Peeking Into Light: Enabling Physical Layer Innovations

To keep pace with the tremendous bandwidth growth in cloud networking, large scale providers, such as Microsoft, employ optical technologies ubiquitously. In fact, Microsoft’s Wide-area 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) of optical links in such networks. We conduct one of the first large-scale study of the optical layer of WAN and data center networks. Our analysis uncovers several findings that enable innovations at the physical layer to improve network planning, increase capacity, and reduce cost.

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College of Engineering 50th Anniversary ‘Tell Your Story’: David Vandervoet
BSEE ’67

Photo of D.Vandervoet

David Vandervoet graduated as an electrical engineering major in 1967 and was part of the first class ever to go through UCSB College of Engineering from freshman to senior year.

After graduating, Vandervoet began his career designing and launching major US satellites. He took some time to share his stories about the College in its early years, reflecting on the great community, protests, pranks, and how things have evolved in the last 50 years.

How many students were in the College of Engineering at the time and what was the community like?
Not sure but I would guess maybe 80-100. I was the first class to go through engineering from freshman to senior. Maybe there were 30 freshmen in my class.

What was student life at the College like in the 1960’s?
It started in the Arts Building and classes were small. We knew our professors very well. There were also a lot of protests, mostly by non-students in Isla Vista, and multiple police actions with protestors stopping us from getting to class.

What are some of the best memories you had while as a student?
Getting up the courage as a freshman to go into Dean Conrad’s office in the Arts building and meet him. I figured that I was paying part of his salary and he should know who I was. The meeting went very well. He was gruff but said he wished more students would come see him.

Dean C later invited me to his house to show me how he made violins. He imported very special wood from somewhere in Europe. He dried the wood for two years in some drying equipment that he made. He had very fine hand tools to do custom work in the violins. But what impressed me the most was that he would use an oscilloscope to tune them. He was still an engineer at heart.

Who was/were your mentor(s) as a student and how did they affect your life?
Dr. Heidbreder and Dr. Mattai. I learned theoretical communication theory from Dr. Heidbreder that got me started in the satellite business.

Is there something that happened when you went to COE that current students would have a hard time believing?
I climbed the outside bricks to the 5th floor on the end of the engineering building and taped a large sign that said “Welcome to Earl Hall” (our lab technician). Earl was a survivor of Pearl Harbor bombing and lived because he went to sleep Saturday night with his shoes on and could run across the burning deck of his ship on December 7 and dive into the water because of his shoes. He still wore his shoes to bed in the 1960s. Dean Conrad was annoyed but no one was brave enough to climb the bricks and take it down.

Tell Your COE Story! Alumni, friends, members of the community past and present, tag posts on social media with #UCSBCOE50 or submit your story online.

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BSEE ’67

ECE graduate student Jiahao Kang receives a Peter J. Frenkel Foundation Fellowship from UCSB’s Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE)

kang and batala with the Frenkels
The 2016-17 fellowship granted to two advanced doctoral candidates, Jiahao Kang (ECE – Electronics & Photonics Solutions Group) and Megan Butala (Materials – Production & Storage Solutions Group), in recognition of their outstanding research contributions to the field of energy efficiency

Kang’s research involves developing next-generation highly-dense energy-efficient electronics utilizing 2-dimensional electronic materials, starting from in-depth materials physics to device design and finally to experimental demonstration of unique applications enabled by these materials. He is advised by Professor Kaustav Banerjee and is a member of Banerjee’s Nanoelectronics Research Lab (NRL).

Frenkel fellowships are made possible by the generous support of the Peter J. Frenkel Foundation. These highly competitive $4000 awards recognize outstanding graduate research in energy or energy efficiency by two students per academic year who have advanced to doctoral candidacy.

Jiahao Kang has authored or co-authored more than 40 papers including seven at the premier electron devices conference IEEE IEDM and has published in leading journals that include Nature, Nature Materials, Nature Nanotechnology, Nano Letters, ACS Nano, Physical Review X, Applied Physics Letters, IEEE Electron Device Letters and IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices.

“Institute for Energy Efficiency announces 2016 – 2017 Peter J. Frenkel Foundation fellows”

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Photonics Spectra magazine Q&A with ECE Professor John Bowers

cover of jan 2017 issue of photonics spectra
“The Revolution Has Just Begun Q&A with John Bowers” — Photonics Spectra speaks with Bowers about The American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM), his breakthrough work and the impact of integrated photonics on medicine, communications and defense.

One of the foremost names in the world of integrated photonics is John Bowers, Ph.D., who is credited with leading a team that successfully demonstrated an electrically pumped hybrid silicon laser a decade ago. That advance has paved the way for the commercial production of high-bandwidth silicon photonic devices. Today, Bowers is leading UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency’s involvement in the AIM initiative and is a central figure in this exciting field.

