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Semiconductor crystal phase engineering: new platforms for future photonics

Project description

Multiscale models pave the way for novel semiconductor crystal structures

Structure is intimately related to function, whether it is the shape of the chair you sit in or the arrangement of atoms in a semiconductor crystal. Engineering semiconductors with different crystal phases such as cubic and hexagonal is a novel way to enhance the properties of conventional semiconductor materials. However, engineers need enhanced understanding and design tools to create the properties required for new applications. With the support of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the SATORI project will develop multiscale models incorporating electronic properties and carrier recombination to optimise crystal phase engineering for photonics applications.


Excepting III-N compounds, the III-V and group-IV semiconductors that underpin contemporary optoelectronics crystallise in a cubic structure. Recent advancements in semiconductor growth enable switching between cubic and hexagonal phases in these materials, allowing fabrication of hexagonal semiconductors and crystal phase heterostructures (CPHs). Growth in metastable phases radically alters material properties, with so-called crystal phase engineering (CPE) constituting a new paradigm to tailor semiconductors for practical applications. However, detailed understanding of the implications of CPE for technologically-relevant material properties is currently lacking.

The SATORI project will employ a multi-scale approach, encompassing atomistic first principles calculations and continuum model/software development, to establish a new state of the art in theory and simulation for CPE. This platform will be applied to quantify key hexagonal phase and CPH properties, and hence to identify optimised materials and nanostructures for photonics applications. This significantly enhanced understanding of the properties and potential of CPE will provide critical insights to a burgeoning experimental community.

The outgoing phase will proceed at the University of California Santa Barbara, USA (UCSB) under the supervision of Prof. Chris Van de Walle, and will focus on first principles analysis of electronic properties and carrier recombination. The return phase will proceed at Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Ireland (TNI-UCC) under the supervision of Prof. Eoin O’Reilly, and will focus on multi-scale simulation and optimisation of the properties of CPHs for visible and infrared photonics applications. By combining the expertise of UCSB in first principles analysis with that of TNI-UCC in multi-scale device simulation, SATORI will deliver new insights and simulation tools to drive development of photonic devices based on this emerging class of semiconductors.


Net EU contribution
€ 257 561,28
T12 YN60 Cork

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Ireland Southern South-East
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 257 561,28

Partners (1)