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Postgraduate research project

Integrated polysilicon photonics

Competition funded View fees and funding
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree
View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Closing date

About the project

Silicon materials are synonymous with the microelectronics industry and the processors in everyday gadgets such as mobile phones, tablets, digital radios and televisions. More recently, due to its favourable optical properties, silicon has gained popularity as an optical information technology, i.e., using photons instead of electrons to transfer information.  Bringing these two research areas together on an integrated platform will have huge technological consequences. However, there is a challenge: silicon photonic devices are typically fabricated via complex processing of expensive single crystal wafers, which renders multi-device integration difficult. This project seeks to develop a simple, low-cost laser materials processing procedure to fabricate high-quality polysilicon photonic platforms that will ease issues associated with optoelectronic integration.

The work will have elements of materials deposition, device fabrication, and optical characterization of components such as couplers, resonators, and modulators. It will also be possible to extend this work to other semiconductor materials, including silicon-germanium alloys where laser processing can be used to locally control the composition to tune device performance. There will be opportunities to interact with our academic and industrial partners.

The PhD programme

The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) PhD comprises a solid education for a research career. The first year involves a training programme in parallel with your research project. This provides a smooth transition from your degree course towards the more open-ended research in the following years. Our students present their work at international conferences and write papers in leading academic journals. Students will emerge from the PhD with skills at the forefront of photonics research and will benefit from interaction with the wider community of PhD students across the campus through academic, sporting and cultural events.

The ORC is the leading photonics research institute in the UK. It comprises state-of-the-art cleanrooms for optical fibre, planar photonics, silicon and bio-photonics fabrication and over 80 laboratories. Computer simulations benefit from Southampton’s high performance computing cluster Iridis. An ORC PhD has prepared our past graduates for successful careers in academia and as scientists or business leaders in industry. Our research papers, patents, spin-off companies and these successful alumni place Southampton amongst the top institutes worldwide.

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