Dr Ian Watson

Research Team Leader

Institute of Photonics


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)
Validity of Vegard's rule for Al1-xInxN (0.08<x<0.28) thin films grown on GaN templates
Magalhães S, Franco N, Watson I M, Martin R W, O'Donnell K P, Schenk H P D, Tang F, Sadler T C, Kappers M J, Oliver R A, Monteiro T, Martin T L , Bagot P A J , Moody M P, Alves E, Lorenz K
Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics Vol 50, (2017)
High speed spatial encoding enabled by CMOS-controlled micro-LED arrays
Herrnsdorf Johannes, McKendry Jonathan J. D., Xie Enyuan, Strain Michael J., Watson Ian M., Gu Erdan, Dawson Martin D.
IEEE Summer Topicals 2016, (2016)
Aging characteristics of blue InGaN micro-light emitting diodes at an extremely high current density of 3.5kAcm−2
Tian Pengfei, Althumali Ahmad, Gu Erdan, Watson Ian M., Dawson Martin D., Liu Ran
Semiconductor Science and Technology Vol 31, pp. 1-12, (2016)
Electrostatic enhancement of light emitted by semiconductor quantum well
Krokhin A., Neogi A., Llopis A., Mahat M., Gumen L., Pereira S., Watson I.
Journal of Physics Conference Series Vol 647, (2015)
Integrated dual-color InGaN light-emitting diode array through transfer printing
Rae K., Xie E. Y., Trindade António José Marques, Guilhabert B., Ferreira R., McKendry J. J. D., Zhu D., Laurand N., Gu E., Watson I. M., Humphreys C. J., Wallis D. J., Dawson M. D.
2015 IEEE Photonics Conference (IPC), pp. 390-391, (2015)

more publications

Research interests

My research centres on the materials science, microfabrication and device applications of wide bandgap materials from the gallium nitride (GaN) materials family. In current projects, these materials are principally utilised in the form of micro-pixellated light-emitting diode (LED) arrays. These devices have great potential in fast-developing application areas such as visible light communications and integrated microsystems for bio-science and materials processing. Hybrid circuits made from GaN devices by advanced transfer printing techniques form another very exciting and recent area of application. My earlier projects involving significant GaN process development included fabrication of macro-scale LEDs featuring photonic quasi-crystal patterns, planar microcavity structures, and air-gap Bragg mirrors. The latter two topics depended critically on the use of sacrificial layers comprised of aluminium indium nitride, for which I developed novel wet etch techniques. Up to 2009 I was also active in the growth of nitride semiconductor layers by metal organic chemical vapour phase epitaxy (MOVPE). Research outputs with leading international collaborators using samples grown in that period continue, and during 2013 I published an invited article on nitride semiconductor MOVPE for Coordination Chemistry Reviews. In addition to my personal research, I manage the Institute of Photonics microfabrication cleanroom facility, which was relocated into the Technology and Innovation Centre during 2015. This facility offers multi-user access to a wide range of tools for lithography, metal and dielctric deposition, wet and dry etching, and microelectronic assembly.

My research experience before joining Strathclyde in 1998 had a strong emphasis on MOVPE and related techniques. I worked on a diverse range of thin film materials, including gallium arsenide for space solar cell applications at EEV Ltd, II-VI compound semiconductors at Imperial College London, and oxide superconductors from the yttrium barium copper oxide family at CambridgeUniversity. I published an invited review of MOVPE of the latter class of materials in 1997, and have over 160 refereed publications in total. I am a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, with CChem status, and the Institute of Physics.

