Exciting new course offered by Cardiff University: Introduction to Compound Semiconductor Photonics (online)

his e-learning course will provide (or enhance) knowledge of compound semiconductor photonics technology and its applications.

This is an online course that you can undertake in your own time. The training will take approximately 3.5 hours to complete.

Delivery will be via a variety of online and interactive activities such as short videos and test-your-knowledge exercises.

Please note: We are only able to accept payment by credit card for this course. You will receive access to the course materials no later than 1 week after making payment. You will have access for 2 months from the date you first access the learning materials.

Your trainer will be Dr Daryl Beggs, Lecturer, School of Physics and Astronomy.

Enrol on this course

Start date Days and times
1 July 2024 3.5 hour course to be taken in your own time
£150 (you will receive access to the course within 72 hours of making payment)

Who it’s for

Any of the following:

  • those working in the semiconductor sector who wish to up-skill their knowledge of compound semiconductor photonics
  • employees of the CSconnected cluster and their supply chain partners
  • those looking to re-train into the semiconductor/ compound semiconductor sector
  • those supporting the sector – such as public sector employees, secondary school/ FE College teachers/ careers advisors/ youth influencers
  • A-level and undergraduate level students studying science subjects who are potentially interested in a career in the semiconductor/ compound semiconductor sector

What level is the course pitched at?

This is an introductory level course that could be suitable for people from a wide range of backgrounds.

The science element is pitched at around A-level standard, so to get the best experience from the course we advise that participants have some degree of background knowledge and basic understanding of physics / science or engineering.

What you’ll learn

Compound Semiconductors are essential materials to modern and new technologies such as 5G, driverless cars, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). They also have a key role to play in helping to address some of the challenges of the modern world, including sustainability and the net zero agenda.

You may be more familiar with Silicon, which has been the backbone of the electronics revolution from the 1960s. Being a single element from the periodic table, Silicon has a limited set of properties. Compound Semiconductors have superior properties to Silicon, enabling many new and innovative technologies and devices such as:

  • Power (power electronics for electric vehicles)
  • Speed (radio frequency for 5G and RADAR)
  • Light (photonics for optical fibre communications)

By the end of the course participants will be able to:

  • explain what photonics is and where it is found in everyday life
  • describe, in simple terms, what semiconductors are, including the difference between elemental (silicon) and compound semiconductors
  • describe, in simple terms, how photonic integrated circuits are made
  • describe, at a basic level, the nano and micro fabrications techniques used to make photonics devices
  • understand, in simple terms, semiconductor applications and know which semiconductors are appropriate
  • appreciate the current and future marketplace applications for photonic chips
  • explain how photonic chip technology is contributing to society, to the development of new technologies, and helping to address the challenges of the modern world

Topics covered

  • silicon photonics
  • compound semiconductor photonics
  • simple physics behind semiconductor properties
  • photonic integrated circuits (photonic chips), including:
    • waveguides
    • grating couplers
    • resonators
    • filters
    • switches and modulators
    • foundries
  • demystifying key words/concepts from the sector

Teaching and useful information

This course is designed for you to complete in your own time and at your own pace. There is no live element but there is a discussion board where participants can pose questions to the tutor and others on the course. The course will be delivered via the University’s virtual learning platform, Learning Central. Your individual login details will be emailed to you a few days before your course access begins.

You will have access to the course materials for two months.

A CPD Certificate of Completion will be issued to learners who achieve 70% or more in the end of course test.

Course lead

Dr Daryl Beggs is a Lecturer at Cardiff School of Physics and Astronomy and has a background in silicon photonics and photonic crystals.

Daryl is also an academic at Cardiff University’s Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS) where he is investigating some of the alternatives to silicon, to establish methods to produce quantum photonic devices in compound semiconductor photonic integrated circuits.

The ICS is a leader in compound semiconductor research and is part of the CSconnected cluster. It provides a platform where researchers and industry can work together.


This course has been developed by the University in collaboration with industry partners from the CSconnected cluster, the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster based in and around South Wales in the United Kingdom, using funding provided by UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund.

Each course is a bite-sized introduction to a key area of the compound semiconductor industry, and is designed for participants to complete at a time that suits them. Courses have been created in consultation and partnership with companies in the CSconnected cluster to ensure they are relevant and useful.

Courses are designed to:

  • upskill workers in the industry who wish to enhance their knowledge of compound semiconductor photonics
  • help reskill those who wish to retrain to enter the industry, or provide knowledge and context for those supporting the sector

Available funding

For individuals

  • ReAct+ – up to £1,500 for relevant skills training for those 18+ who are resident in Wales and unemployed or under formal notice of redundancy. For more details, click here

For organisations

  • Flexible Skills Programme funding – up to 50% funding support to Wales-based businesses. For details, click here
  • ReAct+ – up to £1,000 for job-related skills training when recruiting someone 18+ who is resident in Wales and unemployed or under formal notice of redundancy. For more details, click here