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Industry & Academia: Working Together in Silicon Photonics

The conference programme comprises presentations by invited speakers from academia and selected professional updates from industry, there will be a ‘poster session’ of contributed papers from early career scientists who are researching novel and exciting new techniques or unique applications - MORE>


Wednesday 10th October -Theatre 5 - Jaguar Lounge

09:00 Registration opens in the atrium
10:00 Brunch will be served for delegates in the meeting room and is supported by IEEE UK & Ireland Photonics Chapter
10:30 Introduction and welcome
Prof Graham Reed
Chair: Dr Milan Milosevic
10:40 Integration and Packaging of Photonic Devices
Prof Peter O’Brien, Head of Photonics Packaging, Tyndall National Institute, Ireland

Integrated Photonics or Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) combine multiple optical and electronic functions onto a single semiconductor chip, shrinking footprint and cost significantly. PIC technologies enable new applications such as high-speed communications for datacenters, medical and point-of-care diagnostics, sensors for automotive such as LIDAR and the Internet of Things. There have been significant developments to realise cost-effective PIC device fabrication processes, but there now exists an integration and packaging bottleneck which is impeding the growth of these markets. This talk will give an overview of photonic and electronic packaging technologies developed at Tyndall, and how these technologies are now being brought to commercialisation through a new Pilot Line funded by the European Commission. Called PIXAPP, the Pilot Line provides users with a range of advanced photonic and electronic packaging capabilities, with the ability to scale manufacturing to medium volumes. PIXAPP is strongly focused on offering standardised packaging technologies, and is working with its global partners to establish a detailed set of packaging design rules and technology roadmaps. The talk will also give examples of how photonic packaging technologies are enabling user concepts to be prototyped and brought to market.

Speaker Biography

Prof. Peter O’Brien is Director of the European Photonics Packaging Pilot Line ( and head of the Photonics Packaging Group at the Tyndall Institute, University College Cork. He is also Deputy Director of the SFI Centre for Integrated Photonics (IPIC). His research group develops packaging and integration solutions for a range of photonic-based applications including high-speed communications, miniaturised biomedical and diagnostics and remote and autonomous sensing. Prof O’Brien is also a visiting professor at the Optical Science Centre at the University of Arizona. He previously founded and was CEO of a start-up company manufacturing speciality photonic systems for bio-imaging and pharmaceutical product monitoring applications, which he sold in 2009. Prior to this, he was a post-doctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he was involved in the development of submillimetre wave devices for remote (space) sensing applications. He received his degree and PhD in Physics from Trinity College Dublin.

11:10 Rapid prototyping using the CORNERSTONE platform
Prof Graham Reed, Deputy Director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre, University of Southampton, UK

As the ever-expanding field of silicon photonics begins to standardise aspects of device fabrication available at foundries, there is a clear need for a flexible foundry capability that retains the ability to innovate at the device level. Aimed at both academia and fabless companies, the CORNERSTONE platform offers just this; a rapid device prototyping capability that allows some degree of customisation, whilst also retaining compatibility with other foundries, through the use of deep UV lithography.

This talk gives an overview of the CORNERSTONE project.

11:30 Successful Industry-Academia Collaborations: Good Practice in Handling the Intellectual Property
Matthew Cassie, Partner, HGF Intellectual Property Specialists, UK
  This talk will cover approaches to handling the ownership and exploitation of technologies created through industry and academia partnerships to help ensure both success from both a commercial and academic perspective.  Collaborations between industry and academia that have an objective of developing technologies to bring them closer to the market for commercialisation has many advantages for both parties.  The ultimate output of these collaborations lies in knowledge and expertise that can be owned and controlled for exploitation through Intellectual Property rights. However, the success or failure of these projects from an academic and commercial perspective lies in the way the IP is handled.  Matt will go over best practice for handling IP in these Industry-Academia Collaborations, highlighting common pitfalls and misconceptions, and examine interesting case studies.

11:50 Impact of silicon photonics on the optical communication market
Dr Pauline Rigby, Consultant, LightCounting Market Research, UK
  For decades, researchers in the photonics sector have strived to create silicon-based optical devices that can be inexpensively mass-produced while also being fully compatible with electronics. For the first time, a significant amount of silicon photonics-based optical transceivers were shipped in 2017. The question remains whether silicon photonics will displace more mature materials like indium phosphide and gallium arsenide? This presentation will focus on the impact that optical integration technologies, including silicon photonics, are having on the global market for optical communications products.

