CIAN Lecture Series Webinar – Rajat Sharma


Date:  Friday, October 28, 2016
Time:  1pm PST, 4pm EST

Please register by clicking on the link: Webinar   or copy and pasting to your browser:


rajatRajat Sharma
Ph.D. Candidate
University of California, San Diego

Rajat is a 4th year PhD student working with Prof. Shaya Fainman at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UCSD. The main focus of his research is engineering nonlinearities in silicon. He graduated with a B.S and M.S in Electrical Engineering, with a specialization in microelectronics and VLSI, from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras in 2012.


Starting from our past-experience in studying the linear electro-optic properties of strained-silicon waveguides, we carry forth a detailed analysis of various mechanisms contributing towards the exhibited (apparent) nonlinearity. We show, both theoretically and experimentally, that the bulk of the linear electro-optic response exhibited by such waveguides can be accounted for by the so-called free-carrier, capacitive, plasma-dispersion effect. The nature (magnitude and sign) of this effect is then shown to be critically dependent on the fixed-charges that are induced on the interface between a semiconductor and a dielectric. As such, this study becomes relevant and must be taken into account, not just for silicon waveguides, but all semiconductor waveguides. The range of tunability of both the real and imaginary part of the refractive index is measured and reported, the knowledge of which can be used in desigining high-efficiency silicon-slot capacitive modulators as well as low-loss passive devices. Furthermore, in our investigations, we find that commonly used clads (in strained silicon waveguides) like silicon nitride (SiNx) can exhibit bulk second-order nonlinearity. This is demonstrated via both free-space and in-waveguide measurements and a coefficient as high as 2.23 pm/V is reported for the case of the as-deposted PECVD SiNx. This value, though small, serves as a starting point in our efforts towards leveraging the SiNx platform for on-chip modulation and nonlinear wavemixing. The value of the exhibited coefficient can be enhanced manifolds by either shifting to non-stoichiometric silicon rich nitride (SRN) and or using SiNx in a slot configuration  with silicon and utilizing the electric field induced second harmonic effect (EFISH).

O’Brien Brings Advanced Packaging Research to CIAN

Dr. Peter O’Brien was recently appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the College of Optical Science at the University of Arizona. Dr. O’Brien brings expertise across a wide range of photonic packaging and integration technologies to CIAN, enabling advanced photonic devices to be packaged into fully working prototypes. Although his appointment only started in late 2015, collaborations between Dr. O’Brien and CIAN researchers are already producing results. For example, Dr. O’Brien has collaborated with Prof. Ming Wu and his postdoctoral researcher Dr. Tae Joon Seok to demonstrate packaging of UC Berkeley’s MEMs optical switch.

This enabled a fully packaged device to be tested in systems experiments performed by Prof. George Papen at UCSD. Results from this collaboration were presented at CIAN’s annual review in Columbia University last May, and a paper about this work will be presented at the IEEE Photonics Conference (IPC) in October. Further collaborations have started with Prof. Keren Bregman (Columbia) and Prof. Robert Norwood (Arizona), and it is expected that new collaborations will start over the coming months.


Dr. Tae Joon Seok (second from right) visiting the Photonic Packaging Group at the Tyndall Institute (April 2016). The photo includes Dr. Peter O’Brien, Jun Su Lee (packaging group researcher) and Howyuan Hwang (packaging group PhD student).



Peter O’Brien with his son, Conan, visiting Optical Sciences in Arizona.

Dr. Peter O’Brien is head of the Photonics Packaging Group at the Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Ireland. He is also Deputy Director of the Science Foundation Ireland-Irish Photonics Integration Centre. Since establishing the Photonics Packaging Group in 2009, Dr. O’Brien has built a research team who address challenges in the area of highly integrated photonic devices for applications in communications, biomedical devices and sensors.
His group has developed a range of photonic packaging technologies which have been made available to users worldwide through a foundry service in collaboration with IMEC.


Dr. Peter O’Brien hosting an outreach event at the Geasa-Marana Library in Marana, AZ.

They have also prepared a range of packaging design rules, which have recently been implemented in PIC design tools such as those available through Phoenix Software and Luceda Photonics.

These design rules provide valuable guidance to PIC designers, ensuring their photonic devices are compatible with standard packaging technologies. The group has established research collaborations with institutes including UC Berkeley, University of Arizona, CERN, IMEC, CEA-LETI and Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz.


peterDr. O’Brien received a degree in Physics from Trinity College Dublin, and a Masters and PhD in Physics from University College Cork. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the California Institute of Technology and a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, where he was involved in the development of submillimeter wave devices for imaging and sensing applications. Dr O’Brien also founded a photonics company specializing in the development of bio-imaging systems, which he sold in 2009.

