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SPIE Photonex+Vacuum Expo Digital Forum opens

05 Oct 2020

Virtual conference covers advances in resilient photonics manufacturing; including links to all full presentations.

This week’s SPIE Photonex+Vacuum Expo Digital Forum opened this morning (Monday) with a welcome to attendees and visitors to the associated exhibition by Professor Sir David Payne, Director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton UK.

The week-long event of live plenaries, conferences, industry sessions and 60-exhibitor expo is also described in the newly-published magazine Photonex+Vacuum Expo Review, produced by the team that brings you optics.org. Live sessions are being presented during in working hours, UK and CET.

Professor Payne introduced the Industry Talks session on Advances in Resilient Photonics Manufacturing: The Future Photonics Hub, of which he is the Principal Investigator.

He explained, “The Hub is a joint venture between Sheffield University and the University of Southampton in the UK. Our task is to further manufacturing in photonics on behalf of universities and also very much focused on the needs of industry.

“We are advocates for the very strong photonics industry in the UK. Our purpose is to undertake research that supports industry, which is the sector that has to develop the processes and materials for manufacturing photonics. In collaboration with photonics leadership group and SPIE, we also wish to encourage young people enter the industry and solve the photonics skills shortage, which clearly exists.”

Professor Payne added, “I would like to draw your attention to the latest recently published horizon-scanning report Future Horizons for Photonics Research 2030 and Beyond, sponsored by The Future Photonics Hub and led by the UK’s Photonics Leadership Group.

“Finally I would like to give some personal thoughts. Photonics is about materials and about processes. We in the industry have always bemoaned the fact that we never have the materials that we want. So there’s a considerable amount of work to do to overcome that limitation. Photonics is a hybrid materials technology. We want to make things faster cheaper and better. We should remember that integration is the traditional way to make things cheaper to achieve this.

“You will find in these sessions many examples of the work that we are either sponsoring or working on in collaboration with industry. I look forward to meeting you next year in person when hopefully we will have a real session.”

Examples of the hub’s work are outlined in today’s session, of which, more below, also being archived on the SPIE Digital Library for subsequent access.

Highlights from Advances in Resilient Photonics Manufacturing (click on links for full presentations)

Configurable integrated photonics by Prof. Graham Reed, Optoelectronics Research Centre, UK, along with Xia Chen, Milan Milosevic, Xingshi Yu, and David Thomson, also from the ORC.

Ion implantation into silicon results in a large refractive index change, which in turn can be tuned via thermal treatment to manipulate optical devices. In particular, devices such as Mach-Zehnder interferometers, directional couplers and ring resonators can be tuned, either to improve their performance, or as building blocks to “programme” them into a specific operating configuration.

In contrast to several other programmable circuit techniques, this approach is non-volatile and therefore requires no additional power source to maintain the operating configuration once programmed. In paper the team discuss this approach to “programmable” or “configurable” photonic circuits in silicon photonics platforms.

Multi-laser processing for high speed powder bed additive manufacturing and the opportunities for photonic integration by Dr Kristian Groom, Senior Lecturer, University of Sheffield, UK.

Selective laser melting is routinely used in the additive manufacture (3D printing) of high-value, geometrically complex components from a variety of metal alloys and plastics. This is currently achieved through galvo-scanning a high power, fixed wavelength laser to melt successive powder layers.

Dr Groom will introduce an alternative approach to SLM based on the application of a high-density array of semiconductor lasers, with potential to radically improve productivity, flexibility, efficiency and cost. The broad spectrum available in the semiconductor laser palette allows lasers to be matched to the absorption peak of the material being processed, and opens a wealth of opportunities for new integrated photonic solutions.

Scalable 2D materials manufacturing by Dr. Ioannis Zeimpekis, ORC, UK.

Industry compatible methods for fabricating 2D materials generally rely on chemical vapour deposition, atomic layer deposition or molecular beam epitaxy. These methods although compatible, they do not allow for highly uniform, large-scale and high-performance layers at the same time. The reason is that the layer thickness, stoichiometry and crystallinity are controlled by one process. Dr Zeimpekis and the team have demonstrated a method that combines ALD and multistage annealing to decouple the control of film characteristics.

This method has allowed them to fabricate 2D Thin Film Transistors on flexible substrates and achieve superior performance metrics such as fast sub threshold slope at 80 mV/dec, high mobility at 55 cm2/V s and on/off ratios of more than 5 orders.

Manufacturing compound semiconductors by Chris Meadows, Compound Semiconductor Technologies, UK.

In recent decades, the story of the growth in photonics across a wide range of consumer and industrial applications is also the story of compound semiconductors. From data storage to optical communications, advances in compound semiconductor technologies are driving the revolution on photonics enabled devices that will be central to next generation applications from 5G communications to driverless vehicles and from machine vision to a host of healthcare diagnostics and treatments.

Behind all of these technological developments a globally important technology powerhouse has been quietly evolving in the UK, centred around South East Wales. This growing cluster has been centred around a strong industrial base of global semiconductor businesses including IQE, Newport Wafer Fab and SPTS, backed by world-class academic expertise at Cardiff and Swansea Universities.

'Hetero-print': A holistic approach to transfer-printing for heterogeneous integration in manufacturing by Dr. Michael Strain, University of Strathclyde, UK.

In this presentation, Dr Strain outlines recent advances made under the EPSRC Programme Grant, Heteroprint. This project is developing new micro-assembly technologies for the hybrid integration of multiple materials onto single chip-scale systems.

The presentation covers important aspects of the project including nanoscale accurate transfer printing, epitaxial materials design, growth and processing, and automated measurement of large device populations. Examples of photonic devices fabricated using this hybrid integration technology in diamond, III-V and silicon materials will be presented.

Advances in doped optical fiber 2.0 by Prof. Jayanta Sahu, Optoelectronics Research Centre, UK.

High power fiber lasers have established their strong presence in the manufacturing sector and for scientific applications. The key to the power scaling of fiber lasers can largely be attributed to the progress in large-mode-area fiber designs by offering a higher threshold to the non-linear effects and development of high performance rare-earth doped fibers.

In LMA fibers, a guiding discrimination between the fundamental mode and higher-order modes can ensure an effective single-mode operation. In this talk, Professor Sahu will review the progress in rare-earth doped fibers suitable for efficient high power laser operation in the 1µm and 2µm wavelength regions.

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