Ultrafast Laser Plasma Implantation- Seamless Integration of Functional Materials for Advanced Photonics

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Chemical and Process Engineering

Abstract

SeaMatics is an "advanced materials manufacturing project for photonic integrated circuits" for a range of emerging applications in optical communication, sensors, imaging technology for healthcare, and lighting. Unlike the integration in electronic circuits in which electrons flow seamlessly, in photonic integrated circuits at the light does not flow seamlessly due to mismatch of refractive index and materials dissimilarity. In order to facilitate a way forward for fabricating light circuits, the SeaMatics team has embarked on research which will exploit a novel "ultrafast laser plasma implantation (ULPI)" based technique for fabricating complex structures, using following materials: rare-earth ion doped glass, polymers and silicon and GaAs semiconductors. Such a combinatorial approach for materials fabrication will yield photonic circuit for engineering range energy-efficient devices for cross-sectorial applications (health, manufacturing, energy, digital).
The project is led by the University of Leeds and is supported by has four academic partners by the Universities of Cambridge, Sheffield and York in the respective areas of research on polymeric devices, III-V semiconductors, and silicon photonics. The EPSRC National Centre for III-V Technologies will be accessed for materials and device fabrication.
Eleven industry partners directly involved in the project are: DSTL, GTS/British Glass, Glucosense/NetScientific, Product Evolution, PVD Products, CST, IQE, Dow Corning, Xyratex, Gooch and Housego and Semtech. The industry links covers from materials manufacturing to optical components and their applications in optical/data communication, sensors for healthcare, energy for lighting. In this partnership the manufacturing is linked with different levels of supply chain, which we aim to demonstrate by researching on exemplar devices as end points.

The main goals of the project are

a) Set up a ULPI manufacturing capability at Leeds which will serve the needs of academic and industrial communities in UK to start with and then expand for international collaboration.

b) Our first application led manufacturing example will demonstrate ULPI based RE-earth doped glass photonic circuits with light splitting, lasing and amplification functions on a chip.

c) In another example we will demonstrate electrically pumped semiconductor lasers (VCSEL and VECSEL) and integrated with rare-earth ion doped glass for broadband and tunable lasers.

d) Approaches developed in b) and c) will be then expanded for manufacturing larger scale photonic integrated circuits on silicon, embodying multiple functions using the techniques developed in a).

e) ULPI as technique will be applied for engineering novel range of polymer-glass sensor devices which will be used for health care.

f) The final goal of project is to provide training, dissemination, and outreach opportunities for new researchers in SeaMatics. Dissemination related activities will be via the standard peer-review publications in prestigious journals, conferences and workshops. Dedicated symposia are planned for dissemination, and also the outreach activities involving UG/PG interns, PhD students and Sixth form pupils.

Planned Impact

SeaMatics offers a new technology horizon for manufacturing, which has attracted a wide ranging interest from industry, explained in the Pathways to Impact. We have also explained direct economic, societal, knowledge and people impacts. Besides the direct benefits derived from SeaMatics, others are also explained in the pathways to impact.

EMERGING OPPORTUNITIES: Although the advanced photonic and optoelectronic materials is the mainstay of the project, there has been a number of emerging important side lines of applications which will also dominate in future. For example, the strengthening and toughening of glass is a major challenge in large architectural buildings such as the Apple Buildings in major cities, Chard in London which are emerging globally at a fantastic rate. In such buildings multifunctionality of glass surface from self-cleaning to energy harvesting, robustness and durability over long period will be required. Such complex functions are impossible to achieve via hot forming of very large sections of glass, which consume huge amount of energy for each type of surface modification. ULPI will be a desirable disruptive technology.

Manufacturing architectural glass with multi-functional surface will stimulate new research and development via the participation of architects and landscape artists, civil and materials engineers, and laser manufactures of glass sheets for their toughened laser welding. On a smaller scale of glass strengthening and toughening applications, there is also opportunity for container glass industry where together with toughened wall, the product identification with infrangible and product quality control for food and pharmaceutical companies is also a potential opportunity.
The above approach for toughening is also applicable for display and car windscreens.
In order to capture the emerging strength and toughening market, there is a new line of technology exploitation which is being pursued by the PI with the support from GTS in Sheffield. The new opportunity, called the Optimus, is an exploitation vehicle which will be integrated with the SeaMatics to create a TSB project in future. Besides this, a strong portfolio of glass manufacturing related patents at UoL which are licensed to GTS has opened an opportunity for setting up of a TSB funded AMSCE project. This is being actively pursued by GTS for the completion of proposal (£12 million) for submission in October 2014, in which UoL is one of the knowledge stakeholders.

