Nonlinear & Microstructured Optical Materials

The Nonlinear & Microstructured Optical Materials Group is led by Professor Rob Eason.

The lithium niobate activity is led by Dr Sakellaris Mailis

Our mission is to identify and develop methods for the full utilization of the useful physical and optical properties of lithium niobate, a very gifted nonlinear optical ferroelectric crystal with a large presence in the photonics industry.

An important goal is to develop a complete material-processing toolbox which will enable the fabrication of complex multifunctional devices based on lithium niobate.

More specifically we strive to develop and understand the physics behind methods for:

  • Ferroelectric domain engineering
  • Direct writing of refractive and diffractive structures
  • Surface and bulk micro-structuring

We are using a wide range of standard clean-room based micro-fabrication methods such as photolithography, ion beam milling, reactive ion etching, chemical etching, and deposition to non standard methods such as light assisted/induced ferroelectric domain inversion direct writing, inhibition of poling and preferential surface melting to gain control over the fabrication of useful combinations of domain engineered and microstructured arrangements on single crystal substrates that can be used to achieve multifunctional operation. 

Our experience and practice range from material science through to photonics ensuring fast and substantial two way feedback from the characterization to fabrication level.

Topics and achievements

  • All optical laser induced ferroelectric domain inversion
  • Light assisted poling
  • UV laser induced poling inhibition
  • Fabrication of single crystal micro-cantilevers
  • Ultra-smooth single crystal photonic micro-structures
  • Direct UV writing of optical waveguides in lithium niobate
  • UV laser induced super hydrophilic surfaces in lithium niobate

Image gallery: Achievable microstructures in lithium niobate


Research funding is provided by:

Recently completed projects

GR/S47373/01 Light-induced domain engineering in ferroclectrics: a route to sub-micron poling

GR/S09999/01 Single-step UV direct-writing of channel waveguides in lithium niobate and lithium tantalate single crystals

GR/R46663/01 Feasibility study of focussed ion beam (FIB) direct write for micro-photonic applications

GR/R47295/01 Light-induced frustrated etching (LIFE) studies in LiNbO3: latency effects and periodic micro-structuring

GR/N00302/01 ROPA: Microstructured LiNbO3: Applications to MEMS technology

Research examples

To search for a full list of our publications visit our publications database




The FAST Lab

The FAST Lab (Femtosecond Applications of Science & Technology) is a multi-user facility that hosts several projects from this group more...

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