the apparent "magic" of optical fibres, completely trapping light inside without the need of a single mirror. By creating optical fibres of water, the students saw how light can be bent around corners and how this is used in fibre broadband to create super fast internet broadband speeds. Next students discovered the beauty of butterflies' iridescence from naturally-occurring photonic crystals. The students witnessed an experiment showing an effective stretching of these crystals through applying ethanol to a real specimen's wing and witnessed the colour transform from blue to green and back again before their own eyes.

"The children were absolutely fascinated by the workshops put on by BOSS. They were so engaged in the activities and had lots of questions to ask. From microscopes and laser beams to fibre optics and refraction, thank you for expanding their vocabularies and interest in science. What a great way to celebrate British Science Week at Unit DX." - UnitDX

BOSS and QETLabs researchers would like to thank UnitDX for hosting both the demonstrators and children for this unique event.

For more information about the event and the new UnitDX science incubator, visit


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