Q: Could you provide us with a snapshot of where you see the state of integrated photonics at the moment?
A: Integrated photonics is transforming telecommunications and data communications. Infinera, Acacia and others are introducing new telecommunication products with much higher capacity and performance that have been enabled by integration. Intel, Luxtera, Lumentum, Finisar and others are increasing capacity and lowering cost by integration. Virtually all 100-Gbps transceivers are highly integrated, and the next generation at 400 Gbps are only possible with integration. This started with integration on InP but high volumes are now being shipped by many silicon photonics suppliers, including Intel, Luxtera, Acacia and others.

Additional Questions (see full article):

  • Please elaborate on how you feel integrated photonic circuits are likely to impact such fields as transportation, medicine and defense in the years ahead?
  • Your work in ’06/’07 successfully bonding III-V material to a silicon waveguide has been cited as one of the seminal breakthroughs in integrated photonics. A decade later, can you share your reflections on this work and some of the primary challenges you overcame?
  • Has the hybrid silicon III-V laser reached commercial viability?
  • In 2015, the AIM initiative was formed and you were tasked with heading up UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency’s involvement in the program. Can you discuss recent advances?
  • How is integrated photonics likely to transform the world in which we live in the years and decades ahead?

Photonics Spectra is today’s leading source of technological solutions and of news and information about photonics. It is the magazine referred to worldwide by the largest audience of photonics engineers, scientists and end users. Integrating all segments of photonics, Photonics Spectra is unique in that it provides both technical and practical information for every aspect of the global industry.

John E. Bowers holds the Fred Kavli Chair in Nanotechnology, and is the Director of the Institute for Energy Efficiency. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Inventors, a fellow of the IEEE, OSA and the American Physical Society, and a recipient of the IEEE Photonics Award, OSA Tyndall Award, OSA Holonyak Prize, and the IEEE LEOS William Streifer Award.

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ECE Professor Yasamin Mostofi awarded the 2016 Antonio Ruberti Young Researcher Prize by the IEEE Control Systems Society (CSS)

photo of yasamin mostofi
Mostofi selected for the IEEE CSS honor for her “contributions to the fundamentals of communications and control co-optimization in mobile sensor networks”

Mostofi was recognized for her research in the area of mobile sensor networks and her lab work on multi-disciplinary problems at the intersection of the two areas of control and communications. Mostofi’s current research thrusts include RF sensing, X-ray vision for robots, communication-aware robotics, human-robot networks, occupancy estimation, and see-through imaging.

The Ruberti Prize is awarded by CSS to acknowledge contributions by a researcher under the age of 40 in the broad field of systems and control. The award was established in 2005 to honor Ruberti, whose scientific interests in the field of system and control was wide-ranging and was also one of the early pioneers of geometric control methods for nonlinear systems.

Mostofi was presented the Ruberti Prize at the CSS awards ceremony on Dec. 13, 2016 during the 55th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC) in Las Vegas, NV.

Along with the Ruberti Prize, she has received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award, and the IEEE 2012 Outstanding Engineer Award of Region 6 (more than 10 Western U.S. states) and additional awards. Her research has appeared in various reputable news outlets such as BBC, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, and Engadget.

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ECE Professor Larry Coldren elected as a 2016 Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI)

photo of larry coldrenUCSB professors Larry Coldren (ECE & Materials) and James Speck (Materials) are among the newest fellows and are recognized by NAI for their “highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.”

“We are doubly honored that both Professors Coldren and Speck have been elected fellows of the National Academy of Inventors,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang. “This proud professional distinction acknowledges not only their creative and original research contributions, but the tangible applications of that innovative research for the betterment of our global society.”

“Professor Coldren’s contributions in integrated photonic devices, including wavelength tunable lasers, and Professor Speck’s in photonic materials for LEDs have enabled major advances in ever-higher capacity communication networks and energy-efficient lighting that have positively impacted our daily lives,” said Rod Alferness, dean of the UCSB College of Engineering. “We are very proud of their achievements and their recognition by the National Academy of Inventors.”

“It is a great honor to receive this recognition from my peers,” said Coldren, UCSB’s Fred Kavli Professor of Optoelectronics and Sensors, who was noted for his work in optoelectronic devices and materials, which have applications in communications, switching and sensing, to name a few. His research currently focuses on components and fabrication techniques for photonic integrated circuits (PICs).

Coldren has been elected as a fellow of several prestigious organizations, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the Institute of Electronics Engineers in the UK. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the recipient of the OSA’s 2004 John Tyndall Award, the of IEEE’s 2009 Aron Kressel and 2014 David Sarnoff awards.

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ECE Ph.D. Deblina Sarkar recognized by the 2016 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award in Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Engineering

photo of deblina sarkarSarkar’s dissertation “2D Steep Transistor Technology: Overcoming Fundamental Barriers in Low-Power Electronics and Ultra-Sensitive Biosensors” accorded an honorable mention in the competition as one of the top three from over 45 dissertations from institutions throughout the U.S. and Canada

The awards committee made a special point to say that it considers Dr. Sarkar’s work as some of the best early-career scholarship in the award disciplines. UCSB nominated her for the nationwide contest after she received the university’s 2016 Winifred and Louis Lancaster Dissertation Award for Math, Physical Science and Engineering.

