Integrated Photonic Materials and Devices

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

Abstract

This platform grant will underpin integrated photonics research in advanced laser sources, photonic circuits, and sensors, at the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton, leveraging the recent investment of >£100M in the new Mountbatten Fabrication Complex. Photonic materials and device research has been the key driver of many disruptive advances in telecommunications, healthcare, data storage, display and manufacturing, and this platform grant will provide the group with the horizon and stability to build upon its international standing to explore new high-risk, high-reward research avenues.

Integrated photonic materials and devices of the future will play a huge role in the next generation of cheaper, faster, greener, disposable, miniaturised and more versatile systems based on silica and silicon, glasses, crystal and polymer hosts, in both channel and planar geometries. The broad range of expertise within our group and our access to the unequalled brand-new planar fabrication facilities will allow us to fully explore this diverse research area. Impact will be realised through applications in compact kW-class waveguide lasers (new manufacturing techniques), pollution sensors (monitoring climate change), optical amplifiers and switches (high-speed data control), early threat detection devices (homeland security), and fast universally accessible disease screening (point-of-care medical diagnostics).

Applications for the photonic materials, processes and devices developed during this platform grant will play a key role in fields of interest to society, Industry as well as university-based research and development, and will be pursued in collaboration with both existing and newly-identified partners during the programme.

Planned Impact

Photonics is an underpinning technology which exploits light in applications from optical communications to chemical analysis and from data processing to precision machining. Integrated photonics aims to bring the same advantages of mass-manufacture of complex photonic systems at low cost that integrated electronics and the silicon chip brought to complex electronic systems. Where integrated electronics enabled all-pervasive consumer products such as the mobile phone, integrated photonics will impact consumer applications such as fibre-to-the-home and personal health monitoring. This project will establish a platform of advanced materials, processes and devices which will benefit:

Manufacturing industry by providing advanced materials processing techniques for photonic devices, compact high-power lasers for cutting and welding, and instrumentation for monitoring in food and drink processing,

IT systems providers and users through providing low-power integrated photonic circuits for application in fibre-to-the-home and devices such as all-optical frequency convertors for signal routing and compact optical amplifiers,

Society and regulatory bodies through optical sources for mapping greenhouse gases and monitoring water and atmospheric pollutants,

Healthcare services and the public through providing multisensor devices for infectious disease screening, hospital superbugs and markers for heart disease and genetic predisposition to disease,

Security services and military personnel by providing lightweight, compact, robust sources for standoff detection of chemical and biological species and microchips for precise specific analysis of biohazards,

Standards organisations by realising novel devices for metrology.

The potential economic impact will be realised by turning our ideas and technological advances into end-products through collaboration with new and existing industrial partners, and though spin-out activity as already pioneered by several of the investigators who have set up companies to commercialise their planar technologies. The impact for society will be pursued through continuing collaboration with government agencies, hospitals and standards bodies.
 
Description We have been exploring a wide array of materials fabrication techniques for optical devices and applications, where the key parameters are cost, size and functionality. The materials can be glass, crystal, polymer, semiconductor or insulator, and one of the main objectives of the grant was to combine such materials to produce optimised devices that have increased functionality. The work in this platform grant has spanned optics, sensing, quantum technology, healthcare, laser devices, integrated optics, biophotonics and more, and has lead to the successful funding of many follow on grants from EPSRC and other RCUK bodies.
Exploitation Route The outputs of the grant will be taken up by industry, other academic researchers and manufacturing companies in sectors that include healthcare, security, sensing, biotechnology, defence and the digital economy. In addition, we are hoping to start a spin-out in the area of laser-written paper-based diagnostics for point-of-care rapid diagnostics which would produce jobs and wealth creation for the UK
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Security and Diplomacy

URL http://www.orc.soton.ac.uk/people.html?person=rwe
 
Description We have published extensively as a group, and our findings have fed forward into further substantial grant successes from RCUK, the EU and industry. We are also intending to start a spin-out based on work that was supported by this grant and this will likely be accomplished in 2016
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description EPSRC call
Amount £701,030 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N018281/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2015 
End 03/2019
 
Description EPSRC fellowship scheme in manufacturing - awarded to a researcher co-I emplyed on this grant
Amount £861,709 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N03368X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2016 
End 10/2021
 
Description EPSRC standard grant
Amount £894,915 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N004388/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2015 
End 10/2018
 
Description European Office of Aerospace Res & Dev.
Amount £21,000 (GBP)
Funding ID FA8655-11-1-3059 
Organisation European Office of Aerospace Research & Development (EOARD) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description HIPS 2017
Amount £773,734 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P025757/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2020
 
Description Manufactruing with Light 2
Amount £586,822 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N004388/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2015 
End 10/2018
 
Description Manufacturing with light
Amount £292,332 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/L021390/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2014 
End 09/2015
 
Description E6 
Organisation De Beers Group
Department Element Six
Country Luxembourg 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We used samples they provided for our laser-processing work where we machined intricate micron-sized lettering and codes onto diamond surfaces
Collaborator Contribution They provided samples for us to experiment with
Impact Publications resulted, but the company was unwilling to enter into any further dialogue due, we believe, to the extreme sensitivity of the international diamond market
Start Year 2015
 
Description EOARD 
Organisation European Office of Aerospace Research & Development (EOARD)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Many talks and meetings, both in the UK and the US over aspects of their intention to improve their pulsed laser deposition set-ups.
Collaborator Contribution As well as a directly injection of funding, they also analysed some films we had grown as part of this research grant.
Impact Several papers and publications as listed separately under the publications list
Start Year 2014
 
Description Elforlight 
Organisation Elforlight Limited
PI Contribution We have interacted with this company in a project to make thin film lasers, and they donated a laser source to us as part of the project. We used this and acknowledged their inputs and contributions in our paper acknowledgements
Collaborator Contribution It was a donation of a laser source that let us evaluate our samples much more effieicntly.
Impact outputs were in the form of publications and hence acknowledgments. they are also now part of a steering group for our follow-on project, under a new EPSRC grant.
Start Year 2014
 
Title Manufacture of fluid flow device involves providing stack comprising a set of layers made of porous material and impregnated with radiation-sensitive substance, and applying radiation to change state of radiation-sensitive substance 
Description A fluid flow device is manufactured by providing a stack comprising a set of layers, where greater than or equal to 1 of the layers is made of porous material and a part of greater than or equal to 1 layer is impregnated with radiation-sensitive substance; and applying radiation on a part of the stack to change the radiation-sensitive substance from a 1st state to a 2nd state through a part of the thickness of the stack. 
IP Reference WO2017207958-A1 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2017
Licensed No
Impact We are intending to form a spinout based on this technology and this patent, which is first of a series of three filed