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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W035995/1
Title: CORNERSTONE 2.5
Principal Investigator: Reed, Professor GT
Other Investigators:
Gardes, Professor F Thomson, Professor D Sorel, Professor M
Mashanovich, Professor G Chong, Professor HMH Littlejohns, Dr C
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Airbus Operations Limited Alter Technology TUV Nord Anchored In Ltd
Bangor University Bay Photonics Ltd Beamlet LLC
Camgraphic Ltd Cardiff University Centre for Process Innovation CPI (UK)
Chinese University of Hong Kong City, University of London CNIT
Compound Semiconductor App. Catapult CompoundTek Pte Ltd Compugraphics International Ltd
Czech Technical University in Prague Duality Quantum Photonics Ltd Durham, University of
EPIC (Electronics & Photonics Innov Ctr) EUROPRACTICE (International) Fudan University
Heriot-Watt University Hokkaido, University of Huawei Group
Imperial College London IQE (Europe) Ltd Lancaster University
Loughborough University Luceda Photonics Nanyang Technological University
Newcastle University OnPoint Digital Solutions Oxford Instruments Plc
Photonics Leadership Group Photronics (U K) Ltd Pointcloud
Polytechnic University of Bari Quantum Dice Queen's University of Belfast
Resolute Photonics (UK) Ltd Rockley Photonics Limited (UK) Royal Holloway, Univ of London
Sivers Photonics Ltd Skolkovo Inst of Sci and Tech (Skoltech) Tyndall National Institute
UCL University of Bath University of Birmingham
University of Bristol University of Cambridge University of Huddersfield
University of Malaga University of Manchester, The University of Oxford
University of Sheffield University of South Wales University of St Andrews
University of Strathclyde University of Sussex University of Sydney
University of York Wave Photonics Zero Point Motion Ltd
Department: Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC)
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2022 Ends: 30 September 2024 Value (£): 1,538,492
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Optical Devices & Subsystems Optoelect. Devices & Circuits
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 Apr 2022 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Interview Panel March 2022 - Panel 2 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Silicon photonics is the manipulation of light (photons) in silicon-based substrates, analogous to electronics, which is the manipulation of electrons. The development cycle of a silicon photonics device consists of three stages: design, fabrication, and characterisation. Whilst design and characterisation can readily be done by research groups around the country, the fabrication of silicon photonics devices, circuits and systems requires large scale investments and capital equipment such as cleanrooms, lithography, etching equipment etc. Based at the Universities of Southampton and Glasgow, CORNERSTONE 2.5 will provide world-leading fabrication capability to silicon photonics researchers and the wider science community.

Whilst silicon photonics is the focus of CORNERSTONE 2.5, it will also support other technologies that utilise similar fabrication processes, such as MEMS or microfluidics, and the integration of light sources with silicon photonics integrated circuits, as well as supporting any research area that requires high-resolution lithography.

The new specialised capabilities available to researchers to support emerging applications in silicon photonics are: 1) quantum photonics based on silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers; 2) programmable photonics; 3) all-silicon photodetection; 4) high efficiency grating couplers for low energy, power sensitive systems; 5) enhanced sensing platforms; and 6) light source integration to the silicon nitride platform. Access will be facilitated via a multi-project-wafer (MPW) mechanism whereby multiple users' designs will be fabricated in parallel on the same wafer. This is enabled by the 8" wafer-scale processing capability centred around a deep-UV projection lithography scanner installed at the University of Southampton.

The value of CORNERSTONE 2.5 to researchers who wish to use it is enhanced by a network of supporting companies, each providing significant expertise and added value to users. Supporting companies include process-design-kit (PDK) software specialists (Luceda Photonics), reticle suppliers (Compugraphics, Photronics), packaging facilities (Tyndall National Institute, Bay Photonics, Alter Technologies), a mass production silicon photonics foundry (CompoundTek), an epitaxy partner for germanium-on-silicon growth (IQE), fabrication processing support (Oxford Instruments), an MPW broker (EUROPRACTICE), a III-V die supplier (Sivers Semiconductors) and promotion and outreach partners (Photonics Leadership Group, EPIC, CSA Catapult, CPI, Anchored In).

Access to the new capabilities will be free-of-charge to UK academics in months 13-18 of the project, and 75% subsidised by the grant in months 19-24. During the 2-year project, we will also canvas UK demand for the capability to continue to operate as an EPSRC National Research Facility, and if so, to establish a Statement of Need.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Impacts
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Summary
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk