Home to the UK’s best nanoelectronics and photonics fabrication facilities, our Hub is a unique resource of expertise, technology and wide ranging capability in device fabrication, equipment for micro and nanofabrication, epitaxy (MBE and MOCVD), and electronic and optical characterisation.

Hub synergies

Combining the expertise of Southampton’s Zepler Institute and the ESPRC National III-V Centre at the University of Sheffield, the new Hub provides synergistic benefits and national leadership in manufacturing for the next-generation of photonics technologies: we work with the UK’s high-value manufacturing sector to achieve greater efficiency and improve profitability.

National Centre for III-V Technologies, University of Sheffield

Zepler Institute, University of Southampton

Photonics: the vanguard enabling technology

The UK is a world leader in developing photonics technology. It is home to internationally renowned research institutes covering all aspects of photonics, from the conversion of electricity to light in LEDs and semiconductor lasers, to the transport and processing of light in optical fibres and detection of light with cameras and sensors. This research base has given rise to a globally significant industry, with some UK companies exporting over 90% of their output in key components and complex systems. UK photonics products can be found all over the world, monitoring pipelines deep in the ocean and in China’s latest consumer electronics factories, and beyond, on the Moon and Mars.

An industry worth
per annum to the UK economy and growing at 8.5%

people are directly employed in UK photonics manufacturing

of output exported

The gross value added (a measure of output) was reported as
per employee. 40% above the UK manufacturing industry average.

Photonic integration

Photonics is critical to keeping €3trillion of European output competitive. As a result, it has become a substantial global B2B industry worth £450bn, sustaining growth rates of >8% per year.

Maintaining the competitive edge of modern products increasingly means embedding multiple photonics technologies, many of which are hidden in the final assembly. However, today’s photonics industry can be likened to the early days of electronics, when individual components had to be wired together; photonics technology platforms such as optical fibres, planar waveguides, metamaterials and III-V semiconductors cannot yet be combined in an integrated manufacturing process.

The global industry has highlighted the importance of developing next-generation photonics technologies with manufacturing and ease of integration at their core. This has been reflected by substantial investments announced in the UK and Europe, the USA and Asia.

A future manufacturing research hub