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Physics and Astronomy

We are pleased to offer a selection of postgraduate taught modules that can be taken on an individual basis.

These modules are suitable for graduates or experienced practitioners who are looking to upskill or further their career, and who are happy to study alongside full-programme MSc students.

The selection of modules on offer relate to compound semiconductor theory, fabrication, photonics or application.

Credits

10 credit module (reference PXT301)

Dates

Autumn Semester. Please contact us for the latest timetable information.

Cost

£520 (for Home/EU students)

Assessment

50% exam, 50% written assessment.

Outline description

  • To introduce the fundamentals of compound semiconductor fabrication techniques.
  • To familiarise students with the state-of-the-art fabrication facilities and equipment available in Cardiff and at the Institute of Compound Semiconductors.
  • To prepare students to undertake training in industrial and academic semiconductor facilities.
  • To introduce the state-of-the-art in micro- and nano-fabrication techniques.
  • To allow students to confidently undertake a fabrication-related project.

Objectives

On completion of the module a student should be able to:

  • Describe and understand micro- and nano-fabrication processes and procedures and the physics underpinning them.
  • Analyse known procedures and adapt them to synthesize new ones, selecting the most appropriate tools to carry it out.
  • Effectively collaborate and interact with fabrication experts using appropriate knowledge and language in order to develop and learn new procedures.
  • Develop new techniques and procedures through the analysis and adaptation of known ones.
  • Annalise arbitrary structures and access their manufacturability, taking into account scale, materials and other considerations.
  • Confidently discuss potential fabrication projects with leading experts using appropriate knowledge and technical language.
  • Know about foundries available and how to access them.

Delivery

Lectures 8hours x 2, guest lectures 2 hours, assignments, group assignment, laboratory and cleanroom tour.

Skills development

Fabrication skills, laboratory skills, collaborative skills, communication skills, writing skills, interpersonal skills.

Syllabus content

  • Growth and Deposition: epitaxial growth methods metal organic chemical vapour deposition (MOCVD), molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and atomic layer deposition (ALD); material deposition methods plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD), thermal evaporation, ebeam evaporation, sputtering, spin-on-glasses.
  • Lithography and etching/lift-off: patterning methods optical lithography, deep-UV lithography, e-beam lithography; lay-out and mask-design; dry etching techniques reactive ion etching (RIE), inductively coupled plasma (ICP) etching, chemically-assisted ion beam etching (CAIBE); wet etching techniques.
  • Foundries: multi-user wafer runs; design rules and design rule checking; prediction/verification of mask/layout.
  • Examples: fabricate a waveguide device; fabricate an LED; fabricate a complex optoelectronics device.

Credits

10 credit module (reference PXT302)

Dates

Spring Semester. Please contact us for the latest timetable information.

Cost

£520 Home/EU students

Assessment

50% exam, 50% written assessment

Outline description

  • To build upon the foundation of Electromagnetism and solid state physics acquired in Undergraduate Physics.
  • To introduce the fundamental concepts underlying Compound Semiconductor photonics.
  • To develop basic working knowledge of photonic devices.
  • To introduce students to current research problems in Compound Semiconductor Photonics.
  • To prepare students to confidently undertake a photonics research problem.

Objectives

On completion of the module a student should be able to:

  • Describe and understand the operation of state-of-the-art Compound Semiconductor photonic devices like LEDs, solar cells and lasers.
  • Apply waveguide theory, non-linear optics, quantum optics and semiconductor physics to design such devices from first principles.
  • Adapt known photonic functionalities to new Compound Semiconductor systems and materials.
  • Confidently discuss potential projects and solutions to research problems with leaders in the field using appropriate technical language.
  • Understand and critically analyse research papers and publications in the field of photonics.
  • Design scientific strategies to improve/enhance performance of Compound Semiconductor photonic devices.

Delivery

Lectures (7 hours x 2), problem solving classes (4 hours), marked exercises, large assignment (written report or oral presentation on a research paper).

Skills development

Theoretical, mathematical and conceptual photonics skills, collaborative skills, project management, interpersonal skills, problem solving, investigative skills, critical analysis skills, application development skills, ethical behaviour.

Syllabus content

Passive Photonics:

  • Maxwell’s Equations and waveguide theory
  • Non-linear Optics (electro-optic effect, Kerr effect, two-photon absorption)
  • design and operation of waveguides/photonic switches/couplers
  • single photon sources (heralded and coherent)
  • quantum optics.

Active photonics devices:

  • band-structure, electrons and holes, doping and p-n junctions
  • heterostructures and quantum confinement
  • light emitting diodes
  • lasers
  • solar cells and advanced concepts
  • single photon sources (quantum dots and NV centres in diamond).

