Dr 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.   


Three-dimensional cross-nanowire networks recover full terahertz state
Peng Kun, Jevtics Dimitars, Zhang Fanlu, Sterzl Sabrina, Damry Djamshid A, Rothmann Mathias U, Guilhabert Benoit, Strain Michael J, Tan Hark H, Herz Laura M, Fu Lan, Dawson Martin D, Hurtado Antonio, Jagadish Chennupati, Johnston Michael B
Science Vol 368, pp. 510-513 (2020)
Gigabit per second visible light communication based on AlGaInP red micro-LED micro-transfer printed onto diamond and glass
Carreira J F C, Xie E, Bian R, Herrnsdorf J, Haas H, Gu E, Strain M J, Dawson M D, Islim Mohamed Sufyan
Optics Express Vol 28, pp. 12149-12156 (2020)
Micro-LEDs for technological convergence between displays, optical communications, and sensing and imaging systems
Dawson Martin D, Herrnsdorf Johannes, Xie Enyuan, Gu Erdan, McKendry Jonathan, Griffiths Alexander D, Strain Michael J
Display Week 2020 (2020)
LED excitation of an on-chip imaging flow cytometer for bead-based immunoassay
Xilong Yuan, Darcie Todd, Stewart Aitchison J, McKendry Jonathan J D, Strain Michael, Dawson Martin D
IEEE Photonics Conference (2020)
Characterization, selection and micro-assembly of nanowire laser systems
Jevtics Dimitars, McPhillimy John, Guilhabert Benoit, Alanis Juan A, Tan Hark Hoe, Jagadish Chennupati, Dawson Martin D, Hurtado Antonio, Parkinson Patrick W, Strain Michael J
Nano Letters Vol 20, pp. 1862-1868 (2020)
Gallium nitride micro-light-emitting diode structured light sources for multi-modal optical wireless communications systems
Griffiths A D, Herrnsdorf J, McKendry J J D, Strain M J, Dawson M D, Islim Mohamed Sufyan
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences Vol 378 (2020)

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

Integrated Photonics Research, Silicon, and Nano-Photonics 2019 (OSA Advanced Photonics Congress)
Gallium nitride micro-LED drive circuits for visible light communications

More professional activities


QuantIC - The UK Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Imaging
Dawson, Martin (Principal Investigator) Jeffers, John (Co-investigator) Strain, Michael (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 30-Jan-2024
Fraunhofer UK Research Limited: Studentship Agreement | Blanchard, Alexander
Dawson, Martin (Principal Investigator) Herrnsdorf, Johannes (Co-investigator) Strain, Michael (Co-investigator) Blanchard, Alexander (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 01-Jan-2022
Energy-efficient and high-bandwidth neuromorphic nanophotonic chips for artificial intelligence systems (ChipAI) H2020-FETOPEN
Hurtado, Antonio (Principal Investigator) Strain, Michael (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 28-Jan-2022
Fraunhofer UK Research Limited: Studentship Agreement | Toon, Miles
Dawson, Martin (Principal Investigator) Strain, Michael (Co-investigator) Toon, Miles (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 01-Jan-2022
'Hetero-print': A holistic approach to transfer-printing for heterogeneous integration in manufacturing
Dawson, Martin (Principal Investigator) Martin, Robert (Co-investigator) Strain, Michael (Co-investigator) Watson, Ian (Co-investigator) Guilhabert, Benoit Jack Eloi (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2023
PhD Studentship NQIT (Gemma Quinn)
Strain, Michael (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 30-Jan-2021

More projects


Institute of Photonics
Technology Innovation Centre

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