NEW FACILITIES FOR KNOWLEDGE: The application of ULPI for dielectric and semiconductor materials is in its infantile state of knowledge and in this respect, the potential for a new facility at Leeds will create an epicentre from where new knowledge in Physics, Materials Science and Device Engineering will spread in the rest of world via people training, international research partnership (e.g. Politecnico di Milano, Kyoto University in Japan, ANU in Australia) which we will be able to leverage with the EU funding in H2020.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description A new materials for optical amplifier on silicon is developed which will impact the development of next generation high speed computer processor chips.
Exploitation Route The ULPI technology related patent is now licensed to a spinout company Optimus Vitrum Ltd for commercial exploitation. A number of publications and conference presentations were made for the academic community and beyond.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

URL http://www.seamatics.org
 
Description Findings have been used in the technology used by Optimus Vitrum Ltd (Op-Vi) a new spinout company. The company has now received £600k investment from private investors and moving to its own research and development facility in 2019. Dr. Matthew Murray who was Researcher-Co-I in the project will become the CTO of Op-Vi. Two other employees will join the company in April 2019. The company's focus initially will be on commercialising the ULPI technology for toughened glass screens for mobile phones.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Economic

 
Description EPSRC CASE
Amount £74,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2015 
End 03/2019
 
Description Glucosense studentship
Amount £120,000 (GBP)
Organisation Netscientific UK 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2013 
End 09/2016
 
Description Glucosense- Seamatic collaboration
Amount £8,479 (GBP)
Organisation Glucosense 
Sector Private
Country Unknown
Start 08/2015 
End 12/2015
 
Description H 2020
Amount £128,000 (GBP)
Organisation European Commission 
Department Horizon 2020
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2016 
End 12/2017
 
Description H2020 MSC IF Fellowship
Amount € 200,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Union 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 08/2016 
End 07/2018
 
Description Optimus phase-I (IAA)
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Leeds 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2014 
End 12/2014
 
Description UoL-industry PoC funding
Amount £135,000 (GBP)
Organisation Netscientific UK 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2012 
End 09/2013
 
Description Xtera Communications
Amount £115,000 (GBP)
Organisation Xtera Communications 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Unknown
Start 01/2016 
End 06/2019
 
Title Photonic chip 
Description Materials for noninvasive biomarker detection 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2012 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This is now used of non-invasive glucose sensor development. Other applications in photonics are under development. 
 
Title ULPI 
Description This is a new method for implanting multiple ions in a variety of materials, I particular glass for functionalization. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2012 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The method has led to the materials platform development for sensors and glass toughening, both of which has been progressed towards new spin offs. 
 
Title laser micromachining 
Description This is a laboratory system for micromachnining glass for photonic chip development. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2012 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This has aided the development of photonic chip, collaborative research. 
 
Description Budapest 
Organisation Institute of Technical Physics and Materials Science (MFA)
Department Centre for Energy Research (EK)
Country Hungary 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The collaboration with the Institute of Technical Physics and Materials Science (MFA) has led to the characterization of materials produced Leeds team in depth and better accuracy. The Rutherford Back Scattering method that MFA has huge expertise enabled the publication of two high impact papers. This enable us to improve the manufacturing process to control the materials compositions and achieve highest ever doping concentrations for Er3+ ions doping in silica.
Collaborator Contribution Partners has provided as measurement of physical properties of femtosecond laser plasma produced thin doped layers on silica using Rutherford Back Scattering and spectroscopic ellipsometry. They also helped us in the analysis and discussion of the data.
Impact Two high impact publications were resulted.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Optimus-indsutry partners 
Organisation Ardagh Group
Country Luxembourg 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provided examples of toughening and patterning on glass using the ULPI technology proposed in Optimus
Collaborator Contribution Provided glasses and bottles
Impact This is now progressing towards application in their products
Start Year 2014
 
Description Optimus-indsutry partners 
Organisation Glass Technology Services
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provided examples of toughening and patterning on glass using the ULPI technology proposed in Optimus
Collaborator Contribution Provided glasses and bottles
Impact This is now progressing towards application in their products
Start Year 2014
 
Description Optimus-indsutry partners 
Organisation Pilkington Glass
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provided examples of toughening and patterning on glass using the ULPI technology proposed in Optimus
Collaborator Contribution Provided glasses and bottles
Impact This is now progressing towards application in their products
Start Year 2014
 
Description Optimus-indsutry partners 
Organisation SKAN-Schott Glass
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provided examples of toughening and patterning on glass using the ULPI technology proposed in Optimus
Collaborator Contribution Provided glasses and bottles
Impact This is now progressing towards application in their products
Start Year 2014
 
Description Politecnico di Milano 
Organisation Polytechnic University of Milan
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution collaborative research on femtosecond laser inscription in glass, we developed new glasses which are suitable for this process.
Collaborator Contribution They investigated the femtosecond laser inscription in glasses developed by us.
Impact A number of high quality publications, new laser inscription setup at Leeds
Start Year 2007
 
Description xtera 
Organisation Xtera Communications
Country Unknown 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution A new PhD studentship for fabricating high erbium doped waveguide amplifiers started in January 2016
Collaborator Contribution Providing training support to the student at their factory
Impact Collaboration just started.
Start Year 2016
 
Title Implantation of ions generated by laser ablation 
Description A new method to produce codoped waveguides/surfaces with high doping concentration on glass. 
IP Reference WO2017025759 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2015
Licensed No
Impact This is likely to be licensed to Ultramatis Ltd for their anticounterfeiting applications.
 
Title Glucosense I 
Description A laboratory prototype was designed and fabricated. Ia pilot clinical study has confirmed the proof of concept. Further product design and development are underway to develop specifications for product development aimed at clinical trials. 
Type Diagnostic Tool - Non-Imaging
Current Stage Of Development Initial development
Year Development Stage Completed 2013
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Clinical Trial? Yes
UKCRN/ISCTN Identifier 14470(DRN 802)
Impact Provided first set of data on the use of the new noninvasive glucose sensor which has proven the concept. Based on this the research team is currently in the process of raising funds for the next stage development. 
URL http://www.glucosense.net
 
Company Name OPTIMUS VITRUM LIMITED 
Description The company is started to exploit the ULPI technology developed and patented at Leeds. Seed investment of £600k has been agreed and the company will move into its own premises in this year. The company will focus on strengthened glass screens for display devices. 
Year Established 2018 
Impact Just incorporated with investments from private investors.
 
Company Name Ultramatis Ltd 
Description The company was established based on the proof of concept study supported by EPSRC IAA fund. The postdoctoral fellow fellow worked in this project is currently the CTO of the company. He won the Royal Academy of Engineering ERA Entrepreneurship award for the novel anticounterfeiting technology developed by it. 
Year Established 2014 
Impact The company has secure £100k funding this year (2016) from the investor IP Group and is engaging with a number of bottle manufacturers/packaging companies for the application of its technology for their products. Dr. Matthew Murray who was the post-doctoral researcher with me has become the CTO of the company from 1 January 2016. He won the Royal Academy of Engineering ERA Entrepreneurship award for the novel anticounterfeiting technology developed by him in my research group.
Website http://www.ultramatis.com
 
Description Asianet News 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact It gave wiser publicity in India and several companies, patients contacted.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgpgjhmyPZg
 
Description BBC News/ look north 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A lot of interest for business collaboration, technology transfer, participation in clinical trials etc.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-33528250
 
Description BBC Radio Leeds 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Enquiries on study participation
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02x3w15
 
Description ITV Calendar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A lot of emails, phone calls etc.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.itv.com/news/calendar/2015-07-15/leeds-university-tests-new-blood-glucose-sensor-for-diab...
 
Description Sky News report 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The sky news report on noninvasive glucose sensor reached a lot of people. It was aimed at providing the development update on the technology and the formation of Glucosense Diagnostics Ltd.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://news.sky.com/story/1519057/new-diabetes-test-could-offer-real-freedom
 
Description Visit- presentation Westminster university London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact There was discussion among the participants on the sensor technology and its applications. The industry partners were in contact with me for collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.facebook.com/uw.fst/posts/730631930385700