To help students develop collaborative skills and numerical problem solving skills, students will be asked to work in groups to solve problems and present solutions to the rest of the class. Four contact hours will be devoted to this task.

Towards the end of the lecture the students will be asked to select a research paper from a selected list and give an oral presentation to the rest of the class (20 minute presentation followed by discussion). Students will be encouraged to work in groups of two.

Credits

10 credit module (reference PXT303)

Dates

Spring Semester. Please contact us for the latest timetable information.

Cost

£520 for Home/EU students

Assessment

40% written report, 40% practical-based assessment, 20% class test

Outline description

Compound Semiconductors offer the opportunity to develop Photonic Integrated Circuits in a similar fashion to the evolution of Silicon as the basis for Integrated Circuits for electronics in the 1970s and 1980s. In this module, we will study the nature of such a Compound Semiconductor generic foundry model for Application Specific Photonic Integrated Circuits, from the definition of basic building blocks based on simplest unit of physical mechanism to composite building blocks and full scale photonic integrated circuits and the physics they utilise.

The module studies the physical mechanisms, the systematic approach to generic technology, the simulation and design of such systems, considering manufacturing tolerances and methods of testing, and the characterisation of a simple on-chip optical link developed by the students. We will consider industrially relevant and cutting edge research examples based on Silicon and Compound Semiconductors to emphasise the conceptual similarities and differences. This will include relevant aspects of Compound Semiconductor Growth, Fabrication and Characterisation.

Students will understand the underlying physics of this important technology, understand the overarching approach, context and motivations for such a methodology, be introduced to computational design tools, the fabrication methods and experimental characterisation methods that are being taken-up by the Compound Semiconductor Industry.

Objectives

On completion of the module a student should be able to:

  • Understand the context and principles of a generic foundry approach and the elements that makes such an approach possible.
  • Critically analyse and synthesise these underlying principles and apply such an approach to unseen systems.
  • Understand underlying physical principles of photonic circuit elements and synthesise overall circuit functionality based on this understanding by combining elements.
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of standard photonic design tools.
  • Design practical Photonic Integrated Circuit that can be manufactured and characterised, utilising a generic foundry.
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of standard data acquisition apparatus and characterisation equipment to obtain, record, export and store experimental data.
  • Identify, adapt and combine appropriate data analysis techniques to extract information from experimental data and synthesise appropriate scientific conclusions.

Delivery

The module will consist of lectures, computing sessions, practical sessions and problem classes.

Skills development

Photonic Circuit Design skills, experimental physics, communications skills, personal skills, problem solving, investigative skill, computing skills, analytical skills, experience of active research laboratories.

Syllabus content

  • Overview of generic integration (context, purpose and requirements).
  • Basic Building Blocks (BBBs) and Composite Building Blocks (CBBs) – concepts and physics mechanisms.
  • Building on the Fabrication aspects of PXT301 and the operating principles developed in PXT302 a description of achieving critical BBBs to include: passive waveguides (shallow and deep), SOA, Saturable Absorber, Waveguide Photodetector, Electrorefractive modulator, electroabsorption modulator, thermooptic modulator, tunable bragg reflector, electrical isolation, polarisation rotator, spot size convertor, waveguide termination.
  • Description of CBBs to include: junctions, multimode interference couplers and filters, arrayed waveguide grating multiplexer, mach zehnder interference modulator and switch, mode locked laser.
  • Fabrication Methodology for example systems – Silicon Photonics, InP.
  • Design environment: physical modelling tools, circuit simulators, mask layout.
  • Performance development kits.
  • Generic packaging issues.
  • Generic testing concepts.
  • Design project – e.g. on-chip optical link: design and characterisation.

Entry requirements

Applicants should possess a good first degree (typically a 2:1 or equivalent), or equivalent work experience in a relevant discipline.

Applicants whose first language is not English must meet the University's English Language requirements.

In order to apply, you must provide us with certificates and transcripts relating to previous qualifications, a personal statement, and (where applicable) proof of your English language proficiency.

How to apply

Applicants should complete the module application and equal opportunties forms and return these to the Contunining Professional Development Unit.

Please contact the Continuing Professional Development Unit for further guidance on the application process.

Standalone module application form

Standalone module application form

21 March 2019

We aim to process your application as quickly as possible.

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Equal opportunities monitoring form

Equal opportunities monitoring form

21 March 2019

To monitor the effectiveness of our equal opportunities policy, we require applicants to provide the information outlined in this form.

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Continuing Professional Development Unit