University of st andrews

Description of the organisation


The School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of St Andrews (USTAN) is renowned for its Photonics research. The core competence of the Nanophotonics group is the nanostructuring capability based on electron‐beam nanolithography system, coupled with dedicated processing tools exclusively used by the group. The group holds the world record for low‐loss slow light photonic crystal waveguides highlighting the high quality of structures made at St Andrews. The group specialises in the design, fabrication and characterisation of advanced Nanophotonic devices, in particular ultra- compact Photonic Crystal devices. The School of Physics and Astronomy was rated equal third in the UK in the latest Research Excellence Framework.


Role in the project


In COSMICC, USTAN will develop photonic crystal modulators, photodetectors and lasers (WP2) and contribute to developing a low cost packaging strategy (WP5).

Main contact

Dr. William Whelan-Curtin

SUPA, School of Physics and Astronomy,

North Haugh,

St Andrews

Fife, KY16 9SS UK


+44 1334 461677

Key people involved

Dr. William Whelan-Curtin (male) (who publishes under the name “Liam O'Faolain”) is one of the leading authorities on disorder and loss in Photonic Crystals and has made a number of key in the field. He currently holds a European Research Council Starting grant and is PI of the Scottish Enterprise project FRONTIER. He was PI on the Nanoscience ERA project LECSING (ended Feb 2012). He also co-founded and runs NanoPIX, a foundry service for nanophotonic devices (, which has supplied 15-20 research teams across Europe with bespoke samples, resulting in more than 80 joint publications since September 2006. In 2012, he was a member of Prof. David A. B. Miller’s group at Stanford University as a SU2P Entreprenurial Fellow. He leads the Nanophotonics Group at the University of St Andrews, the main goal of which is the realisation of a new family of low power optical interconnects based on Photonic Crystal cavities. He is the author/co-author of more than 80 journal papers and currently receives 450 citations per year. His "h"-factor is 31