MIT Lincoln Laboratory,
Keywords: photonic devices, government applications
Summary:Integrated photonics involves the use of advanced micro-fabrication techniques to combine a number of photonic components (e.g., lasers, optical modulators, waveguides, optical filters, photodiodes) into a photonic integrated circuit or PIC. The recent rapid growth in integrated photonics technology is being driven primarily by demand for high-bandwidth (> 1 Tb/s = 1012 bits/s), low-cost fiber-optic interconnects used in networks and data centers to enable video streaming, virtual-reality experiences, and 5G wireless communications. Other applications that are government centric or dual use include laser radar for autonomous vehicles, free-space lasercom, advanced sensors (RF and microwave, biological, inertial, acoustic), and the realization of atomic clocks and large-scale quantum computers. Many of these applications require the hybrid integration of a variety of photonic materials (e.g., silicon, silicon-nitride, compound semiconductors, lithium niobate) along with electronics for control and interfaces. In this talk we will provide an overview of integrated photonics technology, discuss tradeoffs associated with different photonic materials, describe some integrated photonics components and circuits being developed at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and highlight some government-centric applications of this technology.