The Physics and Technology of Photonic Metadevices and Metasystems

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC)

Abstract

The Programme on "The Physics and Technology of Photonic Metadevices and Metasystems" is constructed with Impact in Mind. It is united by the goal of finding new and radical solutions for today's society wherein photonics and advanced materials are now universally seen as enabling technologies of the 21st century. In recognition of this the United Nations has declared 2015 The "International Year of Light".

Today photons, quanta of light, are the primary information carriers, delivering video, internet and telephone calls through global information networks. Displays, laser surgery and manufacturing, metrology and many security applications all depend upon our ability to master light. Progress in improving the performance of all light-enabled devices depends on, and is ultimately limited, by the functionality of available photonic materials.

At the core of this Programme is the radical new idea that the properties of media in which light propagates do not have to be static, as traditionally assumed, but may be changed at will at any point in space and/or moment in time. Indeed, "optical properties on demand" can be achieved using emerging paradigms of reconfigurable and tuneable metamaterials - functional matter structured on the sub-wavelength scale, and by engaging new ideas of phase-change and coherent control.

We envisage that by engaging this plethora of new ideas we will be able to open a path to several technological step changes that may enable increased information flow, while reducing power consumption to the ultimate quantum limit and achieving new levels of miniaturisation for photonic devices.

We see our Programme as a major step forward in the global process of deriving true commercial and societal impact from fundamental research on metamaterials: a field in which the EPSRC has made substantial prior and continuing investment.

Indeed, innovative materials are crucial for rebalancing the UK economy as they are, and will continue to be, a major component of UK export. They are internationally recognised as a key performance enabler in several economically significant areas including electronics, telecoms and energy.

We have assembled a team of researchers at Southampton and Heriot-Watt Universities offering a perfect complementarity of skills across the entire translation spectrum, from fundamental physics to device and system engineering, and a healthy balance between proven, established expertise and new research talent.

We will develop our Programme in close collaboration with the UK and international research community, including strategic partners at the National Taiwan University and Singapore's Nanyang Technological University.

To maximise impact we will work closely with Industrial Partners DSTL, BAE Systems plc, Ilika plc, and Oclaro Technology Ltd., all of whom will gain from exposure to early stage research and development in a new emerging technology, in return facilitating exploitation of results.

In support of our programme, our Academic and Industrial Partners, and the host universities together commit in excess of 2 million pounds of their resources (cash and in kind).

Planned Impact

We see our Programme as a major step forward in the global process of deriving true commercial and societal impact from the field of metamaterials - one in which the EPSRC has made substantial prior and continuing investment.

Metamaterials are changing the photonics technology paradigm: media with prescribed properties, which can be switched/tuned by control signals, can now be engineered to specification from the atomic scale up. This technology is now evolving into the fields of metadevices and metasystems but is yet to be fully understood by the broader research community, exploited by industry, or appreciated by society.

Recognizing this, we have constructed the Programme with Impact in Mind from the outset:

1. We are bringing in investigators that can deliver excellent science with increased focus on commercial exploitation, as well as a new generation of highly promising younger researchers who will ensure long-term sustainability and critical mass.

2. Our main mechanism of engagement and interaction with the research community in the UK will be an "Adventure Fund" scheme, which will give interested parties opportunity and funding to work jointly with us on the Programme. £300k is allocated for this purpose.

3. We fully recognize the findings of the Royal Society 2011 survey on "Knowledge, Networks and Nations" which states that international collaborations are becoming increasingly important. We will establish key partnerships with leading Far Eastern Universities in Taiwan and Singapore, each of which will contribute substantial resources to the Programme. We will work with colleagues in Australia, the USA (MURI programmes), Japan, and Germany (International Max Planck Partnership).

4. Our main route to engender industrial interest and influence will come via our official Project Partners who have vested significant interest in the project:
- the government's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) Physical Sciences Department;
- BAE Systemsplc - a global aerospace, defence and security company;
- Ilika plc - a materials discovery company;
- Oclaro Technology Ltd. - global suppliers of optical fibre components, modules and subsystems.

5. We will work on collaborative projects with Samsung Electronics Corporation, FujiFilm Corporation and Asahi Kasei Corporation who will also generously contribute to our research.

6. We will develop a cohort of researchers capable of making technological impact. People are a critical aspect in the sustainability and long-term impact of any new technology and an equivalent of more than 12 full-time students will be trained in a highly agile research environment with strong international and industrial links.

7. To promote public understanding of our research we will use open access as a key dissemination principle of the Programme (dedicated website www.nanophotonics.org.uk, Wikipedia, Researcher ID and Google Scholar indices, video tutorials etc.). Key scientific results will be publicised through university and EPSRC communications offices, and in industry-oriented journals, Southampton's "Science Week" and "Lightwave Roadshow" events, national events like the Big Bang Fair and Cheltenham Science Festival.

Overall our industrial partners are happy to commit almost £1M to the programme and this constitutes arguably the clearest evidence of our industrial impact. When added to the >£400k commitment from our International Academic Partners (and almost £500k from our host institutions) one can see how valuable association with our Programme is to the research community.
 
