NANOPHOTONICS: from fundamentals to real life applications (EPSRC Sponsored UK-Taiwan Collaboration Program for Success through People)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Optoelectronics Research Centre

Abstract

The new field of Nanophotonics emerges when we force light to interact with nano-structures, artificial matter engineered and arranged on the scale of only billionths of a meter. Crossing the quantum bridge between nano and photonics produces a remarkable range of new materials and phenomena. Nanophotonics promises captivating new fundamental physics, and new mind-blowing applications in low power, ultra-small devices performing at the quantum edge in a wide range of technologies, from information processing, telecommunications and data storage to defence-related monitoring, security, medicine and biotechnologies. It is simply astonishing how fast new ideas in Nanophotonics find industrial followers. The stakes in fields where Nanophotonics could be applied are high, and their potential technological and social impact is immense. There are two topics in the nanophotonics agenda that that are most relevant to the proposed collaboration - nanoscale phase change switching functionality and plasmonics and nanoscale concentration of light.The proposed grant aims to facilitate a long-term and high-profile collaboration between leading research groups in the UK and Taiwan in the filed of Nanophotonics. In the modern world, where research and development are rapidly being globalized and outsourced, there is a real shift of research activities from the traditional powerhouses of the West to industrial countries with good educational systems, cheap labour and a favourable economic climate. Evidence of such changes can be seen in the relocation of key research centres of international blue-chip companies to the new industrial nations. This presents a challenge to the UK research base that can best be addressed by taking a central role in this new worldwide reality and establishing mutually beneficial R&D collaborations with the new players. Although relatively small in comparison with Japan and China, and for historic reasons partially politically isolated, Taiwan has for many years had a very dynamic economy and an excellent education system. Colleges and universities in Taiwan have some of the highest rates of enrolment in the world. National Taiwan University (the proposed partner) is widely recognized as one of the best universities in Asia. The Taiwanese government has launched the Challenge 2008 National Development Plan, with the goal of making Taiwan the best R&D location in Asia by attracting international R&D personnel and introducing R&D resources from around the world. It is providing US$1.43 billion in loans for R&D, cultivating the necessary personnel locally by establishing academic institutions specialising in key areas (such as IC design, information and communications technologies and digital content), encouraging cooperation among industry, academia, and research organizations, establishing innovation and R&D centres, and promoting key research for the acquisition of core industrial technologies. In response to such proactive government policies, international blue-chip companies such as Intel (Innovation Centre), Hewlett-Packard, IBM (Life Sciences Centre of Excellence), Siemens, Dell, and Sony have recently established research centres in Taiwan. Today Taiwan is a powerhouse high-tech exporter and in many ways a truly modern economy, freeing itself from the nationalist's agenda and establishing new contacts and working relations with China.Unfortunately, research collaboration activities between UK and Taiwan institutions are currently not very well developed. Therefore, the key element of novelty in this proposal is the establishment of a new high-profile research link with what promises to be a one of the most important high-tech nations of the future.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description National Taiwan University 
Organisation National Taiwan University
Country Taiwan, Province of China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Complementary research expertise and facilities
Collaborator Contribution Complementary research expertise and facilities
Impact 23 journal articles; 35 conference papers
Start Year 2007