The University of Southampton

Multi-million pound funding to establish the first UK Chalcogenide Glass Manufacturing Partnership

Published: 19 February 2015

The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) is to share in £20 million of funding to advance the UK’s manufacturing capability. It will lead one of ten new research projects announced today (19 December) by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The Chalcogenide Advanced Manufacturing partnership (ChAMP) is a partnership between ORC and the Universities of Exeter, Oxford, Cambridge and Heriot-Watt, along with 15 industrial partners. Southampton will receive £3.1 million to revolutionise the manufacture and use of specialised glass, called chalcogenides, in a range of products from optical fibre and infrared lenses to electronic devices, including logic and memory.

Professor Dan Hewak who is leading the group says: “We are fortunate to have several world-leading scientists join us in this partnership to address the manufacturing research challenges in developing applications, production technologies and future processes that incorporate these advanced functional materials.

“This is the culmination of almost 25 years of research into novel glasses by the ORC.”

The University of Cambridge, in a team lead by Professor Stephen Elliott, will undertake fundamental modelling to help optimise chalcogenide materials for specific device applications.

The Composite Material Facility, established by Professor Brian Hayden and officially opened in November, also at Southampton and unique to the UK, will use high throughout methodology to develop and manufacture radically new and advanced materials.

Work led by Professor Ajoy Kar at Heriot-Watt University will look at laser processing of chalcogenide glasses for device development, while at the Universities of Exeter and Oxford Professor David Wright and Dr Harish Bhaskaran will investigate chalcogenide electronic and optical devices.

Welcoming the announcement Business Secretary, Vince Cable, said: “Working with academia and industry to support game-changing manufacturing projects like these is at the heart of the Government’s industrial strategy. By supporting the jump from the manufacturing lab to the market place, we are driving innovation, creating valuable new jobs and delivering economic growth that will secure the UK’s global leadership for decades to come.”

Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s CEO and former Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Southampton, said: “These grants for Functional Materials research will take advantage of the excellent capability that exists across the UK. The level of partnership between universities and industry means they are well positioned to advance the exploitation of the knowledge and discoveries of our pioneering scientists and engineers. These are really exciting projects that can add to the long term prosperity of our country.”

ChAMP involves the following industrial partners: Fibrecore; Glass Technology Services; Lenton; M-Squared Lasers; Samsung Electronics; Plastic Logic; SEPNET; Oxford Instruments; Gooch & Housgo; National Instruments Corp (UK); Chell Instruments; NPL; Ilika; Qioptiq; Seagate Technology; DSTL.

Meet the ChAMP team and find out more about their work at the Chalcogenide Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Open Day on March 9th 2015, which runs in conjunction with Photonex SOUTHAMPTON.

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