The over-arching theme of the Knights research program remains the development of highly integrated silicon photonic devices and systems, primarily for applications in high-bandwidth data-communications. This approach uses innovative materials research to provide solutions to performance limitations, ultimately exploited through device design, fabrication and characterization. The work is set within the boundary conditions of potential deployment and commercial exploitation.
We collaborate with leading academic and industrial research groups in Canada, the US and Europe. Such collaboration enables technology sharing and provides opportunities for graduate students to undertake placements in leading labs.
Training has always been central to our research program. Graduate students in the Knights Group receive training related to optical design, manufacture and characterization and the fabrication and test of semiconductors. We have a collaborative working environment between group members and with academic and industrial partners. It is our opinion that this prepares students for positions at a higher level in academia or within industrial research.
We are currently recruiting post docs, PhD, MASc and undergraduate summer students.
We continue to strive to understand the complex interaction of deep-level defects and dopants with propagating light signals in silicon waveguides. Projects in this area include the development of high-speed avalanche detectors, novel optical modulators, and optical trimming.
In collaboration with the research group of Professor Jon Bradley we are developing the theme of platform photonics and nano-transformative photonics. This work includes rare-earth lasers on a silicon platform, optical amplifiers, and using Focussed Ion Beams to enable co-packed optics.
Materials characterization remains central to our advances in optics. We utilize the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy (based at McMaster) and the Positron Beam to provide atomic level information on modified optical materials.
McMaster University has a long track record in both Optoelectronics and Materials Science research. As such, the University is home to multi-user facilities which allow cutting-edge fabrication and characterization. In addition, the Knights group has a well-equipped optical laboratory for the measurement of integrated devices. Graduate students working in our group are thus guaranteed experience in the most advanced experimental techniques.
Prof. Knights is an active member of the McMaster Centre for Emerging Device Technologies (CEDT) and the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research (BIMR). These centres support world-class device fabrication (lithography, ion implantation, metal and dielectric deposition, annealing etc.) and materials analysis (TEM, FIB-SEM, Positron Annihilation, Hall Effect, DLTS, X-Ray analysis, etc.).
The global semiconductor industry generates >$300 billion each year. There thus exists a large number of industrial and academic research groups addressing a complete range of research topics to support future deployment. For academic groups to compete in this landscape research in silicon material and devices requires a collaborative approach resulting in shared infrastructure. Using this model within the Canadian system we have been able to utilize equipment and expertise well-beyond the resources we might reasonably expect in isolation. Thus, almost all of our work is collaborative.
In Canada we work with academic groups at Queen’s University (high-speed optical testing), UBC (integrated silicon photonics), National Research Council, Ottawa (active sub-wavelength gratings) and Western University (defect characterization). We are a long-time member and promoter of Canadian facilitator CMC Microsystems whose financial and logistical support allow us to compete with the very best groups.
Professor Knights has worked in silicon photonics since 1996. The highest profile work in recent years has been the development of a high-speed, monolithic detector compatible with silicon photonic systems operating at a wavelength of ~2000nm.
The Knights group has a well-equipped optical laboratory for the measurement of integrated devices. The group also has access to the McMaster Centre for Emerging Device Technologies (CEDT) and the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research (BIMR).