COBRA is recognized worldwide as a leading research institute in the field of optoelectronic materials, devices and communication systems technology. A number of research ideas that originated at COBRA have been adopted by the international research community, and some have led to widely used applications. Some examples:

  • The Arrayed Waveguide Grating (AWG) was invented by COBRA and is now a commonly used key building block in any optical wavelength division, multiplexed communication system. It is fairly safe to state that anybody using the Internet also uses AWGs.
  • COBRA has introduced MMI-couplers to semiconductor-based integration technology. MMI-couplers are presently the most frequently used couplers in photonic integrated circuits.
  • A more recent device invention that attracted much attention worldwide is the plasmonic laser. COBRA researchers were the first to demonstrate electrically pumped lasing operation in metallic cavities with dimensions well below the diffraction limit. Following our first publication, many research groups worldwide are now working on this topic.
  • On the system side, in collaboration with Nokia Siemens networks, COBRA researchers pioneered DQPSK optical transmission. Many of the results found application in real world systems.
  • COBRA carried out the first system experiments on optical packet switched systems that are controlled by optical signals. Several photonic memory ICs were realized within COBRA; some of them have led to prototype commercial devices, which are now used by many research groups.
  • COBRA was the first to introduce dynamic optical routing techniques for fiber access networks (US patents granted). Concepts related to wavelength-routed access networks have been taken beyond laboratory setups, and proven in various field trials by industrial partners.
  • Radio-over-fiber techniques with extreme dispersion-robustness, making them suitable for in-building multimode fiber networks, were first introduced by COBRA (patent granted).
  • COBRA has leading expertise in atomic microscopy of III/V semiconductor materials.
  • Many essential aspects of semiconductor nanowire growth, such as a control over stacking faults and crystal structure, have been discovered by one of our team members.
  • InAs/InP quantum dot formation for operation at 1.55 micron, and the creation of photonic devices such as lasers that are based on InAs/InP quantum dots, were pioneered at COBRA.
  • It was a team led by COBRA members who demonstrated the first telecom-wavelength, high-speed photon-number-resolving detector.
  • TU/e researchers have pioneered the development of plasma-assisted atomic layer deposition (ALD) processes as well as the application and scale-up of ultrathin ALD films for the surface passivation of semiconductors for photovoltaic devices.

Our researchers publish their work in key journals, such as Nature Photonics and Nature.

COBRA offers a state-of-the-art infrastructure to its researchers. The fabrication of devices and the design and characterization of devices and systems are all possible with the in-house infrastructure. COBRA maintains a facility in the fields of material growth, processing, lithography and ultra-high bit rate analysis for ultrafast broadband optical communication. The facility belongs to the most advanced in the world.

COBRA researchers find their way to leading international institutes and industry. These qualities have brought COBRA to the position of preferred partner in strategic alliances with industry, academia, international projects and Networks of Excellences in the European Framework Programs of the European Commission.

The research is divided in three cross- and multidisciplinary groups:

  • Materials: focussing on fundamental physical properties of materials.
  • Devices: developing new semiconductor optoelectronic devices (Indium-Phosphide semiconductor-based Photonic Integration Technology).
  • Systems: broadband optical communication systems, including long-reach ultra-high capacity systems, fiber-wireless systems, fiber to the home and fiber in the home converged networks, data centers, and optical interconnecting nodes.