The Council on Graduate Schools (CGS)/ProQuest dissertation awards are designed to honor scholars whose dissertation represents original work that make an unusually significant contribution to the field area. The award is sponsored by ProQuest and recipients are selected by CGS.

At UCSB, Sarkar was member of the Nanoelectronics Research Lab (NRL) and advised by ECE Professor Kaustav Banerjee. She is presently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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Optofluidic Integration of Hollow-core Waveguides for Chip-based Biomolecule Analysis

Integrated photonic devices have traditionally been designed for data communications using exclusively solid-state materials. However, a vast area of potential applications, in particular in the life sciences, involve interactions of light with liquids and gases. Recently, a number of optofluidic approaches have been considered that are aimed at integrating such non-solid media with chip-scale photonic structures. We have developed a versatile, planar photonic platform based on hollow-core optical waveguides (ARROWs). I will describe the physical foundations and optical characteristics of ARROWs and a broad range of devices and capabilities that are made possible by this approach, in particular optical analysis of single biomolecules. One example is the fluorescence analysis of single nucleic acids for amplification-free detection of Ebola infection as a new paradigm for molecular diagnostics. I will also describe the implementation of optofluidic wavelength division multiplexing in multi-mode waveguides for identification of single influenza viruses. The expansion of optofluidic capabilities through hybrid integration via nanopore-based electrical detection and integrated sample processing will be discussed. Finally, I will introduce a new, highly reconfigurable photonic platform based on lightvalves that enable independent, dynamic control of fluid and light flow on a chip.

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2.5D Embedded Wafer Level Processing for Optoelectronic Integration

Tremendous development made in the field of band gap engineering in the 1980s and 1990s enabled design of new semiconductor devices for a wide range of applications. The three main components of these applications are communication, data storage and data processing. While the performance of silicon CMOS technologies for data storage and processing remains unmatched, III-V compound semiconductors appear promising for high frequency, high throughput, efficient communication system design. Currently, several research efforts are directed towards finding a unified platform on which all of the stated components can be realized with competitive performance at low cost and a promise for scaling. The unavailability of such a platform has seen emergence of innovative package design technologies to leverage the untapped potential of existing devices in system level applications.
In this talk I will discuss the challenges faced by the existing 2.5D/3D integration technologies and propose a new heterogeneous die integration method that enables more efficient system level design. To demonstrate the potential of the developed technology, we have studied two systems that address some of the critical challenges faced in designing power efficient components for high throughput optical communication.

In the first system, low power electronics is combined with low power optical switching elements to form a scalable, switching unit with output power equalized by a digitally tunable control loop. This unit arranged in a dilated Benes network could realize a photonic switch that consumes 2.7 pJ/bit/port with a time constant of 3.8 ns at 100Gb operation, demonstrating 4.8X improvement over state-of-the-art electronic switches in a compact footprint (11mmX10mm). As a second application we demonstrate a novel distributed drive control for a Mach­Zehnder Modulator (MZM). Close integration and a segmented drive help overcome the modulation bandwidth limitation due to RF loss experienced along the path of a Traveling Wave Electrode (TWE) in a conventional TWE­MZM. This design can enable realization of a temperature insensitive, high optical bandwidth (~100nm), high modulation bandwidth (>20 GHz) optical modulator with a low drive voltage (<1V).

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ECE Professor Kaustav Banerjee named a 2016 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow

photo of kaustav banerjee
Three UCSB faculty members named 2016 AAAS Fellows – an engineer (Banerjee), a computer scientist (Divyakant Agrawal) and a biologist (Kathleen Foltz) are among the newest members of the prestigious organization. Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. The UCSB professors join 388 other newly elected members to AAAS for 2016.

“It is a special honor to congratulate three of our colleagues on their election to the American Association for the Advancement of Science,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “Professors Agrawal, Banerjee, and Foltz join the ranks of distinguished fellows at one of the world’s foremost scientific societies — one with a strong tradition of promoting collaboration, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility and supporting scientific education.”

“This prestigious honor highlights their pioneering contributions, as recognized by peers in the same fields. We are immensely proud and honored to have them as scientific leaders and colleagues on our campus.”

ECE Professor Kaustav Banerjee was recognized in AAAS’s section on engineering “for distinguished contributions to nanoelectronics, particularly for pioneering devices and interconnects with nanomaterials, and innovating circuit and chip design concepts, all advancing toward ultra-energy-efficient electronics.”

The director of UCSB’s Nanoelectronics Research Lab, Banerjee’s research interests include nanometer-scale issues in complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor very large-scale integrated circuits as well as emerging nanotechnology. A fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), he is the recipient of the IEEE Kiyo Tomiyasu Award and the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Humboldt Foundation. Banerjee is also affiliated with the California Nanosystems Institute and the Institute for Energy Efficiency at UCSB.

Banerjee, Agrawal and Foltz will be presented with official certificates and gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pins on Saturday, February 18, during the 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass.

The UCSB Current – “A Trio of AAAS Fellows” (full article)

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