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  • UK Funds Silicon Photonics
Oct 2007
SURREY, England, Oct. 29, 2007 -- The UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) awarded a grant valued at 5 million pounds (about $10 million) for silicon research to a consortium led by the University of Surrey.

The consortium, headed by Graham Reed and Goran Mashanovich of the university's Advanced Technology Institute (ATI), includes researchers from St. Andrews University (led by Thomas Krauss), Leeds University ( Robert Kelsall), Warwick University ( David Leadley), Southampton University (Graham Ensell), the British defense research organization QinetiQ (Mike Jenkins) and Intel ( Mario Paniccia). The EPSRC is the UK government's leading funding agency for research and training in engineering and the physical sciences.

"Silicon photonics promises to revolutionize the next generation of integrated circuits by providing solutions for optical interconnections between chips and circuit boards, optical signal processing, optical sensing and the 'lab-on-a-chip' biological applications," the university said in a statement. "It is also expected to provide low-cost optical signal processing chips that will interface with optical fibers brought directly to the home that can take advantages of the enormous bandwidth of fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) technology. Services such as video-on-demand, high speed internet, high definition TV and IPTV, that require large bandwidths, may also expand dramatically as a result of this work.

Silicon is the material of choice for the microelectronics industry, partly due to the cost effective way in which it can be processed, the university said, so integrating both optical functionality and electrical intelligence into the same silicon chip is expected to deliver a cost advantage, compared to more conventional optical technologies.

It said the consortium will contribute to the “second silicon revolution” by building on early successes that have already been demonstrated by the partners. "Reed, Krauss and Ensell have all been pioneering silicon photonic technology for more than a decade, and their expertise, coupled with complementary expertise of the UK consortium members and of the Intel team in Santa Clara, Calif., is likely to result in significant, industrially relevant breakthroughs in silicon photonics." (See also: Laser Light Pulsed on Silicon)

"This is the largest current grant awarded by the EPSRC through responsive mode in the photonics area as the EPSRC move toward encouraging the community to use larger, longer, responsive mode grants," the EPSRC said in a statement.

The ATI researches electronic and photonic device technology advances. For more information, visit:

The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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