EPSRC windfall for photonics team

The EPSRC has awarded a £5m grant to a UK consortium led by Surrey University to work on silicon photonics. The grant is the largest current grant awarded by the EPSRC in the area of photonics.

The consortium, headed by Prof Graham Reed and Dr Goran Mashanovich from Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI), includes researchers from St Andrews University, Leeds University, Warwick University, and Southampton University. Qinetiq in Farnborough and Swindon-based Intel are also participating.

Silicon photonics promises to feature in the next generation of integrated circuits (IC) by allowing optical interconnections between chips and circuit boards, optical signal processing, optical sensing, and ‘lab-on-a-chip’ biological applications. It is also expected to play a part in Fibre To The Premise (FTTP) technology, which brings high-bandwidth communications to homes and businesses.

As photonics integrates optical and low-cost silicon technology, it is expected to bring down the overall costs of chips using it compared to more conventional optical technologies.

Reed said: ‘We are delighted that the EPSRC has given us this exciting opportunity to contribute to the development of silicon photonics to a level where it can have a positive impact upon people’s lives. As a team we are committed to providing technology suitable for industrial take-up.’

Prof Ravi Silva, director of the Advanced Technology Institute said: ‘The ATI prides itself in providing industrially relevant solutions based on pioneering fundamental research. This consortium of researchers has the potential to provide the next photonic superchip that will form the backbone to the next generation semiconductor industry.’