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Head of the Photonic and Radio Frequency Engineering Laboratory, Faculty of Engineering
Professor Eric Larkins is the Head of the Photonic and Radio Frequency Engineering Laboratory in the Optics and Photonics Group. His teaching focusses on photonics, semiconductor devices and emerging technologies. His research focusses on semiconductor devices operating at high electrical and optical power densities, where he studies complex interactions between carriers, light (photons) and heat (phonons) and how to control them. These interactions lead to nonequilibrium phenomena and nonlinear electrical and optical behaviour not included in low-power, quasi-equilibrium models. These interactions are important because they can either enhance the device performance with new functionality or degrade its performance with increased noise and reduced efficiency. The research activities of the Photonic and Radio Frequency Engineering Laboratory include collaborations with the School of Physics and Astronomy and the Nottingham Nanoscale and Microscale Research Center on both non-equilibrium phonon processes and nanophotonic device fabrication.
Eric Larkins received the BS degree in electrical engineering with distinction from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA in 1980. He received the MS and PhD degrees in electrical engineering with a physics minor from Stanford University, Stanford, California in 1985 and 1991 respectively. He pursued his doctoral research on light-emitting heterostructure thyristor switches and molecular beam epitaxy, receiving full support from 1984-5 as a Solid State Affiliates Fellow and from 1985 as a Kodak Fellow. Eric's achievements at Stanford included the molecular beam epitaxial (MBE) growth of record-setting high-purity GaAs, a book chapter on impurity incorporation in MBE-grown GaAs and two U.S. patents.
Eric Larkins joined the Explorative Technology Group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics in Freiburg, Germany in 1991, where he worked on high-speed semiconductor lasers, InGaAs/GaAs MSM photodetectors, intersubband photodetectors, and optical modulators. At the Fraunhofer Institute, he developed MBE growth processes for highly-strained pseudomorphic InGaAs/GaAs quantum wells for lasers and HEMTs. He contributed to the development of high-speed lasers with record-setting direct modulation bandwidths (>40GHz) and grew the Fraunhofer-IAF's first high-power laser diodes. Eric also contributed to the development of long-wavelength infrared (8-12 um) quantum well intersubband photodetectors (QWIP) and the invention of a new tunnelling, quantum-well intersubband photodetector to extend the operation to mid-infrared (MIR) wavelengths (3-5 um). This new MIR photodetector resulted in a German patent.
Professor Larkins joined the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Nottingham as a Lecturer in October 1994 and was appointed Reader in 1998 and Professor of Optoelectronics in 2002. He currently serves as Head of the Photonic and Radio Frequency Engineering Group/Laboratory (2001-present). He established the Marconi Centre for Photonic Communications at the University of Nottingham in 2001 and was its Director until the restructuring of Marconi in 2003. Since 2014, he is the University representative to the Photonics21 European Technology Platform. He also served on the University Core Strategy Group on Europe (2002-07) and the Engineering Faculty Foresight Group (1998-2000). He has examined PhD candidates and been reviewer for academic posts in the UK, China, Switzerland, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Germany. Professor Larkins is a member of the Institute of Physics (IOP), Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and co-founded the University of Nottingham IEEE Student Branch in 2001.
Professor Larkins is the author of more than 270 papers, including seven book chapters, two US patents and co-author of a German patent.
Professor Larkins is a member of the Optics and Photonics research group.
Photonics and optoelectronics; nonequilibrium carrier and phonon effects in devices; physics of semiconductor materials and devices; modelling and simulation of semiconductor devices; high-power and high-speed semiconductor lasers; molecular beam epitaxy.
Professor Larkins is highly committed to teaching and professional development. He has served as Departmental Staff Development Officer (2014-18), Leader of the Electronics Teaching Strand (2013-16),… read more
Professor Larkins' research focusses on the experimental investigation and numerical simulation of nonlinear electronic, optical and thermal interactions in semiconductor devices operating at very… read more
The Photonic and Radio Frequency Engineering Laboratory has developed a suite of three physics-based device simulation tools (Speclase, Dynlase and Barlase), which are based on a common platform. These tools self-consistently simulate the optical, electrical and thermal behaviour of the devices. Speclase performs self-consistent steady-state simulations across a range of optical wavelengths. Dynlase performs time domain simulations of their dynamic and transient response. Finally, Barlase is a platform for connecting and running multiple instances of Speclase or Dynlase - making it possible to simulate interactions between multiple active devices, such as those that occur in photonic integrated circuits (PICs).
A key feature of these tools is their detailed description of the device structure and their accurate and self-consistent treatment of the underlying optical, electronic and thermal processes. This allows our tools to predictively simulate the detailed optical and electrical performance of devices in the wavelength and time domain. The results below show how well our simulations predict and agree with experiment. Promising results have also been obtained for the inclusion of nonlinear optical and nonequilibrium (carrier, LO phonon) processes.
Simulation of laser spectrum and its dependence on current
Professor Larkins is highly committed to teaching and professional development. He has served as Departmental Staff Development Officer (2014-18), Leader of the Electronics Teaching Strand (2013-16), departmental European Liaison Officer responsible for student exchanges with European universities (1996-2005), First Year Senior Tutor (1995-2005) and was a member of the Staff-Student Consultative Committee (1995-2005). He was Director of the UNIMAT Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Centre in Photonics and Electronics (2003-07), which supported and trained 19 PhD students. Prof. Larkins Chaired the Departmental Course Review (2014-15) and served as Implementation Manager (2015-16), which introduced sweeping changes to the undergraduate course structure for which the Department received the 2018 by Lord Dearing Award for Excellence in the Learning Environment.
