Assistant Professor

+44 (0)131 451 3650
Room 1.09
David Brewster Building
Heriot-Watt University
Marcello Ferrera

Nanophotonics is the branch of science that studies the light-matter interaction on a scale one million times smaller than a grain of sand. Here, things are so small we have to rethink our natural way of solving problems, and the typical top-down approach becomes inefficient. Gaining full control over the properties of artificial "meta-atoms" will enable the engineering of new materials and devices with unprecedented capabilities (such as invisibility, super-resolution imaging, bio- and quantum-computing, efficient and cost effective energy harvesting, etc.). For the first time in human history designers, scientists, and engineers, instead of sizing a problem with respect to the available capabilities, can think to provide themselves with the perfect tool even for the most ambitious goals.

Dr. Ferrera’s scientific mission is that one of exploring and unlocking the potentials of the most innovative material platforms for application in nanophotonics and quantum optics. His attention is fully focused on three of the most important aspects related to the realization of photonic devices such as numerical modelling, fabrication, and characterization. Supported by a professional and stimulating environment as well as the remarkable facilities available at Heriot-Watt University, Dr. Ferrera wants to play an important role in the upcoming technological revolution that will happen at a nanometric scale!

For more information please see my research group page at

Please visit for Job Openings

Selected publications
  1. "CMOS compatible integrated all-optical radio frequency spectrum analyzer" Opt. Express, 22, 18, 21488-21498 (2014)
  2. "Experimental demonstration of titanium nitride plasmonic interconnects" Opt. Express, 22, 10, 12238-12247 (2014) | DOI:10.1364/OE.22.012238 |
  3. "Integrated frequency comb source of heralded single photons" Opt. Express, 22, 6, 6535-6546 (2014) | DOI:10.1364/OE.22.006535 |
  4. "Highly efficient optical filter based on vertically coupled photonic crystal cavity and bus waveguide" Optics Letters, 38, 2, 154-156, (2013)
  5. "On-chip CMOS-compatible all-optical integrator" Nature Communications 1:29 doi: 10.1038 / ncomms1028 (2010)
  6. "CMOS-compatible integrated optical hyper-parametric oscillator" Nature Photonics, 4, 41, (2010)
  7. "Strong enhancement of the Faraday rotation in Ce and Bi co-modified epitaxial iron garnet thin films" Appl. Phys. Lett., 94, 181916 (2009)
  8. "Low-power continuous-wave nonlinearoptics in doped silica glass integrated waveguide structures" Nature Photonics, 2, 12, 737 (2008)



 Dr. Marcello Ferrera attained his master degree in micro-electronic engineering in 2005 from The University of Palermo (Italy). In 2006, he started his doctoral studies in the UOP group at INRS-EMT (Canada), led by Prof. Roberto Morandotti. In 2007, he won the FQRNT doctoral fellowship, which sponsored his research on low-power nonlinear processes in doped silica structures. In 2010, he joined the group of Prof. Thomas F. Krauss (St. Andrews - UK) where he was dedicated to the numerical modelling and fabrication of silicon-nitride-based photonic modules. In 2012 he won the Marie-Curie IOF fellowship with the project “ATOMIC” developed and carried on inside the group of Prof. Vladimir Shalaev at Purdue University (USA). In 2014, Dr. Ferrera was appointed Lecturer at the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in UK, where he leads the ASN group.