12:10 IQE - Our place in Silicon Photonics
Stuart Edwards, Business Development Director, IQE CMOS++, UK

Since being established in 2000, IQE has played a key role in the Group IV epitaxy industry by supplying development resource and products to academia, SME’s as well as large volume commercial customers.  Having operated in this way for many years across the group, as its markets and technologies have become more mature, IQE is transitioning to a new model, helped by the Compound Semiconductor Cluster, CS Connected. 

This talk will provide an overview of IQE, our capabilities in both compound semiconductor and silicon technologies, an insight into CS Connected, where we fit and how you can connect.

12:30 Practical challenges for the investigation of Silicon Photonics with VLSI
Prof Peter Wilson, Dept of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, University of Bath, UK

This talk will focus on the challenges facing the integration of electronic integrated circuits with photonic components. The field of Silicon Photonics has enjoyed a rapid growth as the demand for increasing communication bandwidths have driven the tighter integration between optical fibers and processing elements. With the drive to commercialize the technology previously available only in compound semiconductors by transitioning to a Silicon platform increasing, there is a push to implement both photonics and electronics circuits on the same Silicon platform. Fundamental improvements in modulators and integration have been made as part of UK research into Silicon Photonics, and this work will be highlighted to show some of the key technological advances that have been made to achieve ever great speeds. One of the challenges inherent in Silicon Photonics is the trade-off between the cost of high performance “exotic” CMOS processes and more mainstream platforms conventionally used for high density VLSI. The use of standard digital processes for high speed drivers, oscillators and phase locked loops will be described in detail, showing how they address some of the key issues of minimizing power, while maximizing speed in Silicon Photonics. Finally, the key issue of integration will be discussed, showing how some significant challenges are still outstanding, particularly in heterogeneous systems.

12:50 Conclusion and close of morning session
12:55 Break - delegates are encouraged to visit the exhibition
13:15 POSTER SESSION: in the exhibition hall (list of posters below)
  Chair: Dr Callum Littlejohns
14:15 Silicon photonics technology transfer in Canada
Prof Andy Knights, Lead Silicon Architect, Ranovus Inc./McMaster University, Canada

This  talk  will describe the strategies available to Canadian academics for technology transfer. A successful example of tech transfer from McMaster University will be  discussed.


14:45 III-V and silicon photonics in the National Epitaxy Facility
Prof Jon Heffernan, Director of the National Epitaxy Facility, UK


This talk will outline the activities and capabilities available for silicon photonics through the EPSRC National Epitaxy Facility located in Sheffield, UCL and Cambridge.

The extensive range of III-V and Group IV semiconductor epitaxy and device technologies will be presented and examples of their integration with silicon photonics platforms will be given. This includes example applications in telecoms, mid infra-red sensing and quantum technology as well as a discussion on direct growth on silicon and new techniques for heterogenous integration.

An explanation of how both academia and industry can access and benefit from the capabilities in the facility will be given.

15:05 Data storage and integrated photonics
Dr Mark Gubbins, Design Manager, Seagate Technology, UK


Last quarter Seagate shipped 87.4 Exabytes of hard disk drive capacity with an average capacity per drive of 2.4TB.  To continue to grow drive capacity and performance new technologies are required.  In this talk, we will share recent progress on HAMR and Dual Actuators in the context of drive capacity and performance enhancements. 

15:25 Public Investments supporting Business-led Innovation
Georgios Papadakis, Innovation Lead - Electronics, Sensors and Photonics, Innovate UK


With an ambition to create an economy that boosts productivity and earning power throughout the UK, the Government has committed through the Industrial Strategy to reach the target of 2.4% of GDP investment in R&D by 2027.

This talk will provide a walkthrough to public sector investments across the industrial strategy’s four Grand Challenges through business-led multidisciplinary collaborations while highlighting some of the potential opportunities for the UK Photonics stakeholder communities. The broader research and innovation funding space for international collaboration will also be presented.

