Research Activities

Pilot manufacturing using ULPI

A new manufacturing facility using a high repetition rate femtosecond laser will be set at Leeds to produce high quality active and passive optical waveguide using ULPI. With a combination of the new femtosecond laser, micromachining techniques and electronic beam lithography, we will develop a robust high-throughput process for making PICs using shadow masks. We are also investigating a shadow mask approach with laser plasma for printing larger area photonic circuits. A number of materials such as silica, silicates, tellurite and polydimethoxysiloxane (PDMS) substrates will be used for a range of applications covering broad wavelengths.

Planar integration of active and passive devices on glass

Single step manufacturing of active and/or passive planar integrated waveguide devices on an un-doped silica glass which is compatible with low loss coupling to standard optical fibre with perfect refractive index matching index is a primary objective in SEAMATICS. A unique feature of the manufacturing process is the ability to implant/dope multiple ions simultaneously, which we intend to exploit for materials with multiple functionalities. Another goal in this section, is the creation of energy efficient, space saving and environment friendly lighting solutions based on large scale active optical waveguide circuits. “Light bulbs‟ powered through optical fibres coupled to highly efficient diode lasers have potential applications in harsh environments or internal photo-therapy where electrically powered systems pose safety risks.

Pump laser integration on silica and tellurites 

The integration of an optical pump-source, in integrated waveguide devices and silicon is essential for PIC. This is addressed through two complementary routes III-V on silica and silica on III-V platforms. Our strategy envisions building optically powered PICs with hybrid integration of pump lasers and planar lightwave circuits that are practical and manufacturable.

Micro-cavity lasers in silica-on-silicon and the ‘Grand Photonic Chip’

Silicon is the most attractive platform for large scale photonic integration due to its compatibility with CMOS manufacturing. Despite much effort by the research community, there are still some issues with transferring to manufacture with acceptable tolerances and reliability as the pump laser needs to be accurately placed in close proximity to the silicon waveguide. ULPI provides an alternative approach, whereby the gain layer can be grown directly on top of a silicon resonator, and the optical pump source can be integrated via a grating coupler, which is easier to align and can be bonded passively. We aim to develop a multifunctional, self-contained photonic chip, incorporating lasing and optical switching functionalities that are suitable for high speed broadband optical communication networks.

Inorganic-organic composites for photonics

The fabrication of integrated active functional polymer photonic materials promises a great impact as it could initiate the manufacture of low-cost sub-systems in PCB factories. The development of polymer waveguide amplifiers and light emitting devices by forming organic-inorganic nano composites using the new manufacturing platform is another objective of this project.