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Stephen Mihailov

Roles and responsibilities

Group Leader – Fibre Photonics, Security and Disruptive Technologies Research Centre - Personnel manager for group of 7 scientists, engineers and technologists.

Resource Sensing Thrust Leader, Quantum Photonics Security and Sensing Program (QPSS) - Leader for resource sensing thrust in NRC's QPSS Program. Leading team of 8 scientists developing new diagnostics based on nonlinear optics and sensing components based on optical fibre technology. Leading projects focused on ultrafast laser inscription of fibre Bragg grating (FBG) technology for harsh environment sensing.

Current research and/or projects

Development of fibre optic sensors for harsh environments, ultrafast laser induced fiber Bragg gratings, laser-material processing

Research and/or project statements

  • Physics of ultrafast laser-material interactions are exploited to fabricate Bragg gratings in standard and exotic optical fiber for sensing and telecommunication applications. 
  • Processes and techniques are developed which are transferred to industry
  • Fiber Bragg gratings as sensors in harsh environments are studied for applications in the energy, aerospace and defense sectors.


B.Sc. (Hons.) Physics, Carleton University, 1986

Ph.D. Physics, York University, Toronto, 1992

Professional activities/interests

Adjunct professor, University of Ottawa


Fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA)

Senior Member Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)

Member of the Society for Photonic and Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)


  • Fellowship from the Optical Society of America (2013)
  • NASA Tech Brief Award (2006)
  • Canadian Public Service Award (2006)
  • National Capital Institute of Telecommunications (NCIT) “Under 40” Award for Researchers in Photonics (2004)

Inventions and patents

20 granted and 5 pending US patents on fiber optic components and sensors based on fiber Bragg gratings. Some of these patents have been licensed nationally and internationally.

Key publications

see Google Scholar Page for full listing of publications and patents:

Selected publications:

1.            D. Grobnic, C. Hnatovsky and S. J. Mihailov, “Spectral degradation of Type II π-phase-shifted fiber Bragg gratings due to femtosecond laser induced loss,” Opt. Express 27(2), 1507-1519 (2019).

2.            J. Liu, P. Lu, S.J. Mihailov, M. Wang and J. Yao, “A real-time random grating sensor array for quasi-distributed sensing based on wavelength-to-time mapping and time-division multiplexing,” Opt. Lett. 44(2), 379-382 (2019).

3.            C. Hnatovsky, D. Grobnic and S. J. Mihailov, “Birefringent p-phase-shifted fiber Bragg gratings for sensing at 1000°C fabricated using an infrared femtosecond laser and a phase mask,” J. Lightwave Technol. 36(23), 5697-5703 (2018).

5.            Y. Xu, L. Chen, L.Zhang, P. Lu, S. Mihailov, X. Bao, “Time-delay signature concealed broadband gain-coupled chaotic laser with fiber random grating induced distributed feedback,” Opt. Las. Technol. 109, 654-658 (2019).

7.            C. Hnatovsky, D. Grobnic, S.J. Mihailov, “High-temperature stable p-phase shifted fiber Bragg gratings inscribed using infrared femtosecond pulses and a phase mask,” Opt. Express 26(18), 23550-23564 (2018).

8.            M.A.S. Zaghloul, M. Wang, S. Huang, C. Hnatovsky, D. Grobnic, S. Mihailov, M.-J. Li, D. Carpenter, L.-W. Hu, J. Daw, K.P. Chen, “Radiation resistant fiber Bragg grating in random air-line fibers for sensing applications in nuclear reactor cores,” Opt. Express 26(9), 11775-11786 (2018).

9.            L. Zhang, Y. Xu, P. Lu, S. Mihailov, L. Chen, and X. Bao, “Multi-wavelength Brillouin random fiber laser via distributed feedback from a random fiber grating,” J. Lightwave Technol. 36(11), 2122-2128 (2018).

10.          P. Lu, S. J. Mihailov, H. Ding, D. Grobnic, R. Walker, D. Coulas, C. Hnatovsky, and A. Y. Naumov, “Plane-by-plane inscription of grating structures in optical fibers”, J. Lightwave Technol. 36 (4), 926-931 (2018).

11.          S.J. Mihailov, C. Hnatovsky, D. Grobnic, K. Chen, M.-J. Li, “Fabrication of Bragg gratings in random air-line clad microstructured optical fiber,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 30(2), 209-212, (2018).

12.          S.J. Mihailov, D. Grobnic, C. Hnatovsky, R.B. Walker, P. Lu, D. Coulas and H. Ding, “Extreme environment sensing using femtosecond laser inscribed fiber Bragg gratings,” Sensors 17(12), article 2909 (33 pages) (2017).

Previous work experience

Oct. 1996 — Apr.  2012

Communications Research Centre, Ottawa, ON

Acting Vice-President, Broadband Network Technologies, May 2011- Apr. 2012

  • Responsible for managing the budget and human resources of the branch: ~$1.2 million Operations and Maintenance (O&M), 67 personnel 

Research Program Manager                                           Mar. 2000 – Apr. 2012

  • Developed new research programs and efforts related to photonics and optical communications, specifically those exploiting photosensitivity for the development of passive and active optical components in optical fibers and waveguides.

Research Scientist

  • Performed R&D on fiber Bragg grating (FBG) optical technologies, transferred new developments to industry.

July 1994-Oct. 1996

JDS-Fitel Inc., Nepean, ON

Project Leader

  • Established company FBG fabrication facility, supervised 2 Ph.D. scientist, 1 engineer, 2 technicians

Jan. 1993 – June 1994
Exitech Limited, Oxford, U.K.
Post-Doctoral Researcher/Project Leader

  • Performed R&D on FBG optical technologies

Jan. 1992 – Jan. 1993
Université de Bordeaux I
Laboratoire de Photophysique et Photochimie Moléculaire, Bordeaux, France
Post-Doctoral Researcher

  • Studied excimer laser material interaction with polymers


International experience and/or work

Performed post-doctoral research for one year in France, and one and half years in the United Kingdom 1992 to 1994 (see above).

Stephen Mihailov

Principal Research Officer
Security and Disruptive Technologies
100 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R6
Preferred language: English
Telephone: 613-998-2721

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