CIAN Lecture Series Webinar – Mahajan & Ghobadi from Microsoft

A Look at the Optical Layer of Cloud Networks

Date:  Monday, October 17, 2016
Time:  1pm PST, 4pm EST

Please register by clicking on the link: Webinar   or copy and pasting to your browser:


ratulDr. Ratul Mahajan
Principal Research Scientist

Ratul Mahajan is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and an Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington. His research interests include all aspects of networked systems. His current work focuses on network verification and optical networks. His past work spans connected homes, software-defined networking, Internet routing and measurements, and vehicular networks. He has published over 50 papers in top-tier venues such as SIGCOMM, SOSP, MobiCom, and CHI and many technologies that he has developed power Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure. He has been recognized as ACM Distinguished Scientist and ACM SIGCOMM Rising Star and has won the ACM SIGCOMM Test of Time Award, the William R. Bennett prize, two SIGCOMM best paper awards, and Microsoft Research Graduate Fellowship.

moniaDr. Monia Ghobadi
Research Scientist

Monia Ghobadi is a postdoc at Microsoft Research. Her research interests are broadly in systems and networking, with recent focus on optical networking and congestion control. She received her PhD from University of Toronto and worked at Google’s data center team before joining Microsoft Research.


To keep pace with the tremendous bandwidth growth in cloud networking, large scale proviers, such as Microsoft, employ optical technologies ubiquitously.  In fact, Microsoft’s long haul network carries hundreds of Tbps of data using optical links, and in its data center networks, all switch-to-switch links are optical.  Despite their almost-ubiquitous presence, little is known today about even basic characteristics (e.g., signal power, attenuation) opical links in such networks.

We conduct one of the first large-scale study of the optical layer of long haul and data center networks.  Our analysis uncovers several findings that can help improve network planning, increase capacity, and reduce transceiver cost.  In long haul networks, we find that substantial gain can be achieved using bandwidth variable transponders and changes in Q-factor can predict future optical-layer outages.  In data center networks, we find that the optical layer is significantly over-engineered in terms of optical power budget and monitoring optical layer metrics can lead to faster mitigation of packet corruption.

Summer 2016 IOU Program Results

For the Summer 2016 Integrated Optics for Undergraduates (IOU) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program CIAN hosted six students from across the country at three different CIAN universities. Students, institutions, mentors, and projects are all listed below along with a few pictures of their time this summer.

To learn more about Summer 2017 IOU REU program and to apply, visit us here.

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Norfolk State University

Dennis Yi
Princeton University
Mentor: Dr. Demetris Geddis
Project: Computational Optimization of Band-Pass Thin-Film Optical Fibers

Columbia University

Patty Cho
Columbia University
Mentor: Dr. Keren Bergman, Yishen Huang
Project: A Machine Learning Approach to Minimize EDFA Power Excursions for Dynamic Optical Networks

Francois Mertil
New York City College of Technology
Mentor: Dr. Keren Berman, Nathan Abrams
Project: Programmable 4×4 Silicon Photonic Switch Fabric Composed of Mach Zehnder Interferometer (MZI)

John Mikalopas
Western Connecticut State University
Mentor: Dr. Michal Lipson
Project: Optimizing the Transfer of Graphene for Specific Applications Using Polymer Support Layers

University of California Berkeley

Vy-An Phan
UC Berkeley
Mentor: Dr. Connie Chang-Hasnain
Project: Time-of-Flight LIDAR System

Jianheng Luo
UC Berkeley
Mentor: Dr. Ming Wu
Project: MMI Crossing Design for 1300nm Photonic Switch

Summer 2016 RET Program Results

CIAN selected six teachers from schools across the country to participate in CIAN’s Research Experience for Teachers program. The selected teachers participated in laboratories at University of California San Diego, Columbia University, and Tuskegee University. Each teacher pursued a research project which he or she applied to the classroom and developed unique and innovative lesson plans.

Interested in learning more about the CIAN RET program or applying? Visit us here.

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Brenda Minjares

Project: Teaching Digital Transmission of Information and Light Properties in High School Physics
School: Escondido High School
Grade & Subject: 9-12th; Physics, AP Physics, College/Career Readiness

Lesli Horowitz

Project: The Invisible World (Microscopy)
School: Kearny School of International Business
Grade & Subject: 8-12th; Biology & Computerized Graphic Design

James “JC” Morris

Project: Investigating Seawater pH Using Light Absorbance-based Photometry
School: Mark Twain High School
Grade & Subject: 9-12th; Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics

Mentors: Dr. Yeshaiahu Fainman, Dominga Sanchez


Sarah Wigodsky

Project: Investigating the Mach Zehnder Interferometer
School: Solomon Schechter School of Westchester
Grade & Subject: 11th & 12th; Physics & Electronics

Mentors: Dr. Keren Bergman, Christine Chen

Norfolk State University

Samuel Danquah

Project: Design and Fabrication of Planar MSM/VCSEL/MSM Triplexer
School: Norview High School
Grade & Subject: 9-12th; Technology of Robotics Design & Materials & Processes Technology

Rachel Watson

Project: Design and Fabrication of Dual MSM Photodetectors for Multi-Spectral Applications
School: Oceanair Elementary School
Grade & Subject: 2nd; Mathematics, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Writing

Mentor: Dr. Demetris Geddis

Inaugural O-RETinas Summer Program Success

CIAN is excited to announce completion of the first summer of the Optics Research Experience for Teachers in Native American Schools (O-RETinas) Research Experience for Teachers (RET) summer program.

