UCL has a global reputation for excellence in research and is committed to delivering impact and innovations that enhance the lives of people in the UK, across Europe and around the world. UCL is consistently placed in the global top 20 across a wide range of university rankings (currently 5th in the QS World University Rankings). Furthermore, the Thomson Scientific Citation Index shows that UCL is the 2nd most highly cited European university and 14th in the world. UCL’s total competitively awarded research income annually stands at an impressive € 530 million, of which 10% is European funded research & innovation. UCL is one of the leading recipients of European Framework Programme grants, with over 700 projects funded during the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) including more than 100 prestigious European Research Council awards. UCL also receives the highest share of any UK university of the UK Government’s strategic investment fund, and has recently invested more than € 310 million into state-of-the-art infrastructure to facilitate cutting-edge research across a broad range of disciplines. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) published the results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) in which the research of UK universities was evaluated by expert review panels. 

The Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE) at UCL was created 125 years ago and is the first Electrical Engineering Department in the UK. The Department is one of the leading research-led departments in its subject area worldwide. The department currently has around 35 Academic Staff, around 25 Research Fellows and over 100 Doctoral Research Students. Each year the Department produces around 250 Publications and 5 filed Patents. Of departments that submitted all of their academic research staff for assessment, UCL was ranked as the leading department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in the UK, with 37.7% of its research outputs given the highest 4* rating, 58.3% 3*, 3.3% 2* and 0.7% 1*. 4* research is defined by REF as being "World Leading", 3* as "Internationally Excellent", 2* as "Internationally Recognised" and 1* as "Nationally Recognised". Departments were also assessed for the non-academic impact of their research and for the quality of their research environment to arrive at an overall rating. Here UCL was ranked as one of the top two departments of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in the UK who submitted all of their academic research staff for assessment, with an overall ratings profile of 40% 4*, 57% 3*, 3% 2* and no 1* or unclassified research.

Professor Huiyun Liu is a member of the Photonics Research Group. The Photonics Research Group is involved in studies of opto-electronic devices, sub-systems and systems ranging from semiconductor lasers and liquid crystal wavelength division multiplex filters to millimetre-wave over fibre broadband access systems, with close interactions with industry and other leading research groups around the world. The research groups ability to explore fundamental physics of new opto-electronic devices through to high-speed optical systems research is a particular strength, and unique among UK universities. The Group's announced new grant and contract income over the period 2003 to 2008 was over £ 10 million and is on a rising trend.

Main tasks in PICTURE:

Within the PICTURE project, UCL is mainly responsible for developing high-quality GaAs buffer layer on GaAs/SiO2/Si substrates developed at CEA LETI and high-performance InAs/GaAs quantum-dot lasers and DFB lasers on it. UCL will also lead WP3 on III-V materials and devices grown on III-V/SiO2/Si substrates. 

UCL MBE group is the internationally leading group and has extensive expertise on the III-V quantum-dot materials and devices grown on group-IV substrates. From 2011, the study on silicon-based III-V quantum dots has generated more than 20 papers in refereed journals (including 2 Nature Photonics and 2 ACS Photonics), two granted plus two filed patents filed at UCL, and 8 research grants (over £4.5 million for UCL MBE group). The first two papers on III-V quantum dots grown Ge (Nature Photon.) and silicon substrates (Optics Express) have been viewed by the leading journal in physical and engineering field. The related track records include (i) first demonstration of QD lasers on Ge substrates; (ii) first demonstration of 1300-nm QD laser on Si substrate; (iii) first demonstration of III-V/Si laser with >100,000 hour lifetime, and (iv) demonstration of record low threshold current density for multi-layer semiconductor III-V quantum dots.

A representative Atomic Force Micrope image (1000nm x 1000nm) of an uncapped QD sample grown on silicon substrate.

