Chalcogenide Photonic Technologies

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Abstract

Chalcogenides are materials based on metallic alloys of sulphur, selenium and/or tellurium. Although only formed into glasses for the first time in the 1950's, they emerged first in a new generation of CD's and DVD's where their ability to be formed into glass and crystalline structures allow information to be stored. This optical storage is based on changes of optical properties when a laser heats the chalcogenide material and converts it from crystalline to glass structure. This phase change effect is also being actively investigated for electronic memories ultimately aiming to replace present memory stick technology. Chalcogenides here offer vastly higher read and write rates, smaller memory cell size and improved stability over time.

In the proposed work, we are aiming to develop further optoelectronic applications of chalcogenides by exploiting and enhancing our expertise in depositing thin films of chalcogenide and subsequently forming light guides in these films. The confinement of light in the guides will enhance the guided light power and could lead to devices based on phase change as above. However the chalcogenides have much faster and stronger responses to light, which can be engineered to be extremely effective through the waveguide structure allowing us to develop ultra-high speed optical switch elements, devices for converting between light wavelengths (changing the 'colour') and quantum light sources emitting photons in 'spookily connected' entangled pairs . By doping our waveguides with transition metals we expect to make lasers at a significant number of new wavelengths, particularly in the infrared region. Chalcogenide glass has higher transmission at much longer wavelengths than conventional glasses extending the laser applications to eyesafe rangefinders for aerospace, chemical sensing and specialist medical sensors.

Planned Impact

Chalcogenides are one of the most active next generation material technogies now being developed. They revolutionized optical data storage through their use as a phase change memory material and are set to revolutionize electronic memory. Their dispersive nonlinearities, essential for high speed optical switching are higher than silicon and their recent realization in 2D layers, in forms such as molybdenum sulphide, suggest they provide a strong rival to graphene for electronic applications. This project represents a formal start to an existing collaboration between Bristol and Southampton and a commitment to expand the functionality of chalcogenides in photonics in order to provide impact at even more levels.

The proposal addresses an area of significant national importance and addresses several EPSRC priorities in Advanced Materials, Photonics for Future Systems, Towards an Intelligent Information Infrastructure, Quantum Technology hubs and physics grand challenges: Quantum Physics for new Quantum Technologies and Nanoscale Design of Functional Materials.
Our proposal will make a significant contribution to the training of two mid-career post-doctoral researchers, Dr Chung-Che Huang (ORC) and Dr Ying-Lung Ho (Bristol), who initiated our collaboration, made their significant contribution to writing the proposal, manage workpackages and co-supervise students. They will be mentored by Professors Hewak and Rarity. Other post-doctoral students and PhD students working in related areas will also benefit. We will support neighbouring Eastleigh College in training apprentice technicians.
Our proposal compliments that of several research groups in the UK and our results will feed into and the strengthen the UK foundation in this area. Quantum relevant results will be fed to quantum technology hubs on reaching sufficient technical maturity.

We will disseminate our results in high-impact journals and will present this interdisciplinary work at a wide range of conferences such as (E-)MRS (materials), CLEO and LEOS (optoelectronics), Semicon West and EPCOS (electronics), SPIE Photonics West (opto-semiconductors) and ICANS (amorphous semiconductors).
Results of the research will be exploited through the Research and Innovation Services (R&IS) group (ORC) and the Research & Enterprise Development Office (Bristol). We aim for the first technological outputs of this programme to demonstrate commercial potential by the end of the project and would look for routes to bring successful work to market. To this end we will focus on strengthening our links with future exploiters including our previous licensees: Ilika Technologies Ltd, Southampton Photonics (now SPI Lasers), and Bristol start ups QUMET Technologies (Bristol) and Venture Photonics. We will also pursue entrepreneurial and start-up activity with Set Squared, and the Bristol based Engine Shed 'hot house'.
 