This innovative program program hosted four teachers during the 2016 summer in a variety of research labs in optics, engineering, and chemistry as well as invited them to participate in an industry practicum. The teachers not only performed a guided research project in an innovative research laboratory but they also learned about industry applications, took a course at the University of Arizona, and participated in a number of culturally related workshops.

CIAN will continue the O-RETinas program in Summer 2017. Visit the website to learn more about how to apply!

CIAN is seeking additional industry mentors for the future O-RETinas programs. If you believe your company would be interested in hosting a teacher, please contact us!

Participant Mentor & Internship School & Grades Taught Project
Nate Raynor Dr. Qing Hao
4D Technology
Mescalero Apache School, 9th-12th grades Hot Pressing
Rhonda LaFrance Dr. Xiushan Zhu & Dr. Leonid Kotov
4D Technologies
Ahkwesahsne Mohawk School, 6th-8th grades Neodymium Doped Fiber Amplifier at 935nm
Dan Moreno Dr. Jeffrey Pyun & Laura Anderson
NP Photonics
Menominee Indian School District, 9th & 11th grades Melt Processing Advances with Sulfur Copolymers For Industrial Optical Applications
Geary Crofford Dr. Robert Norwood & Christine Alvarez
NP Photonics
Woodall Middle School (Cherokee Nation), 6th-8th grades STEAM Research Projects: Diatoms, Optics, and Photonics

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Undergraduate Native American Summer Research Program Success

The third year of the CIAN Integrated Optics for Undergraduate Native Americans (IOU-NA) Research Experience for Undergraduates has once again been a huge success.

Seven Native American students from three different tribes traveled to the University of Arizona to spend ten weeks working on unique and exciting research projects. Each of the students performed masterfully and succeeded in their laboratories by ending the summer with a poster presentation and an oral presentation to the university campus.

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In the three years of the IOU-NA program CIAN has hosted

  • 23 Native American Undergraduates from…
  • 10 different tribes and…
  • 14 different universities, community colleges, and tribal colleges.
  • So far, 10 out of 23 students have attended at least one conference and most presented research, with still more to attend!
  • Finally, 7 have so far successfully graduated with a B.S.
    • 5 of these students have been accepted to graduate school,
    • 1 is in the process of applying to graduate school, and
    • 1 is working in a STEM field.

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Candice Henderson, Navajo Nation, Seattle Central College
Novel Patterning of High Sulfur Content Copolymer for Waveguide Applications
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Robert Norwood, College of Optical Sciences
Graduate Student Mentor: Soha Namnabat

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Gerald Henry, Navajo Nation, Technical University
Implementation of Motorized Control Alignment Stages using LabVIEW for Increasing Optical Fiber to Chip Coupling
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Robert Norwood, College of Optical Sciences
Graduate Student Mentor: Amanda Chatterton

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Chris Yazzie, Navajo Nation, Northern Arizona University
Performance of a Bench Scale Hollow Fiber Membrane Distillation System for Brine Treatment
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Robert Arnold, College of Engineering
Secondary Mentor: Dr. Vicky Karanikola, College of Engineering

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Daniel Hayden, Comanche Nation, University of Oklahoma
The Effects of Fire on Ectomycorrhizal Fungi Communities, in Ponderosa Pines of the Santa Catalina Mountains
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Betsy Arnold, School of Plant Sciences
Graduate Student Mentor: Shuzo Oita

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Norvina Charleston, Navajo Nation, Navajo Technical University
Changes in Arsenic and Lead Concentration from Different Soil Depth Along an Irrigation Canal Affected by the Gold King Mine Spill
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Paloma Beamer, College of Public Health
Graduate Student Mentor: Yoshira Ornelas Van Horne

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Anthony Smith, Caddo Nation, Pima Community College
Faraday Effect in Magnetic Ionic Liquids: Applications in Optical Isolators
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Palash Gangopadhyay, College of Optical Sciences
Graduate Student Mentor: Bharati Neelamraju
Arviso_Brittany 021Brittany Arviso, Navajo Nation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Modeling Heads Up Display Image and Eyebox Expansion
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Pierre-Alexandre Blanche, College of Optical Sciences
Graduate Student Mentor: Colton Bigler

Photos by Julian Ybarra