Cardiff joins £6.1m programme to transform silicon chips

Researchers from Cardiff University have started work on a £6.1m UKRI-EPSRC programme to transform the way data is sensed, transferred between and processed on silicon chips.

Working with colleagues from UCL, Cambridge and Southampton Universities, the scientists aim to create circuits where quantum dot laser sources are integrated on a single piece of silicon.

The Quantum Dots on Silicon (QUDOS) programme will investigate new ways of integrating all the parts that are needed for high capacity optical communications and signal processing on a microchip.

The sensing, processing and transport of information is at the heart of modern life – from smart phones to satellite navigation systems. The internet depends on optical systems from fibre to the home, through data centres to trans-oceanic optical cables that link up the world.

Creating these systems requires the mechanical alignment of components to accuracies of less than a micron – about one hundredth of the diameter of a human hair – a costly and labour-intensive process.

The team have invented technologies to integrate the required components on silicon chips, making possible the first data interconnects, switches and sensors.

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