Silicon photonics can make very complex optical circuits. With some new tricks, such circuits can go well beyond anything we could previously make in optics. Potential applications include communications, allowing us to work large numbers of overlapping and changing channels; information processing, such as arbitrary low-power quantum and classical matrix operations and neural network circuits; and sensing, including automatic coupling, filtering and real-time adaptation. These circuits work by interfering large numbers of light beams. Historically, such complex wave interference would have been essentially impossible to set up and control. However, a new class of interferometer mesh architectures is transforming the field. These circuits can implement any linear transform and can also be self-configured and self-stabilized, even without any calculations. This kind of optics is so different that it also means we need new ways of thinking, well beyond lenses, mirrors, rays, and even beams. Fortunately, there is a new "modal" approach that is surprisingly simple, universal and quite fundamental, and matches very well to these new circuits. This new approach in optics therefore opens a wide range of quite radical possibilities.
This seminar is sponsored by the Department of Applied Physics and the Ginzton Laboratory.
Bio: David Miller is the W. M. Keck Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He received his Ph. D in Physics from Heriot-Watt University in 1979, and was with Bell Laboratories from 1981 to 1996, as a department head from 1987. His interests include nanophotonics, quantum-well optoelectronics, and optics in information sensing, interconnects, and processing. He has published more than 280 scientific papers, a quantum mechanics text, and over 75 patents, and has a Google h-index > 100. He was President of IEEE LEOS (now Photonics Society) in 1995. He has also taught open online quantum mechanics classes to over 50,000 students. He has received several awards, is a Fellow of APS, OSA, IEEE, the Electromagnetics Academy, and the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh, holds two Honorary Doctorates, and is a Member of the US National Academies of Sciences and of Engineering.