Dr. Liam O'Faolain

Lecturer in Nanophotonics
Research Theme:
Condensed Matter and Photonics
Research Group:
St. Andrews
Email address:
Telephone number:
+44 (0)1334 46
School of Physics & Astronomy, Physical Science Building, North Haugh, St Andrews, KY16 9SS, United Kingdom

Research interests

Liam O'Faolain is a lecturer at the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of St Andrews. He is one of the leading authorities on disorder and loss in Photonic Crystals and has  designed  and  realised  the  world's  best  slowlight  waveguides  to  date. Photonic crystal cavities are another of his main research interests, and he has recently used them to realise record low optical switching energies and record high levels of light emission from silicon. One of his group's main research goals is the realisation of a new family of low power optical interconnects based on Photonic Crystal cavities.

He also co-founded and runs NanoPIX, a foundry service for nanophotonic devices (www.nanophotonics.eu). This has supplied  15-20  research  teams  across  Europe  with  bespoke  samples,  resulting  in  more  than  80  joint publications since September 2006.

He is PI on the Scottish Enterprise Proof of Concept project FRONTIER which is commercialising some of his recent discoveries.


I currently teach "Physics of Electronic Devices" PH4025, and "Photonic Crystals and Plasmonics module" of PH5183/PH5263 (jointly with Dr. Andrea di Falco). I also run a cleanroom course in which students get the opportunity to fabricate a semiconductor laser.

Research outputs

  1. Realization of a flat-band superprism on-chip from parallelogram lattice photonic crystals DOI
    Jeremy Upham, Boshen Gao, Liam O'Faolain, Zhimin Shi, Sebastian A. Schulz and Robert W. Boyd, Optics Letters, 43, 20 , p. 4981-4984 (2018)
  2. Wavelength stability in a hybrid photonic crystal laser through controlled nonlinear absorptive heating in the reflector DOI
    Andrei P. Bakoz, Alexandros A. Liles, Alfredo A. Gonzalez-Fernandez, Tatiana Habruseva, Changyu Hu, Evgeny A. Viktorov, Stephen P. Hegarty and Liam O’Faolain, Light: Science & Applications, 7 (2018)
  3. Tunable optical buffer through an analogue to electromagnetically induced transparency in coupled photonic crystal cavities DOI
    Changyu Hu, Sebastian A. Schulz, Alexandros A. Liles and Liam O'Faolain, ACS Photonics, 5, 5 , p. 1827-1832 (2018)
  4. Reflection from a free carrier front via an intraband indirect photonic transition DOI
    Mahmoud A. Gaafar, Dirk Jalas, Liam O’Faolain, Juntao Li, Thomas F. Krauss, Alexander Yu. Petrov and Manfred Eich, Nature Communications, 9 (2018)
  5. Optimizing band-edge slow light in silicon-on-insulator waveguide gratings DOI
    Marco Passoni, Dario Gerace, Liam O'Faolain and Lucio Claudio Andreani, Optics Express, 26, 7 , p. 8470-8478 (2018)
  6. Transmission and reflection from a free carrier front in a silicon slow light waveguide DOI
    Mahmoud Gaafar, Dirk Jalas, Liam O’Faolain, Juntao Li, Thomas F. Krauss, Alexander Petrov and Manfred Eich (2017)
  7. Tight focusing of laser light using a chromium Fresnel zone plate DOI
    V. V. Kotlyar, S. S. Stafeev, A. G. Nalimov, M. V. Kotlyar, Liam O'Faolain and E. S. Kozlova, Optics Express, 25, 17 , p. 19662-19671 (2017)
  8. Photonic crystal slow light waveguides in a kagome lattice DOI
    Sebastian A. Schulz, Jeremy Upham, Liam O'Faolain and Robert W. Boyd, Optics Letters, 42, 16 , p. 3243-3246 (2017)
  9. Thin high numerical aperture metalens DOI
    V. V. Kotlyar, A. G. Nalimov, S. S. Stafeev, Changyu Hu, L. O'Faolain, M. V. Kotlyar, D. Gibson and S. Song, Optics Express, 25, 7 , p. 8158-8167 (2017)
  10. Tight focusing of azimuthally polarized optical vortex produced by subwavelength grating DOI
    S.S. Stafeev, A.G. Nalimov, M.V. Kotlyar, Liam O'Faolain, V.V. Kotlyar, Victor Soifer (Editor), Nikolay Kazanskiy (Editor), Olga Korotkova (Editor) and Sergei Sazhin (Editor), : Procedia Engineering, p. 83-89 (2017)
Last updated: 06 Mar 2019 at 10:14