Fun-COMP creates first ever integrated nanoscale device programmable with either photons or electrons

Congratulations to Prof. C. David Wright whose work as lead of the EU H2020 project Fun-COMP was featured on the University’s main news webpage.

The team have created the first-ever integrated nanoscale device programmable with either photons or electrons. This device helps achieve faster and more energy efficient computer memories and processors. Fun-COMP is a collaboration between researchers at Universities of Exeter, Oxford and Münster, along with IBM Zurich, Thales Saclay, IMEC and C2N-CNRS.

The findings are detailed in the paper Plasmonic nanogap enhanced phase change devices with dual electrical-optical functionality, which Prof. C. David Wright co-authored.

PGR Carlota Ruiz De Galarreta chairs a session at Complex Nanophotonics Science Camp workshop

From 11th to 14th August, fourth year PGR Carlota Ruiz De Galarreta  attended the Complex Nanophotonic Science Camp, held in Cumberland Lodge (Windsor Park). The event is specifically oriented to early-career stage scientists working in different fields, such as imaging in turbid media, optical neural networks or disordered metasurfaces.CDT alumnus Ilya Starshynov contributed a talk on ‘Non-line-of-sight imaging using artificial neural networks’.

Here’s what Carlota said about her experience:

During the event, I had the opportunity to attend to various talks from a wide range of topics going from structural colour generators to biosensors, as well as to chair one of the sessions. In addition, I’ve been given the opportunity to present my work about all-dielectric phase-change metasurfaces in the poster session, which I found quite useful to get feedback from people working in different areas (hence to get new points of view and perspectives of my work!).

I would definitely come back next year!


Carlota’s publications include ‘Nonvolatile Reconfigurable Phase-Change Metadevices for Beam Steering in the Near Infrared’ in Advanced Functional Materials. Her PhD project is on ‘Electronically-controllable optical wavefront shaping with phase-change metamaterials’, supervised by Prof. C. David Wright and Dr Jacopo Bertolotti. 

She is now working with David as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at University of Exeter, where she continues working in the field of reconfigurable phase-change metasurfaces and photonics, as well as helping new CDT students with their projects. She has been recently involved in the Fun-Comp European project, which aims to develop new electronic and photonic computing building blocks and computing networks based on phase-change materials.

New publication: ‘A Nonvolatile Phase‐Change Metamaterial Color Display’

Congratulations to PGR Santiago Garcia-Cuevas Carrillo, who is the lead author on ‘A Nonvolatile Phase‐Change Metamaterial Color Display’, recently published in Advanced Optical Materials. Co-authors include fourth year PGR  Liam Trimby and Prof. C. David Wright.


Chalcogenide phase‐change materials, which exhibit a marked difference in their electrical and optical properties when in their amorphous and crystalline phases and can be switched between these phases quickly and repeatedly, are traditionally exploited to deliver nonvolatile data storage in the form of rewritable optical disks and electrical phase‐change memories. However, exciting new potential applications are now emerging in areas such as integrated phase‐change photonics, phase‐change optical metamaterials/metasurfaces, and optoelectronic displays. Here, ideas from these last two fields are fused together to deliver a novel concept, namely a switchable phase‐change metamaterial/metasurface resonant absorber having nonvolatile color generating capabilities. With the phase‐change layer, here GeTe, in the crystalline phase, the resonant absorber can be tuned to selectively absorb the red, green, and blue spectral bands of the visible spectrum, so generating vivid cyan, magenta, and yellow pixels. When the phase‐change layer is switched into the amorphous phase, the resonant absorption is suppressed and a flat, pseudowhite reflectance results. Thus, a route to the potential development is opened‐up of nonvolatile, phase‐change metamaterial color displays and color electronic signage.


Santiago passed his viva in May this yearpassed his viva in May this yearpassed his viva in May this year. His previous publications include ‘Reconfigurable phase-change meta-absorbers with on-demand quality factor control’ and ‘Design of practicable phase-change metadevices for near-infrared absorber and modulator applications, both published in Optics Express.

Integrated phase-change photonics for memory and computing devices

PGR Emanuele Gemo

This video, narrated by our third year PGR Emanuele Gemo, gives a short description of the integrated phase-change photonic memory, a device allowing to store and retrieve non-volatile information on optical chips.

Emanuele’s research project is focused on the theoretical study of this class of devices, and on the proposal of solutions to improve its energy, speed and memory density performances. This device architecture has the potential to be exploited not only for memory applications, but also for in-memory computing: this aim is pursued by the EU2020 funded Fun-COMP research project, led by Prof. C.David Wright, which is a collaboration between seven academic and industrial partners focused to create a light signal based – biologically inspired neuromorphic platform, of which the phase-change photonic memory is an integral part.

The video has been created for the Fun-COMP website, to explain to an extended audience this key building block, with simple terms and yet drawing upon all the essential elements.

Emanuele co-authored “Tunable Volatility of Ge2Sb2Te5 in Integrated Photonics”, a paper which was recently published in prestigious journal Advanced Functional Materials