Nano- and Micro-scale Integration of Glass-on-Semiconductor for Photonic Components Engineering

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Institute of Materials Research


The proposed Basic Technology project aims to achieve a quantum leap in integration techniques for photonic devices by developing and using a range of micro- and nano-scale engineering tools for chemically dissimilar photonic materials; e.g. the glass-based materials with inorganic semiconductors. We anticipate that new tools will have a major impact on existing and emerging photonic components space used from ultra-violet to mid-IR. Potential applications, which we aim to demonstrate, are in signal processing for telecommunications, mid-IR sources and chemical and biological sensor technology, bio-photonics and imaging, space exploration and environment monitoring, data storage, security and military. The Basic Technology consortium comprises of 4 thematic areas / Materials Engineering and passive waveguide devices, Optoelectronic pump sources, Active Devices, and Applications. Complementary research for these 4 areas brings together a multi-disciplinary team encompassing Materials, Optics and Laser Physics, Optoelectronic and Photonic Devices, and the Medical Science and Chemicals Technology. Internationally well-known academic expertise from Leeds (IMR, IMP), Sheffield (EE), Cambridge (Photonic Systems), Heriot-Watt (Nonlinear Optics) and St.Andrews (Physics and Bute Medical School) Universities will demonstrate the key objectives, derived from the photonic integration of glass and inorganic semiconductor materials. The Basic Technology Programme is led by the University of Leeds and is supported by partners from industry, namely BP Chemicals, Renishaw, GlaxoSmithKline, QinetiQ, and NASA Langley (VA, USA).


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Description The outcomes of this research demonstrated several new technologies which have been patented:
a) Use of ultra fast laser induced plasma for modifying the surface of glass, crystals, polymers and semiconductors which has resulted in the development of technologies for integrated optics and novel optical circuits for transporting light from one material into another materials.
b) Applications of this technology for blood glucose monitoring and biochemical sensor development.
c) Technology transfer for advanced laser glass processing to Glass Technology Services in Chapeltown Sheffield. This is a joint venture operation with more than £350K investment between the University of Leeds and Glass Technology Services.
d) Use of ultra fast lasers for restoring tooth enamel.
Exploitation Route The research findings from the RCUK funded research have taken different courses:
a) blood glucose monitoring has now spun out as a new company called the GLUCOSENSE supported by NetScientific UK in Cambridge. The project is led by Prof. Gin Jose, a newly appointed professor who was formerly Senior Research Fellow in the Basic Technology project. The investment from NetScientific in Glucosense is more than £300K with an aim to launch first prototype in 2016. Patient trials using NON-INVASIVE BLOOD GLUCOSE MONITOR is currently ongoing.

b) IP portfolio on laser induced implantation technology has been built with the support from Impact Acceleration funding and and discussion with stakeholders are ongoing.

c) Application of ultra fast lasers for the restoration of tooth and bone implant are progressing for technology development with EPSRC funded (EP/K020234/1), EU funded MC-IAPP, and a TSB funded projects. Two IP were generated and they were filed, one of which has now entered international examination phase.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)




including Industrial Biotechology

Description In the Basic Technology project non-invasive blood glucose sensing was developed, as a consequence of the discovery of laser ion implantation. We have generated 2 patents which have now licensed to NetScientific Limited for commercialisation. A new company has been formed with more than £300K cash injection. . Patient trials have begun after a successful feasibility study in an NiHR funded project between May 2010 and August 2011. The exploitation aims to demonstrate the use of eyesafe lasers operating at 1500-2000 nm range for non-invasive blood glucose monitoring transcutaneously. Other metabolites and biomarkers are also included. For laser glass fabrication, the Joint Venture operation with Glass Technology Services has now developed the technology for Er(3+)-doped laser glass gain medium materials which is being discussed for TRL 6-8 level investment. Applications of lasers in dentistry and implants were also demonstrated. I-UK grant was won (Ref: TS/L004070/1). A new mode-locked laser project is led by GTS to support the development and potential exploitation of near-IR lasers by industry partners (TS/P013449/1). EP/M015165/1 and EP/M022854/1 research grants were won in Nov 2014, in which I have a co-I role in the area of materials.
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Societal

