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Professor Peter M Smowton

Professor Peter M Smowton

Head of School, Physics and Astronomy
Managing Director, Institute for Compound Semiconductors
Condensed Matter and Photonics Group

School of Physics and Astronomy

+44 (0)29 2087 5997
N/1.06, Queen's Buildings - North Building, 5 The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA
Available for postgraduate supervision

I am interested in the physics of semiconductor materials and devices and particularly in those properties relevant for the integration of different materials and different functions. I am currently Director of the EPSRC Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub, which focuses on the manufacturing processes for the materials and devices that drive much of the technology that underpins our lives. I am Managing Director of the Institute of Compound Semiconductors, which is a University translational research facility focussed on the fabrication of Compound Semiconductor devices and integrated systems. I collaborate extensively within Cardiff University, with other leading universities worldwide and with UK based industry to develop solutions for the next generations of semiconductor based technology that underpins our connected world.






























I supervise 3rd and 4th year projects.

Other recent modules include:
PX3243 "Laser Physics and Non-linear Optics"

PX3144 "Electromagnetic Radiation Detection".

PX2107 "Electronics and Instrumentation" PX2108 "Topics in Physics"
PX3226 "Physics of Semiconductor Devices"
PX1217 "Investigative Physics II" and
PX0202 "Electricity, Magnetism and Light

Interests include the design, fabrication and characterisation of optoelectronic devices. Current research topics include quantum dot lasers , high power emitters for photodynamic therapy and the physics of InGaN light emitting devices. I am also interested in optoelectronic integration of materials and functions. This involves the exploration of the physics of the light matter interactions in these materials and devices.

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the general areas of:

  • Compound Semiconductor Device Physics
  • Manufacturing Compound Semiconductor Devices
  • Integrated Photonics
  • III-V semiconductor based microfluidics

Current supervision

Dunia Giliyana

Research student

Lydia Jarvis

Research student

Tahani Albiladi

Research student

Curtis Hentschel

Research student

Reem Alharbi

Research student

Basmah Almagwashi

Research student

Benjamin Maglio

Benjamin Maglio

Research student

Fwoziah Albeladi

Research student

Eben Muse

Research student

Past projects

I have supervised 29 successful PhD candidates to date. The most recent was:

Dr Sara-Jayne Gillgrass



This thesis describes the work carried out to provide a proof of principle coupled-cavity laser

measurement for blood cell analysis, using an integrated device with capillary fill microfluidics.

The development of both light source and microfluidics on the same sensing platform provides

complete integration and removes the dependence on external systems.

In principle, InAsP quantum dot lasers, cover a wavelength range extending into the near infrared,

where the response of biological matter can provide useful diagnostic information. The suitability

and limitations, of both an InAsP quantum dot and GaInP quantum well active medium, are considered

for the coupled-cavity structure. A InAsP quantum dot structure with an 8 nm AlGaInP

barrier between each dot layer was seen to have a slight improvement in device performance, but

optical gain measurements indicated that this structure would not provide sufficient gain to overcome

the high losses expected in the integrated device. Consequently, a GaInP quantum well was

considered a sensible choice for a proof of principle coupled-cavity measurement.

The efficiency of an etched facet is key to overall performance in the coupled-cavity device and

has been quantified using the gain characteristics of the quantum well structure. A value of facet

efficiency was found to be hf = 0.37  0.04, which is valid for all angles of etched facet. A very

low facet reflectivity of 4.9x10􀀀9 was measured for a laser with a 14.1o etched facet.

Perturbation of the optical coupling between two laser/detector sections causes a change in the

measured photo-voltage signal from the device. This effect has been employed to demonstrate

detection of both 10 and 6 mm microbeads. In a coupled-cavity regime, a 22.6o angled facet

coupled-cavity laser pair has been shown to have a lower threshold current density than either of

its individual sections, indicating its potential for sensing applications.

Areas of expertise

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