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Dr Michael Strain

Senior Lecturer

Institute of Photonics

Personal statement

My research group has expertise in the design and micro-fabrication of Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) technologies across a wide range of material platforms.  We develop new materials for specialist applications and collaborate with industrial partners to ensure the future scalability and foundry compatability of these techniques.


Silicon PICs: I have a significant background in the design and micro-fabrication of integrated silicon photonics and have developed devices for applications from sensing and information processing, to cavity-enhanced non-linear interactions and quantum optics.  In particular I am interested in the development of scalable PICs that can be easily electronically tuned and addressed with simple fibre optics and am developing technologies to take this technology from device to systems levels.  This work is supported by strong collaboration with the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre at the University of Glasgow.  

Future Materials:  Not all optical functions can be realised with standard foundry material platforms such as silicon and InP.  We develop new material systems for specific applications, such as ultra-thin-film diamond for quantum optics, together with the advanced micro-processing required to create optical devices.  We have interests in single crystal diamond, III-nitrides and complex oxide materials.

Heterogeneous Integration:  Many integrated photonic material platforms have particular strengths (e.g. III-V's for light generation and detection) but are limited in complimentary areas.  In this work we seek to marry different materials in single systems to make best use of the material properties where they are needed in PICs.  For example, by locally bonding III-V materials to silicon waveguides, the light generation of the III-V's can be created where necessary in a low-loss complex silicon PIC.  

This technique also allows photonic integration of specialist materials like diamond with standard PIC technology, giving flexibility in circuit design and the prospect for scaling where materials are scarce and monlithic PIC technology is prohibitive.  Other areas of interest are hetereogeneous PICs for mid-IR applications.

Micro-LED imaging arrays: We are developing high speed LED displays with pixel dimensions of only a few tens of microns.  These devices are used for data transmission (Gb/s), covert imaging and the control and navigation of autonomous robotic agents without the need for electrical signal transmission links.   


Poissonian communications : free space optical data transfer at the few-photon level
Griffiths Alexander D., Herrnsdorf Johannes, Lowe Christopher, Macdonald Malcolm, Henderson Robert, Strain Michael J., Dawson Martin D.
Silicon photonic processor of two-qubit entangling quantum logic
Santagati R, Silverstone J W, Strain M J, Sorel M, Miki S, Yamashita T, Fujiwara M, Sasaki M, Terai H, Tanner M G, Natarajan C M, Hadfield R H, O'Brien J L, Thompson M G
Journal of Optics (United Kingdom) Vol 19, (2017)
Video-rate photometric stereo-imaging with general lighting luminaires
Herrnsdorf Johannes, Broadbent Laurence, Wright Glynn C., Dawson Martin D., Strain Michael J.
2017 IEEE Photonics Conference, (2017)
Integration of semiconductor nanowire lasers with polymeric waveguide devices on a mechanically flexible substrate
Jevtics Dimitars, Hurtado Antonio, Guilhabert Benoit, McPhillimy John, Cantarella Giuseppe, Gao Qian, Tan Hark Hoe, Jagadish Chennupati, Strain Michael John, Dawson Martin
Nano letters, pp. 1-20, (2017)
Silicon photonic filters with high rejection of both TE and TM modes for on-chip four wave mixing applications
Cantarella Giuseppe, Klitis Charalambos, Sorel Marc, Strain Michael J.
AMB Express Vol 25, pp. 19711-19720, (2017)
High-extinction-ratio TE/TM selective Bragg grating filters on silicon-on-insulator
Klitis Charalambos, Cantarella Giuseppe, Strain Michael J., Sorel Marc
Optics Letters Vol 42, pp. 3040-3043, (2017)

more publications

Research interests

  • Silicon Photonic Integrated Circuits (in the near and mid-IR)
  • Heterogeneous integration (e.g. III-V on SOI)
  • Wide-bandgap integrated optics (diamond, GaN)
  • Waveguide and on-chip resonators for NLO
  • III-V micro-lasers
  • Chip-scale vector beam sources
  • Structured illumination for imaging and data comms.


Fraunhofer UK Research Limited: Studentship Agreement | Le Francois, Emma
Dawson, Martin (Principal Investigator) Strain, Michael (Co-investigator) Le Francois, Emma (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2017 - 01-Apr-2021
Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP 2016-2017 University of Strathclyde) | Robertson, Joshua
Hurtado, Antonio (Principal Investigator) Strain, Michael (Co-investigator) Robertson, Joshua (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2017 - 01-Apr-2021
UK Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging (Quantic) / R140296-103
Dawson, Martin (Principal Investigator) Gu, Erdan (Co-investigator) Strain, Michael (Co-investigator) Watson, Ian (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Aug-2016 - 31-Jan-2017
UK Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging (Quantic) / R140296-105
Strain, Michael (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2014 - 30-Sep-2019
Visible light communications on microchip systems
Strain, Michael (Principal Investigator)
Hybrid integration of GaN LEDs onto silica based PICs for data communications
Period 01-Nov-2016 - 31-Mar-2017
Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP - University of Strathclyde) | McPhillimy, John Robert
Strain, Michael (Principal Investigator) Laurand, Nicolas (Co-investigator) McPhillimy, John Robert (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2015 - 01-Apr-2019

more projects


Institute of Photonics
Technology Innovation Centre

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