EECS/RLE Seminar Series on Optics and Quantum Electronics presents

Professor Michael R. Watts,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Research Laboratory of Electronics

Wednesday, April 16 / 2pm / 34–401A

The development of large-scale integrated (LSI) circuits in the 1970s led to a revolution in microelectronics with the development of the microprocessor that revolutionized the world of computing and computer science, ultimately resulting in the Internet based world we live in today. Recent developments in microphotonics point to a similar revolution taking place in today in the development of large-scale integrated (LSI) microphotonic circuits. Microphotonic circuits can dramatically alleviate communication bottlenecks, reduce power consumption, enable high-frequency high-fidelity filtering, new sensor modalities, precision timing, 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 limits, 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. In this talk, we present on recent developments in microphotonic devices and circuits, including a one-femtojoule-per-bit silicon modulator, nanophotonic phased arrays that not only enable arbitrary pattern formation but represent the first large-scale integrated (LSI) microphotonic circuit, and on-chip silicon lasers, all integrated within the world’s first 300mm silicon photonics platform.

Michael R. Watts (PI) 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 was a Principal Member of Technical Staff and led their silicon photonics development. In 2009 he received 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. Prof. Watts holds numerous patents and has authored or co-authored approximately 100 journal and conference publications and is a member of the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the IEEE.

Related Links:

Optics and Quantum Electronics Seminar Series

Professor Michael R. Watts