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.   


Method for inferring the mechanical strain of GaN-on-Si epitaxial layers using optical profilometry and finite element analysis
Spiridon B F, Toon M, Hinz A, Ghosh S, Fairclough S M, Guilhabert B J E, Strain M J, Watson I M, Dawson M D, Wallis D J, Oliver R A
Optical Materials Express Vol 11, pp. 1643-1655 (2021)
High-sensitivity inter-satellite optical communications using chip-scale LED and single photon detector hardware
Griffiths Alexander D, Herrnsdorf Johannes, Henderson Robert K, Strain Michael J, Dawson Martin D
Optics Express Vol 29, pp. 10749-10768 (2021)
Synchronization-free top-down illumination photometric stereo imaging using light-emitting diodes and a mobile device
Le Francois Emma, Herrnsdorf Johannes, McKendry Jonathan J D, Broadbent Laurence, Wright Glynn, Dawson Martin D, Strain Michael J
Optics Express Vol 29, pp. 1502-1515 (2021)
High-throughput electrical characterization of nanomaterials from room to cryogenic temperatures
Smith Luke W, Batey Jack O, Alexander-Webber Jack A, Fan Ye, Hsieh Yu Chiang, Fung S, Jevtics Dimitars, Robertson Joshua, Guilhabert Benoit JE, Strain Michael J, Dawson Martin D, Hurtado Antonio, Griffiths Jonathan P, Beere Harvey E, Jagadish Chennupati, Burton Oliver J, Hofmann Stephan, Chen Tse Ming, Ritchie David A, Kelly Michael, Joyce Hannah J, Smith Charles G
ACS Nano Vol 14, pp. 15293-15305 (2020)
Combined time of flight and photometric stereo imaging for surface reconstruction
Le Francois Emma, Herrnsdorf Johannes, McKendry Jonathan J D, Broadbent Laurence, Dawson Martin D, Strain Michael J
2020 IEEE Photonics Conference (IPC) IEEE Photonics Conference (2020)
Automated nanoscale absolute accuracy alignment system for transfer printing
McPhilimy John, Jevtics Dimitars, Guilhabert Benoit J E, Klitis Charlambos, Hurtado Antonio, Sorel Marc, Dawson Martin D, Strain Michael J
ACS Applied Nano Materials Vol 3, pp. 10326-10332 (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

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
Integration of an LED/SPAD Optical Wireless Transceiver with CubeSat On-board Systems
Combined Time of Flight and Photometric Stereo Imaging for Surface Reconstruction
LED excitation of an on-chip imaging flow cytometer for bead-based immunoassay
Micro-LEDs for technological convergence between displays, optical communications, and sensing and imaging systems

More professional activities


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
QT Assemble: Integrated Quantum Technology Programme
Strain, Michael (Principal Investigator) Dawson, Martin (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2023
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
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

More projects


Institute of Photonics
Technology Innovation Centre

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