Speaker Biography
George has worked in the ICT and Security industries across a diverse spectrum of roles from R&D to project management and business development. He specialised in telecommunications with a track record on novel concepts and architectures for the design and development of prototype systems for broadband access and networking both in the wireline and wireless segments. With an industrial experience on multi-stakeholder international collaborations as part of European research and innovation projects, George has served as the UK’s National Contact Point responsible for the Horizon 2020 themes of ICT and Future and Emerging Technologies and an expert member of the respective Programme Committees. In his current role as Innovation Lead at Innovate UK, he is responsible for the strategic and programmatic aspects of the Electronics, Sensors and Photonics (ESP) technology and innovation areas. The ESP programme activity supports public investments on underpinning technologies and capabilities from components and devices all the way to system-level development enabling innovative solutions across various industrial challenges and application areas.

15:45 Alignment Techniques for Optical Coupling in Silicon Photonics
Dr Stephen Lee, Consulting Engineer, Optocap Ltd, UK


Optical coupling can be a significant practical issue when packaging silicon photonic devices. The modal mismatch between optical fibres and silicon photonic waveguides and the alignment tolerances for waveguide to waveguide coupling are a limitation, especially where high coupling efficiency is required. A range of techniques have been developed that present varying degrees of efficiency and bandwidth, polarisation dependency and tolerance to misalignment. In this presentation we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a number of approaches to passive and active alignment for optical coupling in silicon photonics.

16:05 Hybrid device integration on a silicon photonic platform
Dr Michael Strain, Senior Lecturer, Institute of Photonics, University of Strathclyde, UK


The silicon-on-insulator photonics platform is rapidly maturing with multiple foundries offering high quality fabrication routes for both active and passive Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs).  Basic building block components such as waveguides, power splitters, filters, modulators and detectors offer a wide range of options to PIC designers and a level of standardisation for manufacturers.  Furthermore, future co-integration with electronics is possible through a number of different photonic\electronic manufacturing schemes.  Nevertheless, silicon does not allow for the full range of optical functionalities desirable to enable future PICs and presents limitations to the scale of such PICs based on device footprint. 

A back-end micro-assembly technique will be presented that enables both 3D silicon photonic integration and hybrid integration of fully fabricated building block devices from different material platforms.  Thin membrane devices in silicon, AlGaAs and diamond are fabricated individually and integrated onto standard silicon waveguide chips.  By using high precision placement methods waveguide to waveguide coupling can be realised across vertically integrated layers, and between waveguides pre-fabricated on separate materials.  The optical performance of devices fabricated using this hybrid integration technique are shown to be comparable to similar monolithic silicon only devices.

16:25 Concluding comments and poster awards
  Prof Sir David Payne, Director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre, University of Southampton, UK
16:30 Close of meeting
  Following the meeting please join the ORC team on stand LP10 for a Drinks Reception, additionally you may visit the exhibition until 17:00.
1. Fano line-shapes, optically induced transparencies and anti-crossing effects in 3×3 Coupler Based Dual Microring Resonators
Osamah Alsalman, University of Manchester
2. Liquid crystal WDM filter in Si photonic crystal technology with individual channel fine-tuning capability
Joaquin Faneca, University of Exeter
3. An overview of the CORNERSTONE project
Ying (Denh) Tran, University of Southampton
4. Future research with defect-mediated photodiodes
Lauren Reid, University of Southampton, UK
5. Graphene frequency combs
Nicolás Abadía, Cardiff University, UK
6. Engineering the atoms of Coulomb impurities in silicon for photonics applications
Dr. Ekaterina Orlova, University of Leeds, UK
7. CMOS photonics
Kasia Grabska, University of Southampton, UK
8. Co-design of electronics and photonics components for silicon photonics transmitters
Le Ke, University of Southampton, UK
9. Growth of Low Temperature Silicon Nanowires for Electronic Devices
Krishna Nama, De Montford University

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Conference Supporter



Dr Callum Littlejohns (Co-chair)
Optoelectronics Research Centre,
University of Southampton & Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Dr Richard Pitwon (Co-chair)
Resolute Photonics

Prof Graham Reed
Deputy Director of Optoelectronics
Research Centre, University of

Christian Rookes
HiLight Semiconductor

Dr Liam O'Faolain
Cork Institute of Technology

Dr Milan Milosevic
Optoelectronics Research Centre,
University of Southampton