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.   


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.
Optics Express Vol 25, pp. 19711-19720, (2017)
Structured illumination for communications and bioscience using GaN micro-LED arrays interfaced to CMOS
McKendry Jonathan, Xie Enyuan, Herrnsdorf Johannes, McAlinden Niall, Gu Erdan, Watson Ian, Strain Michael, Mathieson Keith, Dawson Martin
Emerging Technologies in Communications, Microsystems, Optoelectronics and Sensors, (2017)
Integrating diamond with GaN photonic device
Hill Paul, Liu Hangyu, Leyman Ross, Gu Erdan, Dawson Martin, Strain Michael
8th SU2P Aunnual Symposium, (2017)
Nonlinear effects in silicon waveguides
Korai Umair A., Strain Michael J., Glesk Ivan
8th SU2P Aunnual Symposium, (2017)
Positioning and space-division multiple access enabled by structured illumination with light-emitting diodes
Herrnsdorf Johannes, Strain Michael J., Gu Erdan, Henderson Robert K., Dawson Martin D.
Journal of Lightwave Technology Vol 35, pp. 2339-2345, (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.


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 2016-2017 University of Strathclyde) | Stonehouse, Mark Robert
Dawson, Martin (Principal Investigator) Strain, Michael (Co-investigator) Stonehouse, Mark Robert (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2016 - 01-Apr-2020
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
Fraunhofer UK Research Limited: Studentship Agreement | Hunter, Craig
Strain, Michael (Principal Investigator) Dawson, Martin (Co-investigator) Hunter, Craig (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Jan-2016 - 01-Jul-2019
Parallel Heterogeneous Integration of III-V Devices on Silicon Photonic Chips
Strain, Michael (Principal Investigator)
"Photonics is one of the largest and fasted growing markets of the world economy. Optical technologies are key to a vast range of applications from telecommunications networks to sensor and metrology equipment and are being actively developed by industrial giants such as IBM, Intel and Cisco. In a similar way to the evolution experienced by electronics, the demand for photonics devices with smaller footprint, lower cost and higher functionality has propelled the rapid development of integrated photonics chips. Thanks to the legacy provided by decades of enormous investments in the electronic industry, silicon is rapidly becoming the standard material platform for photonic integrated chips. However, because of its crystalline structure, silicon is a very poor light emitter and, therefore, truly integrated devices that can emit, process and detect light on-chip still represent a major challenge. III-V semiconductor materials such as InP or GaAs provide far better performance in terms of light emission but cannot compete with silicon in terms of large volume manufacturing and cost. Combining the best from the two worlds, i.e. heterogeneously integrating III-V light emitters on a silicon material platform, is regarded as a promising solution to circumvent the deficiencies of silicon yet keeping compatibility with industrial silicon manufacturing paradigms to allow scaling to wafer level complex products without requiring a full retooling of the supply chain. Building on established expertise in photonic integrated devices and transfer printing technologies at Glasgow and Strathclyde universities, this proposal will develop an assembly technique to integrate active III-V membrane devices onto passive silicon photonic integrated circuits. The method will demonstrate parallel transfer of multiple devices with sub-micrometer positional accuracy and scalability to wafer-level production. The developed techniques will exploit fully back-end processes, making them compatible with current foundry standards and therefore commercial interests. Key demonstrators in optical communications, gas sensing and high density data storage will be developed to illustrate the flexibility of the methods and potential across a wide range of application spaces. The project will benefit from the support from several academic and industrial partners who will provide resources and expertise in key areas such as wafer-scale manufacturing of III-V optical devices (CST), transfer printing system engineering (Fraunhofer), optical transceivers for telecomm and datacentre markets (Huawei), micro-assembly of active/passive photonic systems (Kaiam), integrated photonic devices for HDD data storage (Seagate), mid-IR gas sensors (GSS), large-scale silicon photonics devices (Southampton University). The proposal aligns with EPSRC's Manufacturing the Future theme and the Photonics for Future Systems priority, and addresses specific portfolio areas such as Manufacturing Technologies, Optical Communications, Optical Devices Subsystems, Optoelectronic Devices & Circuits, Components & Systems"
Period 01-May-2017 - 30-Apr-2020

more projects


Institute of Photonics
Technology Innovation Centre

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