EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S023321/1
Title: EPSRC and SFI Centre for Doctoral Training in Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage
Principal Investigator: Bowman, Professor R
Other Investigators:
Marsh, Professor JH
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
aXenic Ltd. Catalyst Inc Causeway Sensors Ltd
Cirdan Imaging Ltd. Compound Semiconductor Tech Global Ltd Fraunhofer Institut (Multiple, Grouped)
Institute of Physics in Scotland IQE (Europe) Ltd Irish Photonic Integration Centre
Kelvin Nanotechnology Ltd Knowledge Transfer Network Ltd Oxford Instruments Plc
Seagate Technology Technology Scotland Thales Ltd
Yelo Ltd
Department: Sch of Mathematics and Physics
Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 October 2019 Ends: 31 March 2028 Value (£): 4,230,090
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electronic Devices & Subsys. Magnetism/Magnetic Phenomena
Med.Instrument.Device& Equip. Optical Devices & Subsystems
Optoelect. Devices & Circuits
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics Healthcare
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Nov 2018 EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training Interview Panel B – November 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Cloud storage is rapidly growing because we all, as individuals, companies, organisations and governments, rely on data farms filled with large numbers of 'server' computers using hard disk drives (HDDs) to store personal and societal digital information. One server is required for every 600 smartphones or 120 tablet computers, and trends such as Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things are generating yet more new data, so the Cloud will continue to grow rapidly. The Cloud accounted for 25% of storage in 2010 and will account for >60% by 2020. As a result of these trends, the Cloud storage market is growing at 30% p.a. and is expected to be worth nearly $100b by 2022. While almost all personal computing and related electronic devices have migrated to solid state drives (SSD), HDDs are the only viable technology for cloud storage

and a step change in the capacity of HDDs is required.

Due to the limitations of existing magnetic materials, a new technology is needed to increase the density of magnetic data recording beyond the current 1Tb/sq. inch out to well beyond 10Tb/sq. inch and meet the 30% annual growth rate. Heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) has been identified to overcome physical challenges and has now demonstrated proof of principle.

HAMR requires the integration of photonic components including lasers, waveguides and plasmonic antennas within the current magnetic recording head transducer. With a total addressable market (TAM) of 400-600 million hard disk drives p.a. with 3-4 heads per drive, HAMR is projected to require 2+ billion diode lasers p.a. & become the largest single market for laser diodes and photonic integration. HAMR will only be successful if it can be deployed as a low-cost manufacturable technology. Its successful development will therefore drive low-cost photonic integration and plasmonic technology into other industries and applications.

Queen's University Belfast & University of Glasgow co-created CDT PIADS in 2014/15 with 9 companies, and the founding vision of CDT PIADS was to train cohorts of high calibre doctoral research students in the skillsets needed by the data storage & photonics partner-base & the wider UK supply chain. Students are trained in an interdisciplinary environment encompassing five themes of robust semiconductor lasers, planar lightwave circuits, advanced characterisation, plasmonic devices, & materials for high density magnetic storage. By providing high-level scientific & engineering research skills in the challenges of integrating photonics & advanced materials alongside rich & enhanced skills training, graduating doctoral students are equipped to lead & operate at the highest technical levels in cross geographic distributed environments.

In renewal we exploit the opportunity to engage & enhance our programme in collaboration with Science Foundation Ireland & the Irish Photonics Integration Centre with complementary capabilities including packaging & microtransfer printing for materials/device integration. Our training is expanded to include research on computational properties of functional & plasmonic materials and introduce a new programme of professional externally validated leadership training & offering both PhD and EngD routes. All 50 students recruited in renewal will have industry involvement in their programme, whether through direct sponsorship/collaboration or via placements.

Our anchor tenant partner, Seagate Technology, has a major R&D and manufacturing site in the UK. Their need to manufacture of up to 1b p.a. photonic integrated devices at this site gives CDT PIADS a unique opportunity to create an ecosystem for training & research in photonic integration and data storage. The anchor tenant model will bring other companies together who also need the human resource & outcomes of the CDT to meet their skills demands.
Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.qub.ac.uk