SOUTHAMPTON AND LONDON, ENGLAND AND TAIPEI, TAIWAN—Groups from the UK and Taiwan have agreed on a collaboration program in the field of nanophotonics that will join together research teams from the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton, Imperial College London, and the National Taiwan University (NTU). The UK part of the collaboration will be funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through a grant worth around $350,000. This has been awarded as part of the council’s “Collaborating for Success through People” program.
A spokesperson from the ORC highlighted two topics in the nanophotonics agenda that are most relevant to the proposed collaboration: nanoscale phase change switching functionality, and plasmonics and nanoscale concentration of light. The groups are aiming to develop a range of new materials, creating a platform for next-generation technologies. These novel materials will help transform existing technologies and will have applications in low-power, ultra-small devices.
Lead investigator in the project is ORC deputy director Nikolay Zheludev, who explained, “As part of this collaboration program, a series of exchange visits will be planned for senior staff, researchers at early stages in their careers, and research students. Training opportunities for Taiwanese PhD students in the UK will be another clear benefit of the project. In the modern world, where research and development is rapidly being globalized and outsourced, there is a real shift of research activities from the traditional powerhouses of the West to industrial countries with good educational systems, cheap labor, and favorable economic climate. Evidence of such changes can be seen in the relocation of key research centers of international blue-chip companies to the new industrial nations. This presents a major challenge to the UK research base that can be best addressed by taking a central role in this new worldwide reality and establishing mutually beneficial R&D collaborations with new players.”