Photonic Integrated Circuits

Photonic integrated circuits (PICs) combine optical components, such as lasers, photodetectors, modulators, waveguides and filters, on a single piece of semiconductor to make a circuit. This is much like electronic integrated circuits, where we have the transistor, the capacitor and the resistor. The PIC processes light, instead of current, however. Or: photons instead of electrons.

Why should we care about this technology? First of all, because PICs are miniature versions of optical systems, but far more energy-efficient, with higher electrical bandwidths, and in a small and robust package. Secondly, because the exponential growth of communication bandwidth and computing power requires ubiquitous optical communications: in telecommunication, in datacenters, between the chips on a board, for example, between memory and processor, and – maybe, in the future – even on a chip, between the cores of multi-core processors. Photonic integration is the only technology that can enable such high-bandwidth communication, without increasing our carbon footprint to unsustainable levels.

Our group performs research on the novel designs of PICs for applications in communications, microwave technology and various sensors. We characterize these PICs in our Fotonik Lab. Students that are interested in doing thesis work in our lab are very welcome to contact us.

We further teach the MSc courses Fundamentals of Photonics and Photonic Devices to introduce you into this exciting and promising field.