Description Light interference in photonic crystals are the source of colour in many natural phenomenal including magpie wings, butterflies, cuttlefish and simple oil on water colours.
In this grant we aimed to manufacture 3D crystals in the near infrared spectral region for controlling transmission and reflection of light wavelengths technologically relevant to optical communications. We designed 3D and fabricated, using direct laser writing, polymer photonic crystals that can be back filled by chemical vapour deposition (CVD) of chalcogenide materials. Experimentally we started back-filling by atomic layer deposition and we see significant effects on the bandgap of the polymer crystals. By developing a novel low temperature CVD deposition process we were then able to directly backfill structures with high refractive index Tin sulfide (a chalcogenide) and achieved significant photonic light blocking and reflection effects, imaging the photonic bandstructure in a novel spectroscopic 'fourier' microscope.
In a side project we discovered a new way to stabilise Blue phase liquid crystals, crystals that reflect light in the visible. The method uses microstructures fabricated in our direct lser writing instrument (Nanoscribe Gmbh). This is a spin off from our original project goals but has led to a RS-MOST travel grant to exchange team members regularly with Taiwan.
This work has resulted directly more that 10 publications and innumerable conference publications.
Exploitation Route We expect our work in Blue phase crystals to have application in displays industry and we intend to write a follow on grant application.

2020: a follow on EPSRC grant achieved high marks from reviewers but missed the funding threshold at panel.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy

 
Description European Research Council
Amount £2,250,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 247462 QUOWSS 
Organisation European Research Council (ERC) 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 02/2010 
End 02/2015
 
Description Future Photonics Hub, Innovation Partnership Fund, Southampton University
Amount £10,000,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2018
 
Description RS-MOST travel grant 
Organisation National Cheng Kung University
Country Taiwan, Province of China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are characterising the light scattered by Blue phase liquid crystals and investigating the improved stability of crystals in microstructures fabricated in our two photon lithography sysem
Collaborator Contribution Providing Blue phase liguid crystal samples and collaborative advice
Impact We have discovered a new way to stabilise Blue phase liquid crystal and are writing a paper on this.
Start Year 2017
 
Description SOUTHAMPTON CHALCOGENIDE GROUP 
Organisation University of Southampton
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is a collaborative grant spanning two institutes. We are optical characterisation and device applications
Collaborator Contribution They are materials development, growth and fabrication
Impact This grant is an outcome of an informal collaboration dating back to 2007
Start Year 2007
 
Description BQIT (Bristol Quantum Information Technologies) Workshop 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The BQIT (Bristol Quantum Information Technologies) Workshop presents a programme of speakers and panellists bringing together recent and current events and research from the emerging field of Quantum Technology.

Since the workshop's conception in 2014 they have had 143 speakers and panellists who have presented their work and opinions on a range of topics from Quantum Sensing and Metrology to Quantum Communications and Networks, Quantum Algorithms to Quantum Hardware and Quantum Computation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017
URL http://www.bristol.ac.uk/physics/research/quantum/conferences/bqit-workshop/
 
Description BQIT (Bristol Quantum Information Technologies) Workshop 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact This is the annual quantum information workshop organised by Bristol, chared again this year by Prof John Rarity
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.flickr.com/photos/cqpbristol/sets/72157694318687751
 
Description BQIT (Bristol Quantum Information Technologies) Workshop 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact International workshop on quantum information technologies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.bristol.ac.uk/physics/research/quantum/conferences/bqit-workshop/
 
Description BQIT2019 1-3April 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact 150 attendees to BQIT 2019. Promoted research in Bristol and created new relationships with external parties
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.bristol.ac.uk/physics/research/quantum/conferences/bqit-workshop/
 
Description Cheltenham Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact About the Science Festival
How long is a piece of string? What makes the world turn? And why does chocolate taste so good? From the state of the planet, to the latest stem cell research, to the secrets of the perfect cup of tea - nothing is off limits at Cheltenham Science Festival. We'll be joined by some of the world's greatest scientists, big thinkers and comedy geniuses to help us answer some pretty big questions.

With past speakers including Brian Cox, Robert Winston, Alice Roberts and Richard Dawkins, the festival is the perfect place to pose your most burning questions and expand your mind. Join us for six jam-packed-days of debate, discovery, experiments, enjoyment and hands on fun and take a fresh look at the world around you.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/science
 
Description International Conference on Optics of Excitons in Confined Systems, University of Bath 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The International conference on Optics of Excitons in Confined Systems (OECS 2017) took place at the University of Bath on 10-15 September 2017.

The event brings together internationally leading scientists and many young researchers collaborating in a broad range of scientific topics related to optics of excitons in confined systems. The main goal of this conference was to discuss in-depth new important results, ideas and future directions in the existing as well as in the emerging areas of research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Invited talk at INL Workshop, Braga 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited talk at INL Workshop, Braga, Portugal, 3rd-5th October 2017
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Invited to Taiwan, National Cheng Kung University, Lecture on Pohotonic Quantum Technologies 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited to Taiwan, National Cheng Kung University, Lecture on Pohotonic Quantum Technologies: Metrology, spins and photons, 12/01/2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description NIST Single Photon Workshop - Boulder Colorado 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact on July 31 - August 4, 2017, NIST hosted the Single Photon Workshop 2017, at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado (USA). SPW2017 was the eighth installment in a series of international workshops on single-photon generation and detection technology and applications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.nist.gov/news-events/events/2017/07/single-photon-workshop-2017
 
Description Nano Meta 2017 Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact NANOMETA 2017 aimed to bring together the international Nanotechnology, Photonics and Materials research communities where most recent and challenging results and plans were discussed in the informal setting on a glorious mountaineering resort. The technical programme included invited and selected contributed papers in the areas of:

• Plasmonics, Metamaterials and Metadevices
• Quantum and Topological Nanophotonics
• New Materials for Nanophotonics
• Optical Super-resolution

The conference was organised in two oral parallel sessions (Nanophotonics and Metamaterials) and will feature joint plenary, tutorial and post-deadline sessions. The conference timetable was arranged in a way that permits mid-day breaks for recreational activities and informal contact between participants.

Nanometa 2017 presented plenary and breakthrough talks. The conference also featured a number of invited talks devoted to recent important advances in nanophotonics and metamaterials science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.nanometa.org/
 
Description QCrypt 2017, University of Cambridge 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Quantum cryptography aims to achieve security from fundamental physical principles, such as the quantum mechanical phenomena of entanglement and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. In the last few years, significant progress has been made in the theoretical understanding of quantum cryptography, and its technological feasibility has been demonstrated experimentally. Quantum cryptography is therefore regarded as one of the most promising candidates for a future quantum technology.

The annual conference on quantum cryptography (QCrypt) is a conference for students and researchers working on all aspects of quantum cryptography. The main goals of the conference are to represent the previous year's best results and to support the building of a research community in quantum cryptography. For more information on goals and structure, see QCrypt charter.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://2017.qcrypt.net/
 
Description QUAMP 2017, Glasgow 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact QuAMP WAS a biennial international conference on Quantum, Atomic, Molecular and Plasma Physics.
QuAMP 2017 was held in Glasgow at the Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor Hotel, from 4-7 September 2017. The meeting covered quantum information and technology, quantum optics, ultra-cold matter, the interaction of light with molecules and plasmas. The format comprised of plenary talks by invited speakers as well as some contributed talks and posters.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://quamp2017.iopconfs.org/Home
 
Description Southampton Quantum Tech Lecture 8th November 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Lecture at Southampton University
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Summer school on Interaction between Radiation and Quantum matter, MSPU Moscow, 2-5 JUly 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Summer school on interaction of radiation with quantum matter. Presented summary of the Bristol quantum efforts in communication, sensing and computation and then focussed of spin photon interfaces.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description UIMP International Summer School and Workshop by Spanish Network of Quantum Technologies, Madrid 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk at UIMP International Summer School and Workshop by Spanish Network of Quantum Technologies in Madrid
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017