The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a three and a half-year, $9.5 million program to Professor Erich P. Ippen of the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The project, entitled, “Optical Arbitrary Waveform Generation for Ultrahigh Resolution Sensing and Imaging,” seeks to achieve unprecedented levels of performance for ultra-broadband coherent optical systems and enable dramatic future advances in high level applications such as high-resolution 3‑D imaging, novel chemical sensing and ultra-broadband optical communications.
“This is challenging but very exciting,” said Ippen, who is Elihu Thomson Professor of Electrical Engineering and Professor of Physics. “We have an opportunity to achieve an entirely new level of control over the optical spectrum.” Professor Ippen’s RLE co-principal investigators are Franz X. Kaertner and Leslie A. Kolodziejski, both professors in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Professor Ippen leads a multi-institutional team that includes collaborators at the University of California, Davis, where the lead co-principal investigator is Prof. S. J. Ben Yoo, as well as industry partners Inphi, Inc. of Westlake Village, CA, and Multiplex, Inc. and Inplane Photonics, Inc. both of South Plainfield N. J.
The goals of the new program include extending the state-of-the-art of femtosecond laser optical comb technology significantly in repetition rate, power and stability, developing novel methods for locking femtosecond combs to advanced frequency standards, and creating very advanced high-speed integrated photonic circuitry for imposing precise amplitude and phase control on all frequency components over bandwidths of many terahertz.
Said Jeffrey H. Shapiro, Director of RLE and Julius A. Stratton Professor of Electrical Engineering, “This new DARPA project, which is the largest Department of Defense program ever awarded to RLE, and the second largest ever from any sponsor, builds on the Laboratory’s strengths in photonics, particularly our world leading efforts in femtosecond-laser frequency-comb technology and nanoscale device fabrication. It also reflects the success of our researchers in bringing together multi-disciplinary teams that span diverse research capabilities and organizations.”
The work is funded by the Defense Sciences Office (DSO) and Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) of DARPA.