Giving to CREOL CREOL, The College of Optics & Photonics

Industrial Affiliates Day 2005

Dr. C. Martin Stickley
Program Manager, Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) DARPA
“DARPA's Role: Bridging the Gap, Powered by Ideas”

Dr. Stickley’s talked dealt with DARPA's role in US Defense R&D, touched briefly on DARPA's strategic thrusts and how photonics fits into Department of Defense platforms, outlined the role and possible future development in photonics of the Microsystem Technology Office (MTO) in DARPA, and briefly outlined how to do business with DARPA. What is now DARPA was created as the “Advanced Research Projects Agency” in 1957 with the mission to avoid technological surprise in the military arena and to accelerate things “just coming up out of the noise” and move them rapidly to demonstration and deployment capability. From the many advances coming out of DARPA, Dr. Stickley cited the following as examples of what the organization has developed over the years: Stealth Fighter aircraft; ARPANET (basis for Internet); M-16 rifle; GPS; MEMS; and greater linking of materials and science. Describing some current activities in the MTO office, he mentioned x-ray lasers (“ULTRABEAM” program); super high efficiency diode lasers (“SHED” program”; Architecture for Diode High Energy Laser System (“ADHELS” program). Some new areas of DARPA interest include control of optical phase (doing it as well as now done at microwave frequencies); development of a uniform materials platform for photonic devices (like silicon is for electronic devices); and optical buffers for all-optical computing systems.

Dr. Bruce Craig
General Manager, Laser Division, Newport Spectra-Physics
“Optics & Photonics in Manufacturing”

The requirement for materials processing with micron or submicron resolution at high-speed and low-unit cost has become a critical technology in many areas of manufacturing. In Dr. Craig’s talk, he emphasized that the challenge of putting lasers into manufacturing operations is to find requirements that demand their use – that cannot be done with other equipment. And then to assure that the laser systems can operate 24/7 with high reliability and minimal down-time for maintenance or repair. The applications today focus on high through-put, reproducible processes. Dr. Craig focused on precision materials processing using diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) lasers and used the production of laptop computers to illustrate such processes. In this manufacturing area, lasers are used for flat panel display titling and annealing; hard disk texturing; read/write head bending; and memory repair. The workhorse laser now uses 1.064μm radiation and its 2nd, 3rd, and 4th harmonics. The upcoming high-impact technology appears to be ultrashort pulse lasers that provide high-speed cutting and removal of material without thermal damage problems. Such lasers will be used for many manufacturing applications from slicing and cutting complex shapes in silicon wafers to fabrication of intravascular stents.

Dr. Leo Hollberg
Research Scientist, NIST Boulder Laboratories, Time & Frequency Division
"Lasers and Cold Atoms for Clocks of the Future"

Increasing the precision and accuracy of timing devices – clocks – has been a key technology enabling progress for several centuries. Dr. Hollberg’s presentation indicated that this is still true today and that all-optical clocks are the leading-edge approach, using advances in laser-cooling of atomic motion, frequency-stabilized lasers, and optical frequency-combs based on mode-locked lasers. These techniques are now enabling the development of optical frequency references and optical atomic clocks with unprecedented performance, including fractional frequency uncertainties of one part in 1015 and optical frequency synthesis that spans from RF to 1000 THz with phase-coherence times of several seconds. These tools in turn provide new capabilities such as absolute timing jitter of less than one femtosecond, and the generation of microwaves with phase-noise that is 40 dB lower than the best electronic sources. Applications include advanced communication systems (security, autonomous synchronization); advanced navigation (position determination and control); precise timing (moving into the fs range); tests of fundamental physics (special and general relativity, time variation of fundamental constants); sensors (strain, gravity, length metrology, etc.); and ultrahigh speed data, multi-channel parallel transmitters/receivers. The key technologies are femto-second pulsed lasers and “cold” atoms – atoms whose velocity has been reduced to near zero using laser techniques.

Dr. Philip Chen
President, Cognoscenti Health Institute
“Emerging Biophotonic Technologies in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Diseases”

Dr. Chen’s talk reviewed a brief history of "light" applications in medicine and gave examples of current applications in several biomedical disciplines. An exciting emerging application area is genomic medicine – use of optics and photonics in the diagnosis and treatment of disease – particularly “Pharmacogenomics”, which tailors the choice of drug or other treatment based on measurement on the specific genetic makeup of the individual. With genomic medicine, physicians will be able to diagnose, predict disease progression, treat, and monitor treatment safety and efficacy with far greater effectiveness than with other methods. Dr. Chen used several examples of in-vitro cellular imaging to illustrate his points including target drug therapy for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML).

Dr. Mario Paniccia
Director, Photonics Technology Lab, Intel Corp.
"Silicon Photonics: Opportunity, Applications & Recent Results."

Silicon photonics, especially that based upon silicon on insulator (SOI), has recently attracted a great deal of attention since it offers an opportunity for low cost opto-electronic solutions for applications ranging from telecommunications down to chip-to-chip interconnects. Dr. Pannicia gave an overview of research being done at Intel in the area of Silicon Photonics, along with discussion of applications and opportunities for application. In addition, he discussed some of the practical issues and challenges with processing silicon photonic devices in a high volume CMOS manufacturing environment. In Dr. Paniccia’s view, the key breakthrough needed for wide application of optical integrated circuits is to find ways to utilize silicon as the primary material, thus enabling the use of the huge installed CMOS manufacturing capacity and infrastructure. One development area to enable the continuation of Moore’s Law is optical interconnects – replacing copper and electrons with other materials and photons to enable faster, smaller integrated circuits. The value for silicon is in using it for active, not passive devices and in the ability to integrate multiple devices on a single chip. However the problems with silicon as a primary material include no electro-optical effect (needed for modulators), transparency in 1.3μm -1.6μm range (can’t operate as a detector), and inefficient light emission. Dr. Paniccia presented some very recent results that show progress in overcoming these limitations using the Raman effect. His conclusions are that a true convergence is happening in electronics + photonics, that bandwidth will drive optics into interconnects by the end of this decade, and that wafer-level integration of opto-electronic or all-optical circuits is the next great challenge.

Dr. Glenn Boreman
Trustee Chair Professor of Optics, Electrical Engineering, and Physics; College of Optics and Photonics: CREOL & FPCE
“Terahertz/Millimeter-wave Sensors & Systems - A New Frontier for Optics & Photonics”

Dr. Boreman reviewed the unique technology of THz/mmW sensing and imaging systems. The THz wavelength range of ~3mm to 30μm falls between the RF and IR bands and is a largely unexploited region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The emerging applications matrix for THz/mmW systems is driven by tradeoffs between spatial resolution, atmospheric absorption, and scattering. Significant opportunities exist in the arenas of security imaging through fog, sand, areosols, etc., and in chemical sensing (e.g., identifying biological agents, explosives, etc.). Compared to RF, THz/mmW has better spatial resolution (because of shorter wavelength) but less atmospheric transmission. Compared to IR, THz/mmW has poorer spatial resolution and less atmospheric transmission– but better penetration through scattering media because of its longer wavelength. Dr. Boreman concluded with an outline of the team led by University of Delaware and UCF that has been invited to submit a full proposal to National Science Foundation for a new Engineering Research Center (ERC), The Center for Sub-Terahertz & Millimeter-Wave Imaging (CSMI), that will establish national-asset-level facilities and a team team to lead multidisciplinary research efforts in this critical area.

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