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.   


Active on-chip dispersion control using a tunable silicon Bragg grating
Klitis Charlambos, Sorel Marc, Strain Michael J
Micromachines Vol 10 (2019)
Gallium nitride micro-LED drive circuits for visible light communications
Herrnsdorf Johannes, McKendry Jonathan, Griffiths Alexander, Strain Michael, Henderson Robert, Dawson Martin
13th International Conference on Nitride Semiconductors (ICNS-13) (2019)
Towards using LED arrays for relative alignment of cube satellite clusters
Herrnsdorf Johannes, Griffiths Alexander D, Lowe Christopher, Macdonald Malcolm, Strain Michael J, Dawson Martin D
IEEE Photonics Conference 2019 (2019)
Scalable visible light communications with a micro-LED array projector and high-speed smartphone camera
Griffiths Alexander D, Herrnsdorf Johannes, Strain Michael J, Dawson Martin D
Optics Express Vol 27, pp. 15585-15594 (2019)
Roadmap on all-optical processing
Minzioni Paolo, Lacava Cosimo, Tanabe Takasumi, Dong Jianji, Hu Xiaoyong, Csaba Gyorgy, Porod Wolfgang, Singh Ghanshyam, Willner Alan E, Almaiman Ahmed, Torres-Company Victor, Schröder Jochen, Peacock Anna C, Strain Michael J, Parmigiani Francesca, Contestabile Giampiero, Marpaung David, Liu Zhixin, Bowers John E, Chang Lin, Fabbri Simon, Ramos Vázquez María, Bharadwaj Vibhav, Eaton Shane M, Lodahl Peter, Zhang Xiang, Eggleton Benjamin J, Munro William John, Nemoto Kae, Morin Olivier, Laurat Julien, Nunn Joshua
Journal of Optics (United Kingdom) Vol 21 (2019)
Measurement of optical pulsewidth in the picosecond regime using a non-linear fiber and power meter
Korai Baloch Umair Ahmed, Wang Zifei, Lacava Cosimo, Chen Lawrence R, Strain Michael J, Glesk Ivan
CLEO 2019, pp. SW3H.5 (2019)

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

Gallium nitride micro-LED drive circuits for visible light communications

more professional activities


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 | Blanchard, Alexander
Dawson, Martin (Principal Investigator) Strain, Michael (Co-investigator) Blanchard, Alexander (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 01-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
Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP 2016-2017 University of Strathclyde) | Robertson, Joshua
Hurtado, Antonio (Principal Investigator) Strain, Michael (Co-investigator) Robertson, Joshua (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 01-Jan-2021
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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