  • Huiyun Liu is Project board representative for UCL

Huiyun Liu (male) received the PhD in Semiconductor Science from the Institute of Semiconductor, Chinese Academy of Sciences. After receiving his PhD, he joined the EPSRC National Centre for III-V Technologies at University of Sheffield in August 2001. He was responsible for the development of Molecular Beam Epitaxy growth of semiconductor materials for the UK academic and industrial research community. In 2007, he was awarded Royal Society University Research Fellow and started his academic career in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at UCL, where he is currently a Professor of Semiconductor Photonics. He has co-authored over 300 papers in the area of compound semiconductor materials and devices. His general interest concentrates on the nanometre-scale engineering of low-dimensional semiconductor structures (such as quantum dots, quantum wires, and quantum wells) by using molecular beam epitaxy and the development of novel optoelectronic devices including lasers, detectors, and modulators by developing novel device process techniques.

  • Connected to the subject of PICTURE, the following projects have been previously carried-out or are ongoing
  • Oct. 2016 – Sept. 2024: EPSRC Future Manufacturing Hub (UCL PI, £2,148,334): This EPSRC grant provides 7 year funding for developing silicon-based III-V nanostructures into commercial products. 
  • Jul. 2016 – Jan. 2020: GaAsP-GaAs nanowire quantum dots for novel quantum emitters (PI, £948,376): This EPSRC grant provide two research fellows and research funding to develop high-performance GaAsP-GaAs nanowire quantum dots on silicon substrates with the use of the UCL MBE facility and device processing facilities at LCN 
  • Oct. 2014 – Sept. 2015:  Lifetime of silicon-based InAs/GaAs quantum dot laser diodes for silicon photonics (PI, £60,000): This is the collaboration project with Oclaro. 
  • Apr. 2012 – Oct. 2015: Si based quantum-dot light sources and lasers (PI, £652,595): This EPSRC grant provide two research fellows and research funding to develop high-performance III-V quantum-dot lasers on silicon substrates with the use of the UCL MBE facility and device processing facilities at LCN.  

UCL has recently invested £4.5 million to establish new Molecular Beam Epitaxy facility with the capacity to grow As-, P-, and Sb-based III-V compound materials and Group-IV materials, such as Si, Ge and Sn, and wide range characterization facilities for epitaxial materials and devices, such as High-Resolution X-ray, Photoluminescence Mapping system, AFM and SIMS. The substrate heater in this system operates at temperatures up to 1000 oC, much higher than the ~750 oC of traditional III-V MBE systems. This is specially designed to provide a simple and practical way to remove the Si substrate oxide layer (> 850 oC) prior to the growth of III-V epitaxial layers for III-V/Si integration. The state-of-the-art UCL MBE is equipped with Arsenic (As), Phosphors (P), and Antimony (Sb) crackers, and Ga, Al, and In SUMOTM cells; allowing the growth of complex and novel III-V epitaxial structures. This system is hence ideally suited to the current programme of development of novel quantum-dot epitaxial structures. The LCN has invested over £20 million in state-of-the-art III-V device processing facilities including items such as Focused Ion Beam processing, E-beam lithography, wet etching, dry etching (ICP), dielectric deposition, and metallization, which are available for this programme. In addition, a wide of range of characterization facilities, such as photoluminescence, electroluminescence in the temperature range between 10K and 100oC, Atomic Force Microscopes, Scanning Tunneling Microscopes, Transmission Electron Microscope, optical spectrum analysis, network and spectrum analysis to 110 GHz, vector signal analysis and bit error rate measurement, and high-resolution X-ray diffractometry system are also available at UCL for this programme.

UCL twin MBE facility

University College London (UCL)

Project Support

III-V Labs
Campus de Polytechnique
1, avenue Augustin Fresnel
F-91767 Palaiseau Cedex
Phone : + 33 1 69 41 55 00
Arnaud Wilk

Quick Links

  • Picture-h2020 Project Intranet
  • Silicon Photonics Group website
  • Picture-h2020 Events