Professor Michael Strain

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.   


SiN foundry platform for high performance visible light integrated photonics
Smith Jack A, Francis Henry, Navickaite Gabriele, Strain Michael J
Optical Materials Express Vol 13, pp. 458-468 (2023)
Efficient reconstruction of low photon count images from a high speed camera
Johnstone Graeme E, Herrnsdorf Johannes, Dawson Martin D, Strain Michael J
Photonics Vol 10 (2022)
High-speed optical camera communication using a CMOS-driven micro-LED projector
Shao Yingjie, McKendry Jonathan JD, Dehkhoda Fahimeh, Xie Enyuan, Herrnsdorf Johannes, Strain Michael J, Henderson Robert K, Dawson Martin D
2022 IEEE Photonics Conference (IPC) (2022)
Hybrid integration of chipscale photonic devices using accurate transfer printing methods
Smith J A, Jevtics D, Guilhabert B, Dawson M D, Strain M J
Applied Physics Reviews Vol 9 (2022)
Advanced transfer printing with in-situ optical monitoring for the integration of micron-scale devices
Guilhabert Benoit, Bommer Sean P, Wessling Nils K, Jevtics Dimitars, Smith Jack A, Xia Zhongyi, Ghosh Saptarsi, Kappers Menno, Watson Ian M, Oliver Rachel A, Dawson Martin D, Strain Michael J
IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics Vol 29, pp. 1-11 (2022)
Fabrication and transfer printing based integration of free-standing GaN membrane micro-lenses onto semiconductor chips
Wessling Nils Kolja, Ghosh Saptarsi, Guilhabert Benoit, Kappers Menno, Hinz Alexander H, Toon Miles, Oliver Rachel A, Dawson Martin D, Strain Michael J
Optical Materials Express Vol 12, pp. 4606-4618 (2022)

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.

Professional activities

Recent developments in gallium nitride micro-light-emitting diode structured light sources
Hetero-print: A holistic approach to transfer-printing for heterogeneous integration in manufacturing
Invited speaker
LED excitation of an on-chip imaging flow cytometer for bead-based immunoassay
Combined Time of Flight and Photometric Stereo Imaging for Surface Reconstruction
Integration of an LED/SPAD Optical Wireless Transceiver with CubeSat On-board Systems
Micro-LEDs for technological convergence between displays, optical communications, and sensing and imaging systems

More professional activities


Structured light projection for FLIM in scattering environments (QUANTIC)
Strain, Michael (Principal Investigator) Dawson, Martin (Co-investigator) Herrnsdorf, Johannes (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 30-Jan-2024
A packaged source of multiplexed entangled photons
Caspani, Lucia (Principal Investigator) Strain, Michael (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2024
Ultrafast Terahertz Polarimetry Enabled by Semiconductor Nanowire Sensors
Hurtado, Antonio (Principal Investigator) Strain, Michael (Co-investigator)
04-Jan-2022 - 03-Jan-2026
Zero-change manufacturing of photonic interconnects for silicon electronics (IntraChip)
Strain, Michael (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2024
Fraunhofer UK Research Limited: Studentship Agreement | Cohen, Steven
Strain, Michael (Principal Investigator) Dawson, Martin (Co-investigator) Cohen, Steven (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 01-Jan-2024
Hybrid visible light photonic circuit platform
Strain, Michael (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2025

More projects


Institute of Photonics
Technology Innovation Centre

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