I originally began my foray into photonics during the summer after the third year of my undergraduate degree in UCC physics. Under the supervision of the III-V materials group, part of IPIC, I helped in creating a setup to angularly resolve the far fields of different lasers. Following on from this, in the final year of my undergraduate degree, this setup allowed me to continue my research with the III-V Materials group studying the divergence of different lateral laser modes in multimode lasers as they propagated in both the near and far field. Now, in the midst of my PhD I continue my studies under IPIC, this time joining the Integrated Photonics Group with the goal of creating a high speed externally modulated laser suitable for integration on silicon. My current studies range from material optimizations, to laser simulations and device fabrication, with each aspect offering their own unique challenges and solutions, which thankfully manages to make every day interesting.