Current Teaching Activities (after Course Review)
EEEE2047 Contemporary Engineering Themes (2017 - present)
EEEE3098 Integrated Circuits and Systems (2018 - present)
EEEE4122 Electrical and Electronic Engineering Fundamentals for MSc Students (2019 - present)
Interactive Technical Tutorial Sessions with First Year Students
ENGF1005 Principles of Electro-Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship
ENGF1006 Professional Skills for Apprentice Engineers
Current Undergraduate Supervision
MEng Group Project Supervision
BEng / MEng Final Year Project Supervision
First and Second Year Tutor Groups
Past Teaching Activities (before Course Review)
H63SSD Solid State Devices (1998 - 2017)
H64PCC Photonic Communication Components (2006 - 2018)
H64RFL RF Microelectronics (2014 - 2018)
H14POD Advanced Engineering Research Project Organization and Design (2016 - 2017)
H14ERP Advanced Engineering Research Preparation (2015 - 2018)
Senior Tutor for Electromechanical Engineering Apprenticeship (2021 - present)
Manager for Implementation of Course Review (2015 - 2016)
Chair of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Course Review (2014 - 2015)
Institutional teaching exchange programme (LLP-Erasmus) with University of Ferrara (2012 - 2013)
Traveled twice to Ferrara to deliver lectures and meet with students. Hosted one teaching visit from Dr. Bellanca from the University of Ferrara
MSc in Photonic Communications (2006 - 2014)
Led the development of this new MSc Course as Director of the Marconi Centre for Photonic Communications.
Member, Photonics21 Working Group 7 "Photonics Research, Education and Training" (2006 - present)
Leader, Training and Dissemination Workpackages, BRIGHTer (2006 - 2010), BRIGHT (2004 - 2006) Led the development and delivery of innovative training and dissemination activities in these EC-IST Integrated Projects (see www.ist-brighter.eu), including:
Technical Tutorial (Invited), "Nonequilibrium gain and nonlinear optical response of quantum wells for functional photonic devices," International Conference on the Numerical Simulation of Optoelectronic Devices (NUSOD), Singapore, 2006.
Director, UNIMAT Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Centre for Photonics and Electronics (2003 - 2010), which supported and trained 19 PhD students.
Member, Staff-Student Consultative Committee (1995-2005)
First Year Senior Tutor (1995-2005)
Associate Fellow, Higher Education Academy, 2019
Lord Dearing Award for Excellence in the Learning Environment, 2018
Nominated by students for Staff Oscar in the Category "Teaching: Most Inspiring", 2017
Professor Larkins' research focusses on the experimental investigation and numerical simulation of nonlinear electronic, optical and thermal interactions in semiconductor devices operating at very high optical and/or electrical power densities. These devices include high-power and high-speed laser diodes, semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs) and functional nanophotonic devices, where hot phonons and other non-equilibrium phenomena and nonlinear optical processes affect device performance. The goals of Eric's research include: exploring innovative approaches to improving the performance and efficiency of high-power devices; developing a new class of simulation and design tools for high-power lasers, amplifiers and transistors. While SOAs are key devices in photonic integrated circuits, they have a significant nonlinear optical response which provides both useful functionality (wavelength conversion) and undesirable noise. In nanophotonic devices, small optical resonators lead to extreme power densities and produce strong nonlinear optical, opto-mechanical and optical trapping effects at very small power levels and are being used to develop new technologies in biophotonics, cross-chip communications, and optical signal processing.
Professor Larkins is an active member of the international research community. He Co-Chairs the IEEE High Power Diode Lasers and Systems Conference since 2011. He Co-Chaired the 2008 International Conference on the Numerical Simulation of Optoelectronic Devices (NUSOD) and currently serves on the NUSOD Steering Committee. He serves on the Program Committee of the IEEE Semiconductor Laser Conference and the European Semiconductor Laser Workshop. He also served on the Semiconductor Lasers Committee of the IEEE Photonics Conference (2014 and 2016). He has served as an individual Project Reviewer for an EC Future and Emerging Technologies project on polariton lasers (2006-08) and has served as a Reviewer for the European Commission on numerous programmes (1997-2020). In 2006, he served as a Reviewer for the Programme Télécommunications for France's Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR). In 2003, he chaired the Review Panel for the Future Electronics (TULE) Programme of the Academy of Finland, having previously served on the Review Panel of their Electronic Materials and Microstructures (EMMA) Programme in 2002.
Professor Larkins' research has focussed on bringing science and industry closer together. He was the architect of a series of successful and influential European laser diode projects, which helped change the structure of the European laser diode community. In particular, the EC ULTRABRIGHT, BRIGHT and BRIGHTer projects brought together a large number of researchers to introduce a new paradigm to European laser research. This facilitated the development of new laser wavelengths for smaller markets (e.g. red laser diodes for medical and display applications) on an affordable marginal (differential) cost basis.
Grants to Promote Research Impact
International Collaborative Research Grants
Professor Larkins' research on high-injection devices will focus on the investigation and modelling of nonequilibrium carrier/phonon dynamics and the exploration of LO phonon lifetime engineering to suppress hot-phonon phenomena. In nanoscale devices, his research will focus on the use of resonantly-enhanced nonlinear optical and optomechanical light-matter interactions for use in biophotonics, communications, and all-optical signal processing.
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