During the Photonics Summer Camp, participants actively participate in research projects that focus on key areas of photonics research and are mentored by leading scholars and experts. Students are matched with professors based on their interests and expertise. 

Some of the research topics in Photonics Summer Camp are outlined below:

Photonics of Complex Systems: Professor Andrea Fratalocchi

  1. Artificial intelligent photonics hardware for machine vision and ultra-sensitive detection.
  2. Machine learning adaptive metamaterials.
  3. Neuromorphic optoelectronic hardware for on-chip cognitive computing.

Professor Boon Ooi

  1. All solar-driven scalable ammonia production - a semiconductor approach to world food production: 
    • The project focuses on identifying promising photoelectrodes for photoelectrochemical nitrogen reduction reactions in large-area under a completely solar-driven process. Specifically, we are looking to design novel photoelectrodes with excellent photo-charge carrier generation, superior catalyst activity, and high selectivity. Further, the project includes identifying alternative water sources such as seawater/wastewater. Once developed, the technology is anticipated to solve the disparity in fertilizer distribution and delocalize its production to individual farms.

  2. Ultrawide bandgap semiconductors for power electronics, semiconductor photonics, and quantum technology:
    • The project focuses on the development of group-III oxide and its hybrids for pushing the frontiers of advanced semiconductor epitaxy technologies. Leveraging highly sophisticated and state-of-the-art epitaxy techniques and heterostructures development, characterization experiments will be carried out targeting the eventual design and fabrication of devices. The use-inspired research targets the domain of electric vehicles, power transmission as well as quantum bit processing, and secure communication.

  3. State-of-the-art distributed fiber sensing:
    • The project focuses on the development of electronics and photonics for ultra-sensitive, multi-sensing using lasers. The selection and integration of hardware and electronics will be carried out to continue to improve our award-winning laser-sensing box. The industry-driven research has already fulfilled the demands of several real-world applications in all-weather and multi-scenario environments and infrastructure sensing.

Professor Carlo Liberale

  1. High-resolution 3D printing of novel photonic devices.
  2. Development of a chemically sensitive microscope for label-free bioimaging.

Professor Mohamed-Slim Alouini

  1. Study of free space optical communication for integrated Ground-Air-Space networks.
  2. Study of laser-powered drones.
  3. Development of resource allocation schemes for aerial visible light communications.

Professor Xiaohang Li

High-Efficiency Visible Micro-LED for AR/VR Applications

Description: InGaN-based blue, green, and red (RGB) micro-LEDs have garnered significant attention and interest due to their exceptional features such as high contrast, intense brightness, excellent energy efficiency, and long device lifetimes, positioning them as strong contenders as the next-generation display technology. However, the traditional plasma etching process for defining micro-LED pixels could lead to significant sidewall damage. Defects near sidewall regions act as non-radiative recombination centers and paths for current leakage, significantly deteriorating device performance. This project will focus on optimizing the micro-LED fabrication process to suppress the effect of sidewall damage on micro-LED efficiency. Various experimental skills based on device processing and characterization will be trained at the KAUST cleanroom and core lab.

Deliverables: High-quality micro-LED prototype.

High-Efficiency DUV Micro-LED for the Disinfection Application

Description: AlGaN-based deep ultraviolet (DUV) light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have undergone rapid development due to attractive applications, such as water purification, sterilization, communication, and sensing. Compared with conventional mercury lamps, DUV LEDs have obvious advantages in terms of lifetime, size, and environmental protection, and are considered mainstream DUV sources for the future. However, DUV LEDs still face the low-efficiency issue, making their practical applications challenging. One factor is the low light extraction efficiency, meaning that light is confined within the device and reabsorbed, unable to be efficiently extracted and utilized. The reduction in device size to fabricate micro-size DUV LEDs can significantly improve the light extraction efficiency and is considered a potential solution for future DUV LEDs. This project will explore how to further optimize the optical and electrical performance of micro DUV LEDs. Various experimental skills based on device processing and characterization will be trained at the KAUST cleanroom and core lab.

Deliverables: Micro-UV LED disinfector.

High-Efficiency Harmless 222 nm Far-UVC LED

Description: People have reported that short-wavelength UV light in the spectral region of 200–230 nm (far-UVC) can inactivate pathogens without harming human cells. Therefore, it would be very attractive and helpful in future UV applications. The 222 nm emission of KrCl excimer lamps is one of the conventional far-UVC light sources. However, the AlGaN-based UV LED is a potential candidate as a semiconductor device to replace any conventional UV light sources in the future. However, improving the efficiency of 222nm far-UV LEDs is quite challenging, with the current external quantum efficiency below 0.01%. This project will utilize simulation software to design and optimize the 222nm far-UV LED device structure, aiming to enhance the carrier transport capability and quantum well radiative recombination performance. APSYS simulation technology will be employed and trained in this project.

Deliverables: Reliable simulation results supporting experimental plan in future.

Integration of On-Chip Light Sources: Professor Yating Wan

  1. Integrated Quantum Dot Lasers on Silicon.
  2. Integrated photonics for artificial intelligence and neuromorphic computing.
  3. Linewidth narrowing in self-injection-locked on-chip lasers.