By completely opening the parameter space in nanophotonics design, new functionalities and better performance relative to traditional optoelectronics can be achieved. We have recently developed an inverse approach to design nanophotonic structures based only on their desired performance. Moreover, constraints including structure robustness, fabrication error, and minimum feature sizes can be incorporated in design, without need to have an optics expert as a designer. Such structures are fully fabricable using modern lithography and nanofabrication techniques. We have also demonstrated devices designed using this approach, including ultra-compact and efficient wavelength and power splitters on the silicon platform. Beyond integrated photonics, this approach can also be applied to design quantum photonic circuits. For example, we are working on inverse design of nanoresonators that can localize photons efficiently into sub-wavelength volumes and lead to studies of new regimes of light-matter interaction, and new applications in computing, communications, and sensing. While our traditional quantum nanophotonics platform is based on quantum dots inside photonic crystal cavities, we have recently focused on color centers in diamond and silicon carbide, which could potentially bring these experiments to room temperature and facilitate scaling to large quantum networks.
Prof. Jelena Vuckovic Director, Nanoscale and Quantum Photonics Lab Stanford University