Photonic, Electronic and Plasmonic Microstructured Optical Fibres

A major area of research activity at the ORC and in the worldwide photonics community is the exploitation of the optical fibre, not simply as a passive waveguide, but as a medium to directly modulate, generate, or otherwise manipulate light. As a result of this versatility, fibres form key components of systems in almost any applications that use light.

In parallel with these breakthroughs in photonics, the computer and microelectronics industries have seen exponential growth every 18 months since the 1960s of the performance to price ratio of transistors on CPU and DRAM chips. This is equally matched with improvements in optoelectronic components such as the visible lasers used in DVD players, and the infrared laser diodes used to generate and modulate light for data communications in optical fibres. The crystalline semiconductors upon which all microelectronics are based, namely silicon, germanium, gallium arsenide and many others, are familiar to almost every scientist and engineer.

The advanced technological fields represented by silica glass based optical fibres and microelectronics based on planar chips fabricated by lithography, are typically integrated to create communication network systems. Integration can be achieved by using intermediate optics and packaging. However, it is preferable to avoid having to transform in-fibre photonic signals to chip-based electronic signals due to the complexity (and therefore high cost) of having to use heterogeneous, discrete optoelectronic components. Indeed, the ultimate vision would be a purely fibre based system.

We have developed and patented an innovative technique that takes a significant step towards this goal. Our technique allows us to fabricate crystalline semiconductor structures made from silicon and germanium directly inside the optical fibre itself. This technique utilises a deposition process similar to that used for modern planar electronic devices, opening up the possibility for directly combining the light guiding capabilities of optical fibres with the exceptional capabilities of semiconductors for manipulating light and electrons. Advanced technological applications demand high performance devices, which in turn require exceptional materials. In close collaboration with Dr Anna Peacock group which focuses on nonlinear semiconductor fibre devices, our efforts develop the fundamental materials research necessary to move this innovation beyond the laboratory to next-generation photonic devices and systems.


Key research breakthroughs

  • 3247 Microstructured optical fibers as high-pressure microfluidic reactors,
Science 2006 Vol.311(5767) pp.1583-1586
  • 4612 All-optical modulation of laser light in amorphous silicon-filled microstructured optical fibers,
Applied Physics Letters 2007 Vol.91 pp.161112
  • 4124 Single-crystal semiconductor wires integrated into microstructured optical fibers,
Advanced Materials 2008 Vol.20 pp.1135-1140
  • 4125 Organosilane self-assembled monolayer growth from supercritical carbon dioxide in microstructured optical fiber capillary arrays,
American Chemical Society: Langmuir 2008 Vol.24 pp.3636-3644


Impact of research

As a result of our research, we have generated the following intellectual property:

  • Fabrication of Semiconductor Metamaterials, Patent number: WO2005036224
  • Fabrication of Metamaterials, Patent number: WO2005036222


Research facilities

We have two photonics labs with extensive optical and electrical characterization capabilities. This includes numerous laser sources at telecoms wavelengths, Argon ion, HeNe, femtosecond Ti-Sapphire oscillator and OPO system operating at 80MHz over a very broad wavelength range of 345-2500nm.


Current research projects

NSF Materials World Network: Creating Optoelectronic Materials and Devices Inside Microstructured Optical Fibers

Funded by NSF/EPSRC (EP/G028273/1) from Jan 2009 to Dec 2011 in collaboration with Dr Anna Peacock (ORC), Prof David Richardson (ORC), Prof John Badding (Penn State University, USA) and Prof Venkat Gopalan (Penn State University, USA)




International academic:


Work with us

If you are interested in working with our group or would like more information please contact Dr Pier Sazio.


PhD projects with this group

Copyright University of Southampton 2006