The University of Southampton

Nonlinear & Microstructured Optical Materials

The Nonlinear & Microstructured Optical Materials Group, now led by Dr Sakellaris Mailis, pioneered research on the use of ferroelectric domain engineering as means for the micro-structuring of lithium niobate crystals to produce advanced microstructures that utilize the full potential of this gifted ferroelectric crystal.

Our mission is to identify and develop methods for the processing of lithium niobate, and to expand its utility by interfacing it with semiconductors such as silicon, and 2D materials such as transition metal dichalchogenides (TMD’s) and graphene. 

Notable achievements:

Laser crystallisation of a-Si in SiO2 capillaries: Noel Healy, Sakellaris Mailis, Nadezhda M. Bulgakova, Pier J. A. Sazio, Todd D. Day, Justin R. Sparks, Hiu Y. Cheng, John V. Badding, and Anna C. Peacock “Extreme Electronic Band-Gap Modification in Laser Crystallized Silicon Optical Fibres” Nature Materials 2014 Vol.13(12) pp.1122-1127

Fabrication of lithium niobate whispering gallery mode micro-resonators: C. Y. J. Ying, C. L. Sones, A. C. Peacock, F. Johann, E. Soergel, R. W. Eason, M. N. Zervas, S. Mailis, “Ultra-smooth lithium niobate photonic micro-structures by surface tension reshaping” Opt. Exp. 18(11), pp.11508-11513, (2010)

Demonstration of light-induced super-hydrophilicity: A. C. Muir, S. Mailis, R. W. Eason “Ultraviolet laser-induced submicron spatially resolved super-hydrophilicity on single crystal lithium niobate surfaces” J. Appl. Phys. 101, 2007 No: 104916

Direct laser writing of optical waveguides: S. Mailis, C. Riziotis, P. G. R. Smith, J. G. Scott, R. W. Eason “Continuous wave ultra violet radiation induced frustration of etching in lithium niobate single crystals” Applied Surface Science 206, 2003 pp.46-52

Surface domain inversion for Quasi-Phase-Matched frequency conversion in lithium niobate waveguides: A. C. Busacca, C. L. Sones, V. Apostolopoulos, R. W. Eason, S. Mailis “Surface domain enginering in congruent lihium niobate single crystals: a route to sub-micron periodic poling”,: Appl. Phys. Lett. 81 2002 pp.4946-8

Fabrication of free standing microstructures: C. L. Sones, S. Mailis, V. Apostolopoulos, I. E. Barry, C. Gawith, P. G. R. Smith, R. W. Eason, “Fabrication of piezoelectric micro-cantilevers in domain engineered LiNbO3 single crystals” Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering 12 2002 pp.53-7

Current work:

• Integration of Lithium Niobate with Silicon photonic structures
• Functionalisation of 2D materials using a ferroelectric substrate
• laser crystallisation of semiconductors
• Laser-assisted growth of 2D materials


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 micro-structured arrangements on single crystal substrates.
Facilities: Ultra-precise direct laser writing system (Vis-UV). Waveguide characterization. Interferometric grating recording.


Research funding is provided by:
• EPSRC (EP/M022757/1)


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


• Nonlinear Semiconductor Photonics
• Novel Glass & Fibre
• Hybrid Photonics group
• Nano Research group
• Silicon photonics
• Nanophotonics & Metamaterials group
• Terahertz Laboratories

• University of Bonn
• Technical University of Athens
• National Hellenic Research Foundation
• ABCD Technology

Recently completed projects

Light-induced domain engineering in ferroclectrics: a route to sub-micron poling

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

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

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

ROPA: Microstructured LiNbO3: Applications to MEMS technology

Research examples

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

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