IEEE Photonics Society

Boston Photonics Society Chapter

Boston Chapter of the IEEE Photonics Society


June 9, 2011
7 PM

MIT Lincoln Laboratory

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From Nanophotonic Electromagnetic Manipulations to VLSI Photonics

Prof. Michael R. Watts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA


Prof. Michael R. Watts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Abstract:  The development of the integrated microelectronic circuit has impacted everyday life and the field of electrical engineering in a manner so profound it is difficult to imagine where we might be today without its introduction. Analogously, integrated microphotonic circuits are poised to impact our world, and the field of electrical engineering in a manner that 20-years from now will be similarly profound. Microphotonic circuits can dramatically alleviate communication bottlenecks, reduce power consumption, enable high-frequency high-fidelity filtering, new sensor modalities, and the direct generation of high-frequency electromagnetic fields in chip-scale CMOS compatible solutions. Already, breakthroughs in microphotonic circuits have led to the ability to freely manipulate polarization states on-chip enabling the first demonstration of a polarization independent microphotonic circuit, the ability to detect infrared radiation approaching fundamental noise performance, transmit optical data with a one-hundred-fold reduction in power consumption relative to electrical communications, and route optical data at nanosecond switching speeds on a silicon chip for the first time. Future development in microphotonic elements, sensor systems, inter- and intra-chip communication networks, and coupled microwave-photonic circuits will drive developments across electrical engineering from nanoscale fabrication and crystal growth, to circuit design, computer architecture, and imaging systems, to both wired and wireless communications. This seminar will provide an introduction to microphotonics highlighting what capabilities now exist and what challenges remain while detailing a few recent high-impact developments in the field.


Biography:  Michael R. Watts received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University in 1996. He then joined Draper Laboratory as a Member of Technical Staff in their Fiber Optics Group. In 1999 he became a Draper Fellow and received his SM and PhD degrees from MIT in 2001 and 2005, respectively. In 2005 he joined Sandia National Labs where he led their silicon photonics effort as a Principal Member of Technical Staff and was recognized with an R&D100 Award for work in ultralow power microphotonic modulators and switches. In 2010 he returned to MIT where he is an Associate Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department (EECS). Professor Watts' research focuses on photonic microsystems for low-power communications, sensing, and microwave-photonics applications. His current interests include the modeling, fabrication, and testing of large-scale implementations of microphotonic circuits, systems, and networks that are being integrated, directly or through hybrid techniques, with CMOS electronics for high-speed transmitting, switching, and routing applications of digital signals. Additional interests include large-scale microphotonic sensing and imaging arrays, along with optical phased arrays, nanophotonic antennas, nonlinear optics, and manipulations of optical-electromagnetic fields on-chip.


Location:  MIT Lincoln Laboratory