Nonlinear Optics on the Nanoscale: Towards Terabit Optical Processors

Ben Eggleton

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering presents The Jan M. Minkowski Memorial Lecture in Quantum Electronics, “Nonlinear Optics on the Nanoscale: Towards Terabit Optical Processors”, with speaker Dr. Benjamin J. Eggleton, ARC Federation Fellow, School of Physics, University of Sydney, Friday, March 26, 2010, 3:00 p.m., Mason Hall Auditorium, Homewood Campus. Reception to follow.


Nonlinear optics describes the behavior of light in media in which the dielectric polarization P responds nonlinearly to the electric field E of the light. This nonlinearity is generally only observed with very high power pulsed lasers. For this nonlinearity to be useful Рas an optical switch, for example Рwe need a material with a massive nonlin-ear response so that the nonlinear effects can be generated at low power levels. This talk will review our progress on developing photonic inte-grated circuits based on breakthroughs in highly nonlinear materials and nanophotonics. We have demonstrated all-optical ultrafast information processing and we have demonstrated a monolithic integrated photonic chip with terabit per-second bandwidth. Our approach takes advantage of different ultrafast nonlinear processes, such as four-wave-mixing and stimulated Raman scattering processes and also exploits dispersion engineering and slow-light effects. I will present our recent record-breaking results demonstrating information processing at terabit per second speeds and will discuss prospects for implementation in next generation high bandwidth information systems.

About the Minkowski Memorial Lecture

Jan Minkowski was born in Zurich, Switzerland and raised in Warsaw, Poland. He received his first degree in Electrical Engineering in 1938 from the Warsaw Polytechnic Institute. He served as an officer in the signal corps of the Polish Cavalry from September, 1939, until his liberation from six years as a prisoner of war in 1945. He then resumed his studies in the Department of Mathematics and Physics at E.T.H., Zurich. He wrote his Diplomarbeit dissertation under the direction of Prof. Wolfgang Pauli and continued to work under his supervision at the Institute of Theoretical Physics until 1950.

Prof. Minkowski emigrated to the United States and joined the Radiation Laboratory of the Johns Hopkins University in 1952. He entered the graduate program of the Department of Physics at Johns Hopkins and received his Ph.D. in physics in 1963. He then became a faculty member in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Johns Hopkins where he remained until his retirement in 1987. His research interests were in the areas of masers, lasers, solid state physics, microwaves, coherence properties of light, and quantum optics.

Link to the flyer here.

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