UK research project tackles amorphous chalcogenides, with uses both in optics and electronics

Aug. 5, 2011
The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton is collaborating with the Universities of Surrey and Cambridge on research into amorphous chalcogenides.

Southampton, England--The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton is collaborating with the University of Surrey and the University of Cambridge on research into amorphous chalcogenides. These materials are already used in optics as thin-film and fiber waveguides, switching, and light emission and amplification; they are also used in electronics for phase-change memory. It is hoped that further research will strengthen the link between optics and electronics.

The ORC has well-established links with interested companies such as BAE Systems, Qinetiq, Ilika Technologies plc, Gooch & Housego, and IBM. An additional tie to industry exists in the form of Jonathan England, a senior technologist at Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates (VSEA), who is undertaking the role of project mentor for this project, with VSEA sponsoring his time to the project.

“We expect this project to generate considerable attention in both research and industrial communities," says Dan Hewak, the project leader, who is from the ORC. "This research will stimulate interest in further electrical and optical applications of chalcogenides on a local and international scale, particularly as we move towards commercial realization. Many of the device goals, such as LEDs, photodiodes, photovoltaic cells, optical amplifiers, switches, logic gates, and memory cells will be of great interest to large electronics companies.”

The research holds the promise of delivering optoelectronic technologies beyond silicon, notes Stephen Elliott, University of Cambridge project leader.

The project is funded to the tune of £1.48 million (US $2.09 million) by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which is the primary United Kingdom government agency for funding science and engineering in the UK.

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John Wallace | Senior Technical Editor (1998-2022)

John Wallace was with Laser Focus World for nearly 25 years, retiring in late June 2022. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Rutgers University and a master's in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Before becoming an editor, John worked as an engineer at RCA, Exxon, Eastman Kodak, and GCA Corporation.

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