Professional activities

Explorathon public engagement evening 2015
Invited talk on gallium nitride based light-emitting diodes
Explorathon public engagement evening 2014
HETECH 2013 conference
Invited speaker
PhD examiner
External Examiner
Referee for US funder

more professional activities


Light-controlled manufacturing of semiconductor structures: a platform for next generation processing of photonic devices
Skabara, Peter (Principal Investigator) Dawson, Martin (Co-investigator) Edwards, Paul (Co-investigator) Martin, Robert (Co-investigator) Watson, Ian (Co-investigator)
"This Platform Grant (PG) will apply our internationally-leading expertise in structured illumination and hybrid inorganic/organic semiconductor optoelectronic devices to create new opportunities in the rapidly developing field of light-controlled manufacturing. Structured illumination fields can in principle be obtained from both inorganic (GaN) and organic LEDs, implemented on a macroscale via relay optics, or demagnified to a microscale. Novel manufacturing with photopolymerisable materials can firstly involve use of structured illumination as a novel means to control motorised stages. This technique can be combined with pattern-programmable UV excitation for mask-free photolithographic patterning, continuous photo-curing over larger fields, localised photochemical deposition, or other forms of photo-labile assembly. Process variants can also be envisaged in which arbitrarily positioned fluorescent objects or markers are 'hunted', and then subject to beam excitation for photocuring or targeted photoexcitation. This method could be used, for example, to immobilise individual colloidal quantum dots for use as emitters in quantum technology applications. Multifunctional devices with sensing ability, such as organic lasers for explosives detection, represent another excellent example of automated devices operating under remote conditions. Further examples of the envisaged uses of this technology include: [1] LED microdisplay asset tags for management of high-value objects (artworks, nuclear fuel containers). [2] Passive asset tags containing unique micro-patterns of fluorescent objects (eg. colloidal quantum dots, organic macromolecules) for higher-volume, anti-counterfeiting applications. [3] Customisable continuous-flow micro-reactors for fine chemical manufacturing. [4] Energy harvesting micro-modules to power other autonomous microsystems, where we will focus on organic PV and ambient-radiation (RF) approaches."
Period 01-Jul-2017 - 30-Jun-2021
Doctoral Training Partnership (DTA - University of Strathclyde) | Griffiths, Alexander
Dawson, Martin (Principal Investigator) Watson, Ian (Co-investigator) Griffiths, Alexander (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2014 - 01-Apr-2018
INDUSTRIAL CASE ACCOUNT 2010 | McCrone, Andrew James
Skabara, Peter (Principal Investigator) Watson, Ian (Co-investigator) McCrone, Andrew James (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Jul-2011 - 01-Jan-2015
FlexiLEDs with printed graphen based thermal management
Dawson, Martin (Principal Investigator) Laurand, Nicolas (Co-investigator) Watson, Ian (Co-investigator)
Extremely small flakes of Graphene have been made into printing inks which can pattern thin plastic sheets as well as paper. The flakes are derived in an industrial process from high quality graphite particles in a process known as exfoliation. After the printing process the graphene flakes are organised in a loose arrangement and the contact area between graphene flakes is small. We are developing a conversion process to compress selected areas of the printed graphene regions to enhance heat transfer properties and at the same time make it more efficient when transferring electrical current for integrated electronic and optoelectronic components. Our first demonstration will be flexible sheets of micro LEDs and will lead to completely new and novel formats of solid state lighting and indicator devices. Further development may allow everyday packages to be smart and able to capture data which becomes incorporated in to the internet of things. Other applications would be wearable displays, point of care diagnostic strips, touch devices for light weight vehicles as examples.
Period 01-May-2016 - 30-Apr-2017
UK Quantum Technology Hub: NQIT - Networked Quantum Information Technologies
Dawson, Martin (Principal Investigator) Gu, Erdan (Co-investigator) Strain, Michael (Co-investigator) Watson, Ian (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Dec-2014 - 30-Nov-2019
UK Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging (Quantic)
Dawson, Martin (Principal Investigator) Gu, Erdan (Co-investigator) Strain, Michael (Co-investigator) Watson, Ian (Co-investigator) Jeffers, John (Researcher) Oppo, Gian-Luca (Researcher) Yao, Alison (Researcher)
Period 01-Oct-2014 - 30-Sep-2019

more projects


Institute of Photonics
Technology Innovation Centre

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