The University of Southampton

Nonlinear Semiconductor Photonics

Nonlinear Semiconductor Photonics

Headed by Professor Anna Peacock, the Nonlinear Semiconductor Photonics Group's focus is in the development of novel semiconductor waveguide platforms; from the design and characterisation stage, through to the demonstration of practical all-optical nonlinear devices.

The group has a full complement of experimental and numerical expertise to support the development, fabrication and application of a wide range of nonlinear photonic devices. It works in close collaboration with several groups across the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering (FPSE) in particular, the Silicon Photonics group.

Research impact

Semiconductor photonics is fast becoming one of the most active areas of research and development as it has the potential to impact a wide range of important technology areas such as telecommunications, medicine, imaging, spectroscopy, and sensing.

Nonlinear Semiconductor Photonics

Within this field, a subdivision that is gaining increased momentum is nonlinear semiconductor photonics, as the materials display a number of important nonlinear effects that can be used to generate and process light-based signals with unprecedented control.

Our research aims to develop elegant nonlinear semiconductor photonic devices fabricated from both conventional waveguides on-chip as well as those based on an emerging platform that incorporates the semiconductor materials directly into the cores of optical fibres. In particular, the semiconductor fibre platform opens a route to seamlessly link semiconductor technologies with the silica fibre infrastructures that are used to transmit light around the globe – one of the most important design challenges in the field.

Research facilities

A wide range of optical and material characterization facilities are available that extend over the wavelength range 300nm-3.4µm. Laser sources include: supercontinuum source, femtosecond optical parametric oscillator, high power fibre lasers and laser diodes. 

Key research breakthroughs:

Nonlinear characterization of Ge-on-Si platforms in the mid-infrared

Key publications: 6776, 6904

Strain engineering the electronic bandgap of silicon core fibres

Key publication: 6687

Characterization of silicon microcylindrical resonators 

Key publications: 5188, 5466, 6123

Nonlinear optical characterisation of hydrogenated amorphous silicon
core fibres. 

Key publications: 4836, 5207, 5665, 5878

Tapered silicon optical fibres with tailored nonlinear and dispersion properties.

Key publications: 4712, 4747

Large mode area silicon microstructured fibres with robust dual mode guidance. 

Key publications: 4504, 5135

Optical characterization of low loss semiconductor fibres.

Key publications: 4608, 4836

Current research projects

Laser-Engineered Silicon: Manufacturing Low Cost Photonic Systems 

Funded by EPSRC (EP/M022757/1): Sept 2015 to August 2018 

In collaboration with Dr S. Mailis (ORC) and Dr. H. Chong (ECS). 

Project partners: Prof. N. Bulgakova and Prof. J. S. Aitchison. 

Electronic-Photonic Convergence: A Platform Grant 

Funded by EPSRC (EP/N013247/): Jan 2016 to Dec 2020 

In collaboration with Prof. G. Reed (ORC), Dr G. Mashanovich (ORC), Prof. S. Saito (ECS) and Dr. H. Chong (ECS).  

Mid-Infrared GeRmAnium phoTonIcs fOr seNsing (MIGRATION) 

Funded by EPSRC (EP/L01162X/1): January 2014 to July 2016 

In collaboration with Dr G. Mashanovich (ORC), Dr F. Gardes (ORC), Dr. H. Chong (ECS). 

Project partner for the ARC funded project:  Better vibrations: nonlinear sound-light interactions in semiconductor chips 

Funded by ARC (DP160101691): January 2016 to Dec 2018 

In collaboration with A/Prof. M. Steel, Prof. B. Eggleton, A/Prof. C. Poulton.

Visit our PhD projects page for further details.



Academic (international): 

  • Prof. J. Ballato (Clemson University, USA)
  • Prof. U. Gibson (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway)
  • Prof. N. Bulgakova (HiLASE, Centre for the Institute of Physics, Czech Republic)
  • Prof. B. Eggleton (University of Sydney, Australia)
  • Prof. J. S. Aitchison (University of Toronto, Canada)

Work with us 

If you are interested in working with us or would like to find out more about our group please contact Prof. Anna Peacock.

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