RLE Events

OQE Seminar — Photonic Intelligent Information Processing

Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 11:00 /

OQE Seminar
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
11:00 AM

Via Zoom (dial in instructions at the bottom of this announcement)

Professor Volker J Sorger
George Washington University

Hosted by Professor Dirk Englund

Title: Photonic Intelligent Information Processing


Photonic technologies are at the forefront of the ongoing 4th industrial revolution of digitalization supporting applications such as 5G networks, virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, and electronic warfare. With Moore’s law and Dennard scaling now being limited by fundamental physics, the trend in processor heterogeneity suggests the possibility for special-purpose photonic processors such as neural networks or RF-signal & image filtering. Here unique opportunities exist, for example, given by algorithmic parallelism of analog computing enabling non-iterative O(1) processors, thus opening prospects for distributed non-van Neumann architectures.

In the first part of the talk I will highlight strategies and experimental validations of emerging nanophotonic opto-electronic devices. These include heterogeneous integration of emerging materials into Silicon photonic integrated circuit to exploit new functionality and device-scaling laws such as efficient modulators, detectors, and photonic nonvolatile memory.

In the second half, I will share our latest work on analog photonic processors to include a) a photonic tensor core processor paradigm, b) a feed-forward fully-connected neural network using electro-optic nonlinearity, c) mirror symmetry perception via coincidence detection of spiking neural networks, d) a Fourier-optics based convolutional processor for real-time processing, e) mesh-based reconfigurable photonic & metatronic PDE solvers, and f) a photonic parallel binary-weighted DAC.

In summary, photonics connects the worlds of electronics and optics, thus enabling new classes of efficient optoelectronics and analog processors by employing the distinctive properties of light.


Volker J. Sorger is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the leader of the Integrated Nanophotonics lab at the George Washington University. He received his PhD from the University of California Berkeley and MS from UT Austin. His research focuses on integrated photonics and analog information processing such as programmable photonic circuits and neuromorphic computing. His work was recognized by Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the Emil Wolf prize from the Optical Society of America, the AFOSR Young Investigator (YIP) award, the Hegarty Innovation prize, the National Academy of Sciences paper-of-the-year award, and both the Early Career and Outstanding Research awards at GWU. He is the editor-in-chief of the Nanophotonics and the OSA division chair for Optoelectronics-and-Photonics. He serves at the boards of OSA and SPIE, and is a senior member of IEEE, OSA & SPIE. Further details at sorger.seas.gwu.edu.

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