Perovskite Photonics

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering


Semiconductor photonics is currently driving a revolution in modern wafer-scale optoelectronics by affording enhanced properties such as high optical non-linearities, excellent optical transparency, and dense device integration. The research in this area has been predominantly based on silicon and 'silicon photonics' is a technology that is reaching maturity with the likes of Intel, Siemens, and Luxtera investing heavily in its development. While, undoubtedly transformative, silicon photonics has a number of unaddressed limitations that are all associated with silicon's crystal structure. For example, the material does not have a second order non-linearity which is commonly used for electro-optic signal modulation and the material has an indirect electronic bandgap which makes it a poor light emitter. Furthermore, the high processing temperature of silicon makes integration with electronics and multilayer photonics architectures extremely challenging. In recent years, silicon's dominance as a photovoltaic material has been challenged by the emergence of perovskites materials class and the rapid development of these materials has presented the opportunity to investigate them for photonics applications. Unlike silicon, perovskites have a highly tunable crystal structure which makes them very interesting for photonics. Materials can be direct bandgap, can contain a second order non-linearity and can possess extraordinary non-linear optical properties with a third order optical non-linearity more than 6 orders of magnitude greater than silicon. Moreover, perovskites are solution processable and can even be printed providing a platform for a new generation of photonics devices.

In this programme we propose to develop a low cost and high performance perovskite photonics platform that will rival and in many instances out perform their silicon counterparts. The work will leverage much of the nanofabrication and materials development work that EPSRC has recently championed and provide a new platform for integrated photonics devices. The main objective will be to develop the methodologies and procedures to support the development of devices that can exploit the superlative properties of perovskite materials. A number of materials will be investigated and developed, including 2D/3D hybrid structures and lead-free perovskites. The project will optimise the materials for linear and non-linear photonics applications, demonstrate the principles of waveguide faibrication, and produce the first demonstrations of a technology that will have the potential to impact on many fields, for example, sensing, quantum optics, and optical communications.

Planned Impact

This work will provide the methodologies for a new field of photonics research - Perovskite photonics. Perovskite materials are extremely versatile and their optoelectronic properties can be tuned to produce a platform for a plethora of photonics applications, such as for light sources and non-linear optics. The outputs of this work will contribute to a burgeoning UK photonics industry that is already growing at a rate of 7%. UK photonics companies export over 75% of their output, indicating a high regard, and demand, for UK photonics products internationally and, in turn, creating jobs and international revenue streams. Furthermore, photonics has been identified as one of six EU 'Key Enabling Technologies' and its importance to the UK's economy is reflected by Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, which states that the photonics sector accounts for more than 7% of the UK's total manufacturing output. At £12.9bn, UK photonics produces an annual output comparable to the UK's pharmaceutical manufacturing sector, whilst employing more people, in more companies.

The project has a great deal of potential to form the basis of a spin-out company, however, if licensing the technology turns out to be the most sensible route to commercialisation, then SMEs will be targeted for partnership. Being unique to the UK, it is expected that the new company or collaborating SMEs will benefit from global revenue streams though investment or sales. The EPSRC Centres for Innovative Manufacturing (CIM) will be leveraged to support these activities and effective technology transfer via this route will contribute to the success of the CIM initiative, thus, supporting EPSRC's mandate with regards to future policy making. To complement this work, the project will train highly qualified scientists/engineers that will be ideal to take the industrial outcomes forward or benefit other UK based SMEs.
Description In the first year of this award, we have discovered that a lead-free perovskite can have a very wide bandgap and a tunable nonlinearity for photonics applications. This paper is under review and the work will underpin follow on research outputs. This is a key finding as one of the limiting factors of the perovskites is the inclusion of lead.

We have discovered that this metal-free perovskite material can be dropped with gold nanoparticles to enhance the optical properties and that it can be both deposited direct from source and printed from solution.
Exploitation Route Nonlinear optics is a burgeoning field that underpins many aspects of technology from sensing to quantum computing. Materials with ultra-high nonlinearities will find applications in a wide array of technologies.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy

Description Data from publication 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? Yes