School of Physics & Astronomy

Semiconductor physics and optoelectronic devices

All-optical switchingAs the information passed across telecommunication networks increases, the modulation and routing of the optical signals travelling along the optical fibres must be carried out at an increasing rate. Groups in our School are involved in both the underlying fundamental physics and the development of devices. The semiconductor group looks at the basic physics of the way electrons and photons interact and travel in the very thin layers used in many optoelectronic devices. This fundamental work often uses ultrashort-pulse lasers that have been developed in the School. Additionally, work is in progress in the design and development of switches for optical communications in which one light beam is used to control the direction/route in which a signal beam is transmitted. The diagram shows a schematic of the concept, this can help in avoiding the speed limitations imposed by electronics. Professor Krauss' work in microstructured semiconductor materials may underpin a range of ultra-miniature optical devices for use in optical communications, sensing, and medicine.

Light emitting polymer Professor Samuel and Dr Turnbull extend the semiconductor research from crystalline materials into semiconducting polymers.

The School is leading a 12.5 million collaborative project researching the use of ultrafast optical sources and switches for future generations of ultra-high data rate telecommunication systems.

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