Description EPSRC-IMPACT
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Funding ID IMPACT (University of Leeds) 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2012 
End 12/2012
Description EPSRC-LUMIN Project
Amount £997,424 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K020234/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2013 
End 12/2016
Description Glucosense studentship
Amount £120,000 (GBP)
Organisation Netscientific UK 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2013 
End 09/2016
Description INNOVATE UK (LIGHT-Miles)
Amount £68,998 (GBP)
Funding ID TS/K000977/1 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2012 
End 11/2013
Description Lasers for Industrial Processing
Amount £24,936 (GBP)
Funding ID TS/L007800/1 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2014 
End 03/2015
Description NIHR Research for Patient Benefit
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Funding ID II-FS-0909-13095 
Organisation National Institute for Health Research 
Department Research for Patient Benefit
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2010 
End 07/2011
Description Office of Naval Research
Amount $40,000 (USD)
Funding ID N68335-11-C-0035 
Organisation US Navy 
Department US Office of Naval Research Global
Sector Academic/University
Country United States
Start 01/2011 
End 09/2011
Description Optimus phase-I (IAA)
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Leeds 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2014 
End 12/2014
Description Pilot Manufacturing with Ultrafast Laser Plasma Implantation (ULPI)
Amount £1,202,992 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/M022854/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2015 
End 05/2016
Description Smart Proof of Market
Amount £25,000 (GBP)
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2013 
End 03/2014
Description ULTRA-GLASS
Amount £730,000 (GBP)
Funding ID TS/P013449/1 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2017 
End 07/2019
Description Ultrafast Laser Plasma Implantation- Seamless Integration of Functional Materials for Advanced Photonics
Amount £2,483,247 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/M015165/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2015 
End 03/2019
Description UoL-industry PoC funding
Amount £135,000 (GBP)
Organisation Netscientific UK 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2012 
End 09/2013
Description YSF-Innovation Award
Amount £69,990 (GBP)
Funding ID YCF-2009 
Organisation Yorkshire Forward 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2010 
End 04/2011
Title ULPI pilot manufacturing facility 
Description A new manufacturing tool for femtosecond laser plasma implantation on large area substrates 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact New materials platform for Ultramatis Ltd, sensor materials for Glucosense. Other impacts are in progress. 
Description GTS secondment (IAA funded) 
Organisation Glass Technology Services
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Dr. Billy Richards was seconded to GTS (courtesy of IAA-KTS funding) to transfer knowledge on novel mid-infrared transmitting glasses to contribute to GTS' portfolio of expertise and research and development activities. Experimental work was carried out to scale up production of glasses based on research conducted in IMR, (SCAPE, UoL). This work resulted in JV spin out company Glass Manufacturing Services successfully bidding for TSB (Innovate UK) SMART PoM funding to assess the infrared materials market, and also forms a major strand of GTS' planned submission for AMSCI funding to create a UK centre of high-tech glass research and manufacturing.
Collaborator Contribution GTS provided expertise on general glass manufacture and characterisation as well as personnel and facilities for scale-up manufacturing trials of novel mid-infrared transmitting glasses.
Impact TSB SMART PoM funding. Planned AMSCI funding proposal (Dec '14 submission)
Start Year 2013
Description GTS secondment (industry funded) 
Organisation Glass Technology Services
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Dr. Billy Richards conducted a secondment to GTS (funded by GTS) to engage with the companies general research and development activities bringing knowledge and experience gained at IMR (SCAPE, UoL). This involved a wide range of glass based research conducted as part of GTS' grant funded projects in areas including Health and Defence & Security and Photonics.
Collaborator Contribution Knowledge transfer was two-way, providing Dr. Richards with knowledge and experience of new research activities and directions.
Impact Innovate UK funded project "BrightSlice" TS/L007800/1
Start Year 2013
Title Composition 
Description The present invention relates to a photosensitive composition comprising synthetic nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite or a synthetic precursor thereof doped with a rare earth ion, the use of the composition in restorative or cosmetic dentistry, a process for preparing the composition and a method of generating an image of an exposed dentinal surface of a tooth. 
IP Reference WO2012046082 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2012
Licensed Commercial In Confidence
Impact New EPSRC and EU grants for developing technology for preclinical translation have been received.
Title GLASS 
Description The present invention relates to a dysprosium-doped tellurite or germanate glass characterised by a fluorescence peak in the mid-IR spectrum. 
IP Reference WO2014147398 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2014
Licensed Yes
Impact Based on this patent, the licensee is planning to submit a proposal for AMSCI funding to develop a manufacturing capability for the glass described in this patent.
Company Name VitriTech 
Description VitriTech manufactures phosophate glass and other glass products for the medical sector. 
Year Established 2010 
Impact Technology for laser gain manufacturing has been licensed to this company from the University of Leeds.
Description Visit to Verbier in Switzerland in December and meeting the Net Scientific Group and business people for discussion on applications of lasers in medicine in general. We discussed the applications of lasers in non-invasive blood glucose monitoring. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The discussion group was split into diagnostics, patient care and investment opportunities. Research on non-invasive blood glucose monitoring was represented in all three groups, and the feedback was included in the business development plan of GLUCOSENSE which was formed earlier in the summer 2014, six months after the meeting in Switzerland took place.

A Spin out (GLUCOSENSE) has now been formed with £500K support from Net Scientific Ltd in Cambridge and Prof. Gin Jose is a CTO of this company and AJ is non-executive member and shareholder.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013