Title Metamaterials: Optical Properties on Demand 
Description Promotional/educational video on current themes in photonic metamaterials research at the University of Southampton, produced for the American Physical Society March Meeting 2015 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact Recognition of research excellence and leadership; International visibility for UK research 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQAycgAJOFc
 
Title Online tutorials: New Frontiers in Metamaterials 
Description A series of online tutorial videos produced to introduce core research themes of EPSRC Programme on "The Physics and Technology of Metadevices and Metasystems" for a broad scientific audience (inc. for example prospective PhD students and industrial partners) 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Wider (public/industrial/undergraduate) understanding of photonic metamaterials concepts and their potential applications 
URL http://www.nanophotonics.org.uk/niz/learn/
 
Description Advanced Grant
Amount € 2,570,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Research Council (ERC) 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 10/2018 
End 09/2023
 
Description Nascent Light-Matter Interactions
Amount $1,300,000 (USD)
Organisation Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) 
Sector Public
Country United States
Start 07/2018 
End 06/2022
 
Description ONR Global Research Grant
Amount $288,000 (USD)
Organisation US Navy 
Department US Office of Naval Research Global
Sector Public
Country United States
Start 11/2017 
End 11/2020
 
Description R-Cloud contract
Amount £21,822 (GBP)
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 03/2019
 
Description Research Programme to Support MAST
Amount £96,000 (GBP)
Organisation Qinetiq 
Department QinetiQ (Farnborough)
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2022
 
Description Zepler Institute Stimulus Fund
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Organisation Zepler Institute 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2016 
End 07/2017
 
Description A* 
Organisation Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
Department Institute Of Materials Research And Engineering
Country Singapore 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of research facilities and multidisciplinary research environment
Collaborator Contribution Provision of researcher time and expertise - visitor from A*STAR working in Southampton on projects of mutual interest
Impact Direct exposure of research personnel from a major international applied research centre to the cutting edge of photonic metamaterials research; Several journal articles and conference papers
Start Year 2012
 
Description AFOSR MURI 
Organisation Airforce Office of Scientific Research
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution International partnership with the AFRL MURI "Active Metasurfaces for Advanced Wavefront Engineering and Waveguiding". Complementary research expertise and facilities
Collaborator Contribution Complementary research expertise and facilities
Impact Exchange of ideas and expertise; Linked funding proposal under review.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Asahi Kasei 
Organisation Asahi Kasei Corporation
Country Japan 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provision of research facilities and multidisciplinary research environment
Collaborator Contribution Provision of researcher time - visitor from Asahi Kaisei working in Southampton on a project of mutual interest
Impact Direct exposure of industrial research personnel from a major multinational to the cutting edge of photonic metamaterials research; Direct access for programme research leaders to information on industrial needs/capabilities in photonic materials development; Several conference papers.
Start Year 2014
 
Description CDPT 
Organisation Nanyang Technological University
Country Singapore 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Complementary research expertise and facilities
Collaborator Contribution Complementary research expertise and facilities
Impact Key contributions to the establishment of The Photonics Institute at Nanyang Technological University - a bilateral photonics research center formed with the University of Southampton; Several joint PhD studentships beginning 2014; Numerous journal articles and conference papers
Start Year 2012
 
Description CUDOS 
Organisation Australian Research Council
Department Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS)
Country Australia 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution International partnership with the CUDOS consortium. Complementary research expertise and facilities
Collaborator Contribution Complementary research expertise and facilities
Impact Exchange of ideas and expertise
Start Year 2011
 
Description Chengdu 
Organisation University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC)
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of research facilities and multidisciplinary research environment
Collaborator Contribution Provision of researcher time - visitor from UESTC working in Southampton on a project of mutual interest
Impact Research data
Start Year 2016
 
Description Harbin 
Organisation Harbin Institute of Technology
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of research facilities and multidisciplinary research environment
Collaborator Contribution Provision of researcher time - visitor from Henan Polytechnic University working in Southampton on a project of mutual interest
Impact Research data
Start Year 2017
 
Description Henan 
Organisation Henan Polytechnic University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of research facilities and multidisciplinary research environment
Collaborator Contribution Provision of researcher time - visitor from Henan Polytechnic University working in Southampton on a project of mutual interest
Impact Research data; Journal article pending
Start Year 2016
 
Description Institute for Life Sciences 
Organisation University of Southampton
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration leading to funded project to develop the Nanoscope technology for biological imaging. Out team provides the physics and engineering expertise to make demonstrations possible.
Collaborator Contribution The partners provide the biological applications and samples to allow the full power of the super-oscillatory imaging technology to be demonstared in the Life Sciences
Impact This is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between the physical and life sciences. At this stage, the primary outputs are two funded projects to develop the super-oscillatory imaging technology into the Life Sciences.
Start Year 2012
 
Description National Taiwan University 
Organisation National Taiwan University
Country Taiwan, Province of China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Complementary research expertise and facilities; Provision of researcher time - visitors from NTU working in Southampton on projects of mutual interest
Collaborator Contribution Complementary research expertise and facilities
Impact Numerous journal articles and conference papers
Start Year 2007
 
Description Osaka 
Organisation Osaka University
Country Japan 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of research facilities and multidisciplinary research environment
Collaborator Contribution Provision of researcher time - visitor from Osaka University working in Southampton on a project of mutual interest
Impact Research data
Start Year 2016
 
Description Pinheiro 
Organisation Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Country Brazil 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of research facilities and multidisciplinary research environment
Collaborator Contribution Provision of researcher time and expertise - visitor from FURdJ working in Southampton on a project of mutual interest
Impact Successful bid for further collaboration funding [Royal Society Newton Fellowship]
Start Year 2014
 
Description Porto 
Organisation University of Porto
Country Portugal 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of research facilities and multidisciplinary research environment
Collaborator Contribution Provision of researcher time - visitor from the university of Porto working in Southampton on a project of mutual interest
Impact Research data
Start Year 2017
 
Description The Physics of Epsilon-Near-Zero materials 
Organisation Purdue University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This collaboration is based on the development and exploitation of a series of materials, transparent conductive oxides, that are emerging as a novel platform for photonics and the control of light. These materials exhibit very strong optical nonlinearities and have been hailed as a "game changer" in the field. We have been pioneering this field together with Purdue University.
Collaborator Contribution Purdue University (Vlad Shalaev and Alexandra Boltasseva) or the world-wide recognised leaders in the development of new materials and in particular of new transparent conductive oxides. They have been providing us with a continuous stream of samples of various forms and structures. They also supported a US grant application that has been awarded and will support a three month visit for a PhD student from Heriot-Watt University to work with them in Purdue.
Impact Enhanced nonlinear refractive index in epsilon-near-zero materials, L. Caspani, R. P. M. Kaipurath, M. Clerici, M. Ferrera, T. Roger, A. Di Falco, J. Kim, N. Kinsey, V. M. Shalaev, A. Boltasseva, D. Faccio, Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 233901 (2016)
Start Year 2015
 
Description Tianjin 
Organisation Tianjin University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of research facilities and multidisciplinary research environment
Collaborator Contribution Provision of researcher time - visitor from Henan Polytechnic University working in Southampton on a project of mutual interest
Impact Research data
Start Year 2017
 
Description Xiamen 
Organisation Xiamen University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of research facilities and multidisciplinary research environment
Collaborator Contribution Provision of researcher time - visitor from Henan Polytechnic University working in Southampton on a project of mutual interest
Impact Research data
Start Year 2017
 
Description Advanced Materials KTN 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Participation (presentation by MacDonald) in an Advanced Materials Knowledge Transfer Network event "Industrial Application of Metamaterials - A UK Strategy" bringing together academics and industrialists to focus on funding, strategic interactions, collaborations and product development opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://ktn-uk.co.uk/
 
Description All-chalcogenide metasurface media attention 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Press release and editorial highlight by the journal Applied Physics Letters of the article "All-dielectric phase-change reconfigurable metasurface" [Karvounis, et al., Appl. Phys. Lett. 109, 051103 (2016)], drew numerous enquiries and coverage by popular science media: Altmetric score 135 (March 2016).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.altmetric.com/details/10217876
 
Description EPSRC Shaping Capability workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Participation (K. F. MacDonald, representing the investigators of the Programme on "The Physics and Technology of Metadevices and Metasystems") in an EPSRC ICT Theme 'Shaping Capability' workshop to inform future strategy for research areas under the ICT remit
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Future Photonics Hub Industry Day 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Participation in the EPSRC "National Hub in High Value Photonic Manufacturing" open day.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://photonicshubuk.org/
 
Description Future Photonics Hub Industry Day 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Participation (presentation by Zheludev) in the EPSRC "National Hub in High Value Photonic Manufacturing" open day.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://photonicshubuk.org/
 
Description IOP Photonics Roadmapping 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Participation [K. F. MacDonald] in an Institute of Physics roadmapping workshop for photonics, the first in a series that will extend to all of the institute's topical groups, to inform future activities, policy and programmes
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Infrared sensing and imaging workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Participation (presentation by MacDonald) in a workshop on "Infrared sensing and imaging: Challenges for next generation materials and devices", organized by the University of Exeter's EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Metamaterials, bringing together leading UK industrial innovators and academics to identify technical challenges and opportunities in the field of infrared technology development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Innovate UK / Advanced Materials KTN 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Participation (presentation by MacDonald) in an Innovate UK / Advanced Materials Knowledge Transfer Network event "Metamaterials 2018" bringing together academics and industrialists to focus on funding, strategic interactions, collaborations and product development opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://ktn-uk.co.uk/
 
Description King Edward VI School visits 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Groups of six-form students and their teachers visit the Optoelectronics Research Centre, hosted by Nanophotonics and Metamaterials group's Dr Plum, to hear about world-leading scientific research, tour facilites, and meet research students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017
 
Description Metamaterials Innovation in the UK - the Future? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Participation (MacDonald) in an Innovate UK / Advanced Materials Knowledge Transfer Network event bringing together academic and industrial stakeholders to discuss future funding, strategic interactions, collaborations and product development opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018