Plenary Event
OPTO Plenary
29 January 2024 • 8:00 AM - 10:15 AM PST | Moscone Center, Room 207/215 (Level 2 South) 
Session Chairs: Karin Hinzer, Univ. of Ottawa (Canada) and Ulrich T. Schwarz, Technische Univ. Chemnitz (Germany)

8:00 AM - 8:15 AM:
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Announcement of the Aden and Marjorie Meinel Technology Achievement Award

8:15 AM - 8:55 AM:
Silicon photonics: the quest for sustainable growth

Roel Baets
Ghent Univ. and imec (Belgium)

Over the past 20 years silicon photonics has made a successful transition from academic research field to industrial ecosystem. Transceiver products thrive in the market. Industrial foundries offer mature process flows and PDKs. EDA-companies offer photonic IC design tools. Nevertheless, in many ways, silicon photonics is still a small niche field in the semiconductor industry. Meanwhile, both the research community and a multitude of start-up companies are preparing the next wave in silicon photonics, with scientific achievements and innovative products in a dozen new applications and markets, some of which may become large volume. The value proposition is clear. But the diversity of applications requires new functionalities and new – more heterogeneous - process flows. Will the business proposition follow and become sustainable?

Roel Baets is an emeritus full professor at Ghent University and imec. For many years he has made contributions to research on integrated photonics (silicon, silicon nitride, III-V) and its applications in datacom/telecom as well as in medical and environmental sensing. He has founded and has chaired ePIXfab, the European Silicon Photonics Alliance, and continues to serve the silicon photonics community at large in advisory roles. He is a Fellow of IEEE, EOS and Optica. He has been recipient of amongst others the 2020 John Tyndall Award and the 2023 IEEE Photonics Award.

8:55 AM – 9:35 AM:
Neuromorphic photonics

Paul Prucnal
Princeton Univ. (United States)

Neuromorphic photonics combines the advantages of photonics with the computational power of neural networks to create novel reconfigurable processing devices. Doing so enables new applications which are difficult or impossible for conventional digital electronic or RF processors to handle. This talk will highlight recent progress in neuromorphic photonic integrated circuits (PICs), beginning with photonic neurons which integrate both the linear and nonlinear functionality. It will then cover recent demonstrations utilizing PICs, including model predictive control (MPC), RF blind source separation (BSS), nonlinearity compensation in long-haul communications, and RF fingerprinting.

Paul Prucnal is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Princeton University. He received his A.B. from Bowdoin College, and M.S., M.Phil. and Ph. D. degrees from Columbia University. He was a faculty member at Columbia from 1979-1988, and joined the faculty at Princeton University in 1988. Prucnal is co-author of the book, Neuromorphic Photonics, and editor of the book, Optical Code Division Multiple Access: Fundamentals and Applications. He is a Life Fellow of the IEEE, Fellow of Optica and the National Academy of Inventors, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi. He was the recipient of the Gold Medal from the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics, and Informatics at Comenius University, and numerous teaching awards at Princeton, including the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.

9:35 AM - 10:15 AM:
Semiconductor lasers pushed deeper into unseen wavelengths and frontiers

Åsa Haglund
Chalmers Univ. of Technology (Sweden)

Compared to the maturity of today’s blue laser diodes, which exhibit high efficiencies, low threshold currents, and long lifetimes, deep-ultraviolet (<280 nm) lasers have essentially just been born. We have only recently witnessed the first deep-UV, continuous-wave edge-emitting lasers operating at room temperature under electrical injection. And more complex laser structures in the deep-UV, such as vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers and photonic crystal surface emitting lasers, are even further behind, having only been demonstrated under pulsed optical pumping. Among the many difficulties in transitioning from blue to deep-UV are the problems of efficient electrical injection, creation of optical waveguides and cavities in materials with low refractive index contrast, and high material defect densities. The question is, are these problems fundamental limitations to the technology, or just temporary growing pains to be overcome with hard work and persistence as we push lasers deeper into unseen wavelengths and frontiers?

Åsa Haglund’s research interests encompasses III-nitride lasers and light-emitting diodes in the visible and ultraviolet wavelength regions. The focus is on nanostructuring for new optical functionality and thin-film devices realized by electrochemical etching which enables vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) and photonic crystal surface-emitting lasers (PCSELs). Åsa has a Master’s Degree in Physics from Gothenburg University and received a PhD degree in Electrical Engineering in 2005 from Chalmers University of Technology. She has been a visiting researcher at Ulm University in Germany and Lund University in Sweden and is since 2018 a Professor at Chalmers University of Technology. She is a recipient of for example the European Research Council’s consolidator grant (2020), the Swedish Research Council’s consolidator grant (2019), and the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research’s young research leader award (2014).