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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L00044X/1
Title: Silicon Photonics for Future Systems
Principal Investigator: Reed, Professor GT
Other Investigators:
Richardson, Professor DJ Mashanovich, Professor G Stewart, Professor W
Wilkinson, Professor JS
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Intel Corporation Ltd KAIST Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Oclaro Technology UK Sharp Laboratories of Europe Ltd University of Paris South (Paris XI)
University of Tokyo Wentworth Laboratories Ltd
Department: Optoelectronics Research Centre
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Programme Grants
Starts: 12 December 2013 Ends: 11 December 2019 Value (£): 6,009,331
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Optoelect. Devices & Circuits
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Communications Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
12 Sep 2013 Programme Grant Interviews (ICT) - 12 September 2013 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Silicon Photonics is poised to transform photonics in applications ranging from intra and inter-chip interconnect to lab on a chip; from consumer products to Fibre to the Home transceivers; from high performance computing interconnect to environmental sensing. In other words silicon will bring photonics to mass markets. Despite significant progress recently, in order to successfully transform photonics in this way, several key research challenges still need to be overcome. In this programme we will tackle all of these research challenges, and in so doing we will do nothing less than facilitate a revolution in low cost photonics, placing the UK at its centre.

To succeed in mass markets silicon photonics requires (i) a low cost method of comprehensively testing at the wafer scale; (ii) a passive alignment coupling technique from fibre to optical chip; (iii) a means of scaling the functionality of the photonic circuit; (iv) very low power, high data rate modulators; and (v) low cost integrated lasers on chip. To date there are no satisfactory solutions for any of these issues, but this programme will find solutions for them all.

We have a technical advantage in all aspects of the work due either to previous projects in which we have produced the best silicon modulators in the world today, as well as the first erasable silicon Bragg gratings; or due to preparatory work that we have carried out in advance of this project in which we have carried out modelling and even some preparatory experimentation on dual layer photonics, passive alignment of fibres to silicon photonics circuits. In the case of low cost integrated lasers, we have previous experience within a European project, and we are also working with an international collaborator from KAIST, Korea, with whom we jointly have a technical lead in the area.

To maximise the impact of our work, we will produce proof-of-concept demonstrators towards the end of the programme, that showcase the research achievements to all stakeholders within the UK, an approach that has attracted key industrial partners to the programme as they recognise both the transformative work that will be done, and the opportunity to contribute to the work and influence its direction and impact. The importance of our proposed programme has already been recognised internationally as we have been asked in a letter of support from Professor Kimerling at MIT, to report annually to the USA industry forum, co-ordinated by MIT, giving tremendous exposure for UK supported work.

In letters of support the proposed work has been endorsed as essential by leaders in the field from around the world at MIT, Intel, Tokyo University, and Paris-Sud University, as well as photonics leaders from within the UK engaged in other programme grants (Seeds (UCL), Penty (Cambridge), Zayats (Kings), Dawson (Strathclyde), Payne and Zheludev (both Southampton), and UK industry (Oclaro, Sharp, Wentworth).

Within the programme, we have 4 UK industrial partners (Oclaro, Wentworth Laboratories, Sharp Laboraties of Europe, and Intel), 4 international academic partners (KAIST, MIT, University of Tokyo, and Paris Sud), as well as numerous offers of support and collaboration from academic institutions within the UK. Our collaborators have pledged ~£500,000 of in-kind support to